Wrestle: Perham takes Dennis Kaatz Invitational title

Wadena-A busy week that featured three dual meets did not slow down the 11th ranked Perham Yellowjacket wrestling team on Dec. 5 when they captured the 2015 Dennis Kaatz Invitational at Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

Wadena-A busy week that featured three dual meets did not slow down the 11th ranked Perham Yellowjacket wrestling team on Dec. 5 when they captured the 2015 Dennis Kaatz Invitational at Wadena-Deer Creek High School.

The Yellowjackets depth showed throughout the tournament, capturing four individual championships, three second place finishes and four third place finishes en route to the team championship.

The Yellowjackets finished with 239 points, besting the nine team field. Badger-Greenbush/Middle River finished second with 183 points, while Staples-Motley came in third with 142 points. Bertha-Hewitt was fourth with 131 points and Thief River Falls rounded out the top five with 117 points.

“It went really well for us. I’m proud of our kids with how they competed. We always talk about balance in our program and for us to place 14 guys in a tournament with nine teams, I felt good with our performance,” Perham Head Coach Robb Moser said. “It’s great to have the champions, but it’s equally as important for those guys that are unseeded to come through and place.”

Chase Curtis won the championship at 132, while Zach Peterson cruised to the 170 title. Jesse Klatt was victorious at 220, while Jonathan Staebler won at 285.


“There were a couple of surprises and a couple of guys that you normally think of,” Moser said. “Chase Curtis has won more than 100 matches but has never won that tournament. You expect him to do well and he did. He wrestled a great tournament and a very good match in the finals. Staebler was wrestling in his first varsity tournament and for him to dominate the heavyweights like he did was fun to see.”

Jack Fudge finished second at 106. He earned a fall win over Tony Olson in the quarterfinals, before beating Jake Davis by fall in the semifinals. Fudge lost in the championship by major decision, 11-3, to Spencer Miller.

Gabe Bellefeuille dropped his quarterfinal match to the eventual champion, Bryce Bergeron, at 113. He bounced back with a 7-3 win over Mason Snyder and followed that up with a fall win over Cole Johnson for third place.

Leighton Rach opened with a decision victory over Jadon Buntjer, 5-4, before falling to Ben Johnson in the semifinals, 2-1. Blake Gerard defeated Rach, 2-0, in the consolation round, before Rach was defeated in the fifth place match by Buntjer,

Ben Nelson finished third at 126. He opened with a fall win over Austin Maurstad, before falling to Eric Lisson, 3-1. He rebounded with a fall win over Garrett Butler and closed out with a fall win over Chase Godel for third place.

Chase Curtis cruised at 132. He earned a fall win over Liam Cochran, before earning a narrow 6-5 decision win over Isaac Isane in the finals.

Gage Paurus won three straight matches, before falling in the championship at 138. He defeated Teagen Kruckeberg by fall. He earned a 6-3 decision win over Nicholas Middendorf in the quarterfinals. Paurus followed that up with a 10-4 decision win in the semifinals. He suffered a 12-4 major decision defeat to Trevor Undeberg in the finals.

Tyler Fudge battled back after suffering a semifinal loss to finish third at 146. Fudge opened with fall win in the quarterfinals, before suffering a major decision defeat, 12-4, to Nick Kaml. He defeated Kyle Fowler in the consolation round, before beating Evan Gravdahl by decision, 5-1, for third place.


Josh Germolus finished fourth at 152 for Perham. He opened with a quarterfinal loss to Toby Hintzman, before beating Tucker Cain by decision, 13-11. He was pinned by Toby Hintzman in the third place contest.

Ty Moser finished fourth for Perham at 160. He earned victories over Lenny Wright and Kyle Miller, while falling to Alex Erpelding and Nate Adkins.

Peterson went 3-0 on his way to the title at 170. He pinned Gator Bettin in the opening round, before taking an 18-9 major decision win over Blaine Snyder. He closed it out with a 12-5 decision over Jeremy Miller.

Dylan Perrine earned an 8-3 victory over Chris Foster, before falling to Holt Truax, 1-0, in the championship at 182.

Evan Guck won four matches after falling in his quarterfinal match at 195 to finish third. Guck was defeated by Devin Pries, before storming back to beat George Lausten by fall, Dain Holmquist by fall, Bradon Tyrel by a 3-0 decision and Pries by a 6-4 decision.

Jesse Klatt earned two fall victories and a decision win to claim the championship at 220. Klatt pinned Jared Seibert and Ethan Novacek, before earning a 5-2 win over Charlie Nienaber.

Staebler pinned his way to the championship at 285. He earned an opening round win over Craig Orlando, before defeated Austin Chyba in the semifinals. He closed out with a fall win over Kyle Serich in the championship.

“I’m pleased with how the guys that weren’t seeded did well in this tournament. Guys like Dylan Perrine, who got second in the tournament but was unseeded. That was a big step for us. Evan Guck at 195 was a big step for us,” Moser said. “Gage Paurus set himself where people are going to circle him on our roster and say he is tough. He upset the No. 1 seed and getting second place showed he was there. Our balance is much better than other teams and that’s going to make us a formidable opponent as we go.”


The Yellowjackets were able to enjoy some time off from competition and will now set their sights on the Grand Forks Sertoma Tournament on Friday and Saturday. The Yellowjackets are the defending champions at that event. 

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