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Wrestlers' late rally falls short

Park Rapids' Kobe Burton prepared to pin Grand Rapids' Brayden Jones in the second period of their 126-pound match Thursday night at the Area High School gym. Vance Carlson / Enterprise1 / 2
Park Rapids' Landen Burlingame controlled Grand Rapids' Brenden Morlon in the second period of their 152-pound match Thursday night at the Area High School gym. Vance Carlson / Enterprise2 / 2

Park Rapids' upper weights almost pulled off a major comeback Thursday night at the Area High School gym.

Grand Rapids built a 36-6 lead before hanging on for a 39-36 win over the Panthers in a dual meet between two Class AA wrestling teams.

The Thunderhawks won seven of the first eight matches to take control early. Grand Rapids almost won the first eight matches, but Kobe Burton rallied from an 8-2 deficit for a pin in the 126-pound bout. Burton trailed 8-2 after the first period before a takedown set up a pin at the 2:56 mark as the Panthers faced a 15-6 deficit.

Grand Rapids, which received two forfeits in the first three matches, used two more forfeits and a pin to build a 36-6 advantage.

Park Rapids closed the gap to 36-24 with three straight pins.

Eli Bessman used a first-period takedown to build a 2-1 lead after two periods before a reversal set up a pin at the 4:41 mark in the 160-pound match. Dawson Roth used a reversal to overcome a 4-1 deficit and set up his pin at the 1:20 mark at 170 before Cody Dravis' takedown led to a pin in 39 seconds at 182.

After Grand Rapids sealed the win with a minor decision at 195, Zach Hocking's forfeit win at 220 and Dwayne Johnson's pin in 3:30 at 285 ended the scoring. Johnson used a first-period escape and second-period stalling point to tie the final match at 2-2 before a reversal led to his pin.

Grand Rapids, which is rated No. 6 in the latest Class AA poll, improved to 10-3 while the Panthers fell to 2-3 in dual meets.

Grand Rapids 39, Park Rapids 36

106: Connor Wakefield, GR, minor decision over Lucas Kritzeck 6-0. 113: Dusty Wilke, GR, won by forfeit. 120: Caydon Lehman, GR, won by forfeit. 126: Kobe Burton, PR, pinned Brayden Jones 2:56. 132: Josh Holm, GR, won by forfeit. 138: Jake Holm, GR, won by forfeit. 145: Kellen Schauer, GR, pinned Joe Klein :32. 152: Brenden Morlon, GR, minor decision over Landen Burlingame 6-4. 160: Eli Bessman, PR, pinned Mason Kushel 4:41. 170: Dawson Roth, PR, pinned Deondre Hager 1:20. 182: Cody Dravis, PR, pinned Chad Hall :39. 195: Logan Theodore, GR, minor decision over Jack Hensel 5-2. 220: Zach Hocking, PR, won by forfeit. 285: Dwayne Johnson, PR, pinned Ziek Riendeau 3:30.