Josh Beack was one of the guys on the Little Falls wrestling team who was injured when his team was clobbered by St. Cloud Tech last month.
Saturday was Beack’s first action since December and the junior made some noise at the Section 8-3A tournament at Tech High School.
No. 7-seed Little Falls avenged its 32-point loss to Tech on Jan. 6 with a 37-30 upset over the third-seeded Tigers in the section quarterfinals Saturday.
The Flyers fell short against third-seed Bemidji in the semifinals 37-27 and the Lumberjacks fell to No. 1 Moorhead 35-19 in the finals.
“I could still feel the pain but I wrestled through it,” said Beack, who returned from a rib injury. “We were happy to beat Tech right away, but it just didn’t happen for us.”
Beack won his matches 10-3 and 9-2.
Little Falls coach Mike Hendrickson said the Flyers had a few wrestlers injured and another didn’t make weight in that lopsided loss to Tech in the regular season.
Axel Lange earned a pin and a major decision for the Flyers at 152 pounds, Leo Wilczek finished the day with a pin and a decision at 113 pounds and Logan Kapphahn had decisions at both 126 and 132 pounds.
AJ Jenks, filling in for his injured older brother, Justin, finished the day with a pin and a decision.
“He really had a good day, getting two wins for us,” Hendrickson said. “He had a head injury and then pneumonia after that, so he’s had to battle back to get in shape.”
Beack’s wins were pivotal, starting three-match win streaks for the Flyers in the Tech and Bemidji duals.
“I felt like I did pretty good today and that might improve my seed for individual sections,” Beack said.
Little Falls lost the lead against the Tigers after Beack’s match, but the Flyers finished the dual with pins by Gage Blechinger and Billy Winkelman at 220 and 285 pounds, respectively.
But when Little Falls went for the bigger upset in the semifinals against Bemidji, holding a 21-14 lead with five matches left, Bemidji took advantage of bonus points on the way to the win.
The Lumberjacks earned three pins and a technical fall, totaling 23 straight points before Blechinger finished the day with another pin in the heavyweight match.
“Bonus points are huge in dual meets,” Hendrickson said. “We got pinned at 195 and things got ugly after that.
“The kids fought hard and I’m proud of them.”
Tech’s exit from the tournament seemed too early for Tigers coach Bob Boeck.
“It’s very disappointing for all of us,” Boeck said. “Our team had high goals, so this was tough for our seniors.”
Added Tech’s 195-pound senior Jacob Johnson: “Little Falls came to wrestle and we weren’t mentally ready. We thought we had them before we even wrestled.”
Johnson won his match by an 11-0 major decision.
Johnson is one of five ranked wrestlers on Tech’s roster, so hopes are high for next week’s Section 8-3A individual tournament.
Alexandria will host the tournament Friday and Saturday.
“Hats off to Little Falls because they wrestled a great match and they took advantage of their opportunities,” Boeck said. “We weren’t trying to look ahead and we didn’t wrestle that bad, but they get you on you’re back and they put you away.”
St. Cloud Apollo’s Peter Nelson finished with a pin and a major decision in the Eagles’ two matches.
Daniel Vitale earned a pin in 1:22 at 195 pounds in Sartell’s quarterfinal loss to Bemidji.
Preliminaries: St. Cloud Apollo 31, Sauk Rapids-Rice 30.
Quarterfinals: Moorhead 62, St. Cloud Apollo 10; Brainerd/Pillager 34, Alexandria 32; Little Falls 37, St. Cloud Tech 30; Bemidji 31, Sartell-St. Stephen 25.
Semifinals: Moorhead 49, Brainerd/Pillager 15; Bemidji 37, Little Falls 27.
Finals: Moorhead 35, Bemidji 19