By Gerry Steele
BURNS - Baker opened its high school wrestling season Friday at the Woodfin Robinson Tournament, a 5-way dual event at Burns High School.
"It was a great addition to our schedule to have some duals at the beginning of the season," said Baker coach Brandon Young. "Duals are fun and it is more of a team atmosphere than a bracketed tournament."
The Bulldogs finished the day 2-2.
Baker wrestled Vale, ranked second in the state for 3A wrestling, in its first dual.
"The Vikings proved to be a tough matchup for us as we lost 66-12. Peter Baker won by fall and Jesse Hamann by forfeit," Young said.
Next up was Lakeview, ranked 10th in 3A.
"After exchanging forfeits the Bulldogs had an 18-12 lead. Thomas Larsen, Peter Baker, Matt Siddoway, Korey Grende, and Marco Vela all won by fall," Young said.
Grende trailed 7-0 entering the second round when he caught his opponent, Max Crandall, on his back for the come-from-behind victory.
"Coming down to the final match of the dual the Bulldogs led 42-36," Young said. "Sean Stanford wrestled Lakeview's Connor Lysne who is one of their toughest kids. His intent was to pin Stanford for the tie, but Stanford was able to fight him off, and in the third round was able to mount a little comeback before losing 16-4, which is a major decision, earning Baker the win over Lakeview 42-40."
Baker's third dual was against Crane, fifth in Class 2A wrestling.
"When talking to their Coach Doman he stated they didn't have the numbers he wanted so his philosophy is every one of his kids has to be the best at his weight class," Young said. "They did a lot of work in the off season and it showed as the Mustangs defeated the Bulldogs 42-36 in another close dual. Matt Siddoway won by fall in his match."
The last matchup of the night was against Burns, ranked ninth in 3A.
"Once again the dual came down to the last match which was senior Thomas Larsen against Peter Cain," Young said.
The score was Baker 36, Burns 33 going into the match.
"Thomas knew the pressure was on him and he rose to the occasion pinning Cain for the win, 42-33," the Baker coach said.
In Baker JV matches Jesse Hamann got a win by fall that really got the whole team excited, Young said.
The Baker coach said Shane Hoopai also wrestled very well and Patrick Lee got the fastest pin of the season so far in 12 seconds.
Top performances for the Bulldogs were Thomas Larsen and Matt Siddoway.
"After Matt got the nerves worked out after his first high school match he really went after it," Young said. "I think he even surprised himself a little. It's exciting to see this young team go and compete. Already we are looking like a team!"
Woodfin Robinson Invitational
106 - James AhHee, 2-2. 106JV -Jesse Hamann, 2-0 113 - Kyle Hamann, 2-2. 120 -Cody Bingham, 3-1. 126 - Korey Grende,1-3. 126JV - Patrick Lee, 1-1. 132 - Marco Vela, 2-2. 138 - Sean Stanford, 1-3. 145 -Dylan Feldmeier, 1-2. 152 -Thomas Larsen, 3-1. 160 -Daniel Kaufman, 2-2. 170 -Peter Baker, 2-2. 220 -Matt Siddoway, 2-2. 285 -Willie Pifher, 0-4. 285JV -Shane Hoopai,2-0.