Early on in the Valley City High School wrestling team's 40-34 dual loss to Carrington Thurday night, the Hi-Liners seemed like they would simply run away with it.
The Hi-Liners won five of the first six matches, which started at 145 pounds, all by either pinfall or major decision. But as the night continued, the Cardinals showed why they're one of the top Class B teams, getting pins at the lower weight classes, and clinching the win with a decision at 138 pounds.
"I knew it would be this close," VCHS coach Aaron Larson said. "I figured it would come to one match here or there and that's what it did."
The Hi-Liners held a lead for the majority of the dual, staying on top until the final two matches.
Valley City started it with a pin at 145 by Reed Beckman, and after a decision loss by Evan Carroll at 152, got pins from Shane Undem and Zach Doty to go up 18-3.
Jordan Magnuson gave the Hi-Liners a major decision at 182 and Jaiden Opatz had a pin at 195 to go up 28-3.
From there, VCHS struggled, with Wyatt Bjornson taking the pin at 220 from Austin Schuldheisz, one of six returning state placers for the Cardinals.
The Cardinals then got six points when VCHS left the heavyweight division open, and got 10 more on a major decision and pinfall at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively, to make it 28-25 VC.
Jakob Ashline got a pin for VCHS at 120 pounds, which was the last win the Hi-Liners got . Carrington won by pin at 126 and 132, then got a decision victory with Patrick Freeman winning 6-0 over Mark Miller at 138 to clinch it.
Despite the loss, Larson was pleased with numerous wrestlers, including Magnuson, Opatz, and Ashline.
Ashline, a freshman, avenged a loss earlier this year, getting a second-round pin after struggling to open the 120-pound match with Keenan Kvamme.
"They've got a tough kid and Jakob lost to him last week," "We knew that was a key match in the dual. He believed he could win and he went out there and got it done."
He also praised Opatz, who got a pin at the 195-pound spot formerly held by Brandon Larson.
"Jaden Opatz doesn't have a lot of experience but he's naturally gifted," Larson said.
Carrington 40, Valley City 34
106: Neumiller, C, major dec. over McGough 10-0
113: Brown, C, pinned Erlandson, :38
120: Ashline, VC, pinned Kvamme, 3:05
126: Bauer, C, pinned Langer, 1:35
132: Carr, C, pinned Komrosky, 2:31
138: Freeman, C, def. Miller 6-0
145: Beckman, VC, pinned Holton, 3:30
152: Lyman, C, def. Carroll 8-4
169: Undem, VC, pinned Lura, 3:02.
170: Doty, VC, pinned Zink, 1:18
182: Magnuson, VC, major dec. over Larsen
195: Opatz, VC, pinned Copenhaver, 1:32
220: Shuldheisz, C, pinned Bjornson, 2:55
HWT: Schroeder, C, wins by default.