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Wrestlers close regular season with a dramatic comeback win

Five wins in the final five matches rallied the Park Rapids wrestling team to a dramatic 36-34 win over Fosston/Bagley Thursday night at Fosston.

The Panthers trailed 34-15 before wins by Forrest Drury, John Kyllonen, Cole Tretbar, Kyle Ritter and Brandon Ritter down the stretch led to a win in the regular-season finale.

Nolan Booge's first-period pin at 106 pounds and Ben Baumgartner's forfeit win at 126 offset a pair of Park Rapids forfeits as the match was tied 12-12 after the first four matches.

Fosston/Bagley won the next three matches to take a 30-12 lead before Zachary Steffen used a first-period takedown and a reversal and nearfall in the third period for a 6-1 decision at 152. That pulled Park Rapids to within 30-15.

The Panthers trailed 34-15 before mounting a comeback.

Drury started the rally with an 8-6 decision at 170. Despite an escape and takedown in the first period and an escape in the second period, Drury trailed 6-4. A reversal and nearfall in the third period gave Drury the win.

Kyllonen followed with a second-period pin at 182 to close the gap to 34-24. Two nearfalls and a reversal in the first period and a reversal in the second period gave Kyllonen a 12-2 lead before he recorded a pin at the 2:42 mark.

Tretbar used a reversal and nearfall in the first period and a takedown in the second period for an 8-2 minor decision at 195.

In the 220-pound match, Kyle Ritter's takedown in the first period and takedown and reversal in the second period led to a 6-4 decision as the Panthers trailed 34-30 with one match to go.

Brandon Ritter completed the comeback with a second-period pin in the heavyweight match. Ritter trailed 4-3 after the first period before a takedown set up the match-winning pin at the 2:59 mark.

The win was the Panthers' eighth in a row and gave Park Rapids a 15-7 record in dual meets entering the Section 8AA tournament, which will be held Saturday at Thief River Falls. The Panthers received the No. 5 seed and will wrestle No. 12 East Grand Forks at 11 a.m. The winner of that match wrestles No. 4 Fergus Falls at 2 p.m. Perham received the No. 1 seed and will face either No. 8 Staples-Motley or No. 9 Crookston in the quarterfinals.

In the lower bracket, Pequot Lakes/Pine River-Backus is the No. 2 seed and will face either No. 7 Fosston/Bagley or No. 10 Roseau in the quarterfinals. Thief River Falls is the No. 3 seed and will wrestle either No. 6 Detroit Lakes or No. 11 United Clay Becker in the quarterfinals. The semifinals are set for 4 p.m. with the championship match following at 6.

Park Rapids 36, Fosston/Bagley 34

106: Nolan Booge, PR, pinned Lane Olson :42. 113: Roman Bode, FB, won by forfeit. 120: Ben Marx, FB, won by forfeit. 126: Ben Baumgartner, PR, won by forfeit. 132: Gabe Hanson, FB, pinned Noah Schulz 2:53. 138: Garrett Sander, FB, pinned Justin Dravis 3:51. 145: Alex Bode, FB, pinned Brock Fritze 5:09. 152: Zachary Steffen, PR, minor decision over Wyatt Nordskog 6-1. 160: Wyatt LaFriniere, FB, major decision over Caleb Abraham 10-0. 170: Forrest Drury, PR, minor decision over Blake Olson 8-6. 182: John Kyllonen, PR, pinned Dylan Fjerstad 2:42. 195: Cole Tretbar, PR, minor decision over Devin Hagen 8-2. 220: Kyle Ritter, PR, minor decision over Luke Juve 6-4. 285: Brandon Ritter, PR, pinned Josh Albright 2:59.