North wrestlers pin Titans

Except for the four years when the two teams wrestled together (1983-84 through 1986-87) there is no one around who can remember when North didn’t lose a wrestling match to the Tartan Titans.

Go back and mark the calendar. On Jan. 26, 2006, the 30-year plus drought ended!

When Tartan visited North for the Classic Suburban Conference match, the Polars felt they had a chance of turning the clock on history.

When Tartan boarded the bus to leave Polarville, North had downed the Titans by a single point, 37-36.

The tables had been turned.

“This is the first time anyone can remember - maybe ever - that North has beat Tartan in wrestling,” an elated North coach Craig Zupko said.

For Zupko, the win ended some 10 years of nurturing the Polars and building a success story at North.

“When our seniors were freshmen,” Zupko recalled, “we lost to Tartan 81-0. Two years ago we lost 72-3. Last year we lost 43-36. We are getting better and improving each year. This would make a great story.”

Zupko has been at the helm of the North wrestling fortunes for 10 years.

Prior to his taking over, Jim Pearson was the North wrestling coach for 13 years.

“Boy. I really don’t remember. It’s been a long time now,” Pearson replied to an inquiry regarding the last time North had won a wrestling bout against their School District 622 arch rivals. “But other than when we were together for a few years, maybe never.”

North gained the win with three starters out of their lineup, while the Titans had a pair of grapplers who were unable to compete.

The match began with Tartan’s Matt Luchsinger giving the Titans a 6-0 lead when he pinned Dennis Ea at 103 pounds.

Chris McClevey, at 112 pounds, gained a forfeit and six points for the Polars. It was at 112 pounds that Tartan was missing one of their grapplers.

Heading into the 119-pound bout, the match was level at 6-6. David Hurt of the Polars changed that with a pin of Tartan’s John McMillan 5:49 into the match. The win by Hurt pushed North into the lead 12-6.

At 125 pounds, Jake Raymond of the Polars locked horns with Tony Sikorski of Tartan. In a close contest, Sikorski gained a tough 7-6 win to move the Titans within three, at 12-9.

Another close match followed at 130 pounds where Joel Vargas of the Titans out-pointed Aaron Wurdeman of the Polars by 18-14.

The win by Vargas gained three points and leveled the score at 12-12.

A determined Brian Gysbers of the Polars came out and scored a pin over Bronson Wethern of the Titans in 1:49 to earn six points and regain the lead for North, 18-12.

At 140 pounds, the Polars John Lamson increased the North edge by three points when he gained a close 6-3 decision over Mike Schulte.

Heading into the 145-pound match-up between North’s Jason Florin and Tartan’s Aaron Samuelson, North was up by nine at 21-12.

Florin scored a major 12-3 decision to add four more points to the North total and move the score to 25-12.

With just six matches remaining, it was time for Tartan to stem the tide and move the momentum back to their side.

Beginning at 152 pounds, the Titans did just that. Three straight wins by falls gave them 18 huge points and catapulted them into a 30-25 lead.

At 152, Alex Ziegler took 3:05 to pin Steve Pap and gain six points.

Rickey Riley, at 160 pounds, needed 2:50 to gain a pin and six points over North’s Tom Krenzel.

Matt Garvey followed with a pin of Matt Cattell of the Polars in 1:41 and Tartan was back in the lead by five points.

The pendulum swung back to North’s favor when, at 189 pounds, Matt McQuiston of the Polars gained a pin over Greg Lehmicke in 2:55.

The win by McQuiston edged North back into a narrow, one-point leeway, 31-30.

Then came the deciding match.

At 215 pounds, Tom Florin of the Polars went up against the Titans’ Jeff Aaron.

The match lasted one minute fifty-one seconds before Florin gained the pin.

The six huge points earned by Florin, put North up by seven points, with just one match remaining.

The Polars could not be caught and the final match, at heavyweight, was somewhat meaningless except to the combatants, Ryan Tressman of North, and Willie Oelrich of Tartan.

Oelrich gained a fall over Tressman and picked up six points for the Titans.

That brought Tartan to within one at 37-36.

With no more opportunities for Tartan to overcome the early deficit, the North Polars celebrated what, by all accounts, was the very first ever wrestling triumph over their rival Tartan counterparts.

The season is about to wrap up for both the Titans and the Polars.

Tartan has scheduled matches remaining against Mahtomedi at Tartan, Feb. 2. They participate in the Stillwater Quadrangular Feb. 3 before hosting Simley at 6 p.m. and Park at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 7.

The Woodbury Royals are at Tartan for a 7:30 p.m. match Feb. 9.

North is scheduled to go up against St. Thomas on Feb. 2 and be at the Armstrong Invitational Feb. 4. Both matches are on the road.

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