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Packer wrestlers compete in Rumble on Red

West Fargo's Austin Cassezza won by pin against Brandon Dietz of New Ulm, Minn. during the Rumble on the Red tournament at the Fargodome, Friday, January 2. Carrie Snyder/The Forum1 / 2
West Fargo's Scott Schiller pinned Michael Mann of Robbinsdale Armstrong, Minn. Carrie Snyder/The Forum2 / 2

Wrestler Scott Schiller had a goal to go undefeated this season. Everything was so-far-so-good for the Packer junior going into last weekend's Rumble on the Red tournament.

The annual tourney, held at the Fargodome, featured some of the top prep grapplers in the upper Midwest from 58 schools. Schiller faced likely the toughest competition he'll face this year and was pinned twice, including once in the semi-finals against a No. 2-ranked Minnesota wrestler.

Schiller said he had his opponent's leg and was going for a double leg takedown on when he overextended himself and was put in a headlock and onto his back.

"With good wrestlers like that, you make any mistake and you're going to get caught," said Schiller, who also said he thought about his Rumble performance for a couple days afterward.

"All I can do is learn from it and move on and keep getting better," said Schiller, who later lost to a No. 4-ranked Minnesota opponent.

Schiller said his goals for the season remain the same. He's looking to win another state championship and win the rest of his matches. He's also looking for a title at this weekend's Bismarck Rotary.

"He wrestled well overall," said Packers coach Kayle Dangerud. "He just got caught, and that happens. We're not trying to fix anything that's broke with him. He just ran into some guys. Even getting to the semifinals in that weight class was extremely tough in that tournament."

Schiller knows the two defeats aren't much of a setback. He also lost twice at last year's Rumble on the Red and broke the school record for most wins in a season with a 43-3 mark.

"It's awesome you have people to push you like that," said Schiller. "You don't learn as much from winning as you do losing once, or even twice."

Due to injuries and ineligibilities, the Packers placed only four wrestlers in the varsity tournament; several others wrestled in the JV portion. Junior Ryan Seamands (140), sophomore Reed Olson (152) and freshman Jordan Johnston (125) remain injured.

Sophomores Zach Neer (145) and Tom Kuehn (119) joined Schiller and senior Austin Cassezza in the varsity tourney. It was Cassezza's first action of the year after taking second at last season's state tourney and winning 40 matches. Cassezza went 1-2 at the Rumble at 135 lbs., while Neer and Kuehn were 3-2 and wrestled into the second day.

The Packers compete at the Bismarck Rotary tomorrow and Saturday.