Storm junior earns
5th-ranked Barz takes down 2nd-ranked opponent
By TOM FENTON
Vance Barz knew it was a big week.
With the competition getting stronger and the section meet in the near future, the Sauk Rapids-Rice junior saw it as an opportunity to measure his progress.
The results were eye-opening.
Barz – ranked fifth in Class AA at 126 pounds – won all five of his matches, including a win over Becker sophomore Kaden Nicholas, who is ranked second. Barz improved his record to 22-4.
The Storm hosted a quadrangular with Bemidji, Fergus Falls and Little Falls Jan. 26 at Sauk Rapids-Rice High School in Sauk Rapids and then competed in a three-team meet Jan. 27 in St. Francis.
Three of Barz’s victories came by fall, signaling to coach Derik Gilberston he is approaching where he needs to be if he hopes to advance to state.
“Vance had a great week,” Gilbertson said. “Beating higher-ranked wrestlers will help build confidence that Vance can wrestle at a higher level, and it also showed us we still have a few things to tweak with his wrestling to get him ready to be his best in the post-season.”
Kieran Hixson also is on a path toward a successful section run. The durable senior won three of his five bouts in improving to 24-13 overall.
“I was glad Kieran got a rematch against Little Falls, but unfortunately he wasn’t able to revenge the loss he had the last time they wrestled,” Gilbertson said. “Kieran did have two good matches (Jan. 27) versus Becker and St. Francis. Both of those were section matchups. Even though Kieran didn’t win, we have a plan for him the next few weeks before individual sections to get him ready and be as successful as possible.”
SRR, plagued by an incomplete lineup, lost all five team duals.
“We didn’t win all the matches I wanted against all three teams, but we had some close matches,” Gilbertson said.
The Storm have two triangulars remaining before the section tournament. They will be at the Willmar Triangular in Willmar Thursday, Feb. 9, along with Alexandria. The Storm compete against Pierz and Foley in Foley Friday, Feb. 10.
St. Francis Triangular
Becker 76, SRR 3
113: Carter Pesta lost by fall at 4:28. 126: Vance Barz won 7-6 by decision. 138: Jack Barz lost by fall at 1:21. 152: Hixson lost 11-0 by major decision. 160: Josiah Sanchez lost by fall at 0:58. 220: Carter Koltes lost by fall at 1:30.
St. Francis 65, SRR 9
113: Pesta lost 13-4 major decision. 126: Vance Barz won by fall at 2:42. 138: Jack Barz lost 13-0 by major decision. 152: Hixson won 4-2 by decision. 160: Sanchez lost by fall at 0:49. 220: Koltes lost 3-0 by decision.
Fergus Falls 42, SRR 24
113: Pesta won by fall at 0:30. 126: Vance Barz won by fall at 1:49. 138: Jack Barz won by forfeit. 152: Dylahn Nagel lost by fall at 0:38. 160: Hixson won by fall at 2:49. 170: Sanchez lost by fall at 0:35. 220: Koltes lost by fall at 1:15.
Little Falls 61, SRR 18
113: Pesta won by fall at 4:33. 126: Vance Barz won by fall at 1:14. 138: Jack Barz won by fall at 1:20. 152: Hixson lost 8-0 by major decision. 160: Sanchez lost by fall at 1:05. 220: Koltes lost 5-1 decision.
Bemidji 66, SRR 8
120: Pesta lost by fall at 4:40. 126: Vance Barz won 20-4 by technical fall. 138: Jack Barz lost by fall at 3:22. 152: Nagel lost by fall at 1:19. 160: Hixson won 6-2 by decision. 170: Sanchez lost by fall at 2:40. 220: Koltes lost by fall at 5:54.