It was two for one night at the Grand Rapids gymnasium as the Thunderhawk matmen proved rude hosts bashing Cloquet and Virginia in prep wrestling Thursday night.
Rapids' improved to 11-4 on the season as they bested Cloquet 50-21 and Virginia 51-21.
They will face a much stronger test Thursday night when they travel to Milaca to face a powerful team favored in Region 7AA and ranked No. 7 in AA polls.
Grand Rapids was off to a rocky start in their opening match with Cloquet as talented 103 pounder Jordan Land handed Mitch Jobe a 7-2 defeat, but after that it was pretty much all Thunderhawks.
Pat Hopkins picked up the first win for the home team as he overcame some early difficulty with Michael Wilson to earn a 10-2 major decision at 112 pounds.
Three open weights for Cloquet gave Rapids' big points and Eric Enerson added more with a 13-3 major decision over Jake Baker at 135 pounds. Another forfeit at 140 pounds pushed the Grand Rapids lead to 32-3 before Cloquet rallied with two victories. Simon Thill looked sharp in downing Sam Hise at 145 pounds and Patrick Kruchten held on to a 4-2 decision over Alan Grossman at 152 in a lackluster affair.
The Thunderhawks ended any suspense with a pair of match clinching falls with Nick Ruder overpowering Peter Jacobs in 1:18 at 171 pounds and Jeff Meyers just beating the first period buzzer for a fall victory at 1:59 over Jeremy Campbell at 189 pounds.
After another Grand Rapids forfeit win, Nick Harms gave Cloquet one final reason to cheer at heavyweight with a second period fall over Alex Siikanen for a 50-21 final score.
Things went much the same way in the Virginia dual as a series of open weights for the Blue Devils gave Grand Rapids an 18-0 lead before a match had been wrestled.
Five straight Rapids' wins followed and the rout was on. Kurt Ehrhorn scored early and often as he racked up a 21-6 technical fall victory over Bailey Felix at 125 and Ryan Kolka came through with a 5-0 whitewashing of Kyle Nanti at 130.
Dan McGuire earned another T'hawk decision as he outpointed Richard Holweger 7-2 at 135 pounds.
A good match was set up as a pair of rugged seniors met at 140 with Enerson moving up a weight to wrestle Sam Paakonen and it was the Virginia wrestler who carried the action early building a 3-0 lead into the second period.
The Rapids' senior came to life and reversed Paakonen and then turned him with a tight arm bar scoring a match ending fall at the three minute mark.
Hise concluded the Rapids' run with a 10-0 demolition of Dustyn Leff at 145 pounds to push the Thunderhawk lead to 39-0. Alex Flanigan finally showed some Virginia life as he topped Grossman 6-2 at 152 pounds, but Ruder completed a stellar night with his second first period pin, flattening Tyler Wallner at 1:58 at 171 pounds.
The teams traded falls in the final three bouts with Corey DuBay stacking up Ethan Starkovich in the second period at 215 pounds. A.J. Arntz broke open a close match with a tight headlock ending their 189 pound encounter and Kane Wallner was too much for Siikanen in the heavyweight bout earning a fall and a 51-21 final score.
With three teams in action, there was plenty of fireworks on the junior varsity mat as well with Grand Rapids earning numerous victories.
Winning by fall for the Thunderhawks was Andrew Ruder, Matt Ruder, Aaron Wimmer, Brady Thomsen, Chance Fortune, Gunner Flynn, Spencer Erb, Dakota Brazerol, Jake Schlader and Cole Sondergaard. Picking up wins by technical fall was Alex Seanger with decision victories going to Joe Harris, Chase Johnson, Kaleb Miller, Victor Lebeque, Dylan Casteel, Jake Still, Zach Grandia and Casey Foss.
The ninth grade team has also seen plenty of action recently taking eighth out of 24 teams in the state team tournament with dual meet wins over Mound-Westonka and Forest Lake.
They also qualified five wrestlers for the state tournament with top two region finishes. Winning region championships was Tyler Scherf, Mitchell Jobe, Zach Bainville and Nick Hopkins, while Sondergaard also earned a state berth with a runner-up finish. Also placing for the Rapids' freshman squad was, McGuire - third, Matt Ruder - fourth, Cody Carlisle and Kody Roy - fifth and Chance Fortune - seventh.