MARSHALL — The Marshall wrestling team began its quest for a repeat trip to the state tournament on Thursday evening, hosting New London-Spicer in the Section 3AA North quarterfinals. The Tigers were put to the test right away, trailing after the first two bouts, but quickly overcame the deficit and used the middle of their lineup to take down the Wildcats 45-31 and advance to the final four.
Marshall coach Justin Bouwman said he was pleased with their overall performance despite allowing some things and giving up points where they weren’t expecting.
“Overall, we wrestled pretty well. We gave up some things that I didn’t think we should have and in spots where we shouldn’t have gave up some points that we did, but they’re a good team,” Bouwman said. “Overall, I’m just really pleased with everybody and how they did and I’m excited that we get to move on.”
Entering as the top seed in the North bracket, the Tigers looked to get out to a strong start, but NLS had other ideas. The Wildcats won the first pair of weight classes via decision and major decision victories to take a quick 7-0 lead.
“Those first two weights, they’ve got back-to-back state caliber kids,” Bouwman said. “Dylan [Louwagie] had to beat him [Ty Bisek] twice last year, once in the section finals and then had to beat him in the semifinals at state, so they’ve wrestled a lot and it’s hard to beat someone three times.”
In need of a spark, Marshall found it through their senior twins Hsa Khee Lar and Hsa Law Eh, who earned a pin (1:47) and a 10-0 major decision victory, respectively, to give MHS the lead back. From there, the Tigers got on a roll, winning four of the next five bouts. Tate Condezo (1:39) and Noah Jensen (1:37) earned pins while Connor Roth won by technical fall (16-1) and Grant Louwagie won by forfeit to extend Marshall’s lead to 33-13.
Bouwman said the leadership of Hsa Khee Lar and Hsa Law Eh are vital to their success, particularly when they need points, and added that Condezo is another key factor in the middle of their lineup.
“Again, it’s our senior twins stepping up, doing their job, they know what they need to do and they know when we need a big swing. When we need things to start going our way and to start changing some things around, they can make that happen and it’s huge for us,” Bouwman said. “Those two are very important and then Tate does some really good things for us and it’s kind of fun to watch him wrestle. You don’t have to do too much or say too much, just kind of sit back and let it go.”
The Wildcats and Tigers exchanged pins on consecutive bouts, with Spencer Wambeke winning for Marshall, before Cole Felcyn won by forfeit to make it 45-19. NLS won the final two bouts by pin, but didn’t have enough ground to make up the difference as Marshall moved on.
Marshall (16-2) will face Worthington on Saturday in the Section 3AA semifinals at 12:30 p.m. at the R/A Facility on the campus of Southwest Minnesota State University. The winner of that match will face the winner between Martin County and Dawson-Boyd/Lac qui Parle Valley/Montevideo United later on Saturday.
Bouwman said their biggest takeaway is to be more aggressive out on the mat and bring that level of energy as they head into the next round of the postseason.
“I think a lot of it is we’ve got to be more aggressive,” Bouwman said. “We weren’t very aggressive on our feet or when we got on top, so we need to bring that agressiveness back to kind of the way we wrestled last year and get back into that same agressive style and want to score all of the time.”