Benzing, Grangaard to wrestle in Iowa-Minnesota “Border Battle” this Friday in Cresco

Top senior wrestlers from northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota who have completed outstanding high school careers will face off in the 14th annual all-star “Border Battle” dual meet at 7 p.m. this Friday, March 6 at Crestwood High School in Cresco. Among this year’s Border Battle wrestlers competing for the Iowa team will be the Waukon High School senior pair of 145-pounder Adam Benzing and 152-pounder Gunnar Grangaard.
“Things are still up in the air as far as who will be wrestling for Minnesota,” stated Dennis Meirick, president of the hosting Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame. “Minnesota just finished their state tournament this weekend and will be putting their team together in the next few days.”
Meirick noted wrestlers from Crestwood, Waukon, Decorah, Turkey Valley, Osage, South Winneshiek, MFL/MarMac and Nashua-Plainfield high schools have committed for the Iowa squad. Overall, Iowa leads the series 7-6 after the Iowa squad picked up the win in last year’s Border Battle.
“I think the quality of the wrestling that we see at this meet is proven when we had over 30 coaches at last year’s meet,” Meirick stated. “And, a handful of them were college coaches.”
The Minnesota team will consist of senior wrestlers from school districts located in Mower, Fillmore and Houston counties in southeast Minnesota. The Iowa team will consist of seniors from school districts drawing students in from Mitchell, Howard, Winneshiek and Allamakee counties. As in the past, both teams could draw a few wrestlers from outside those boundaries.
Iowa wrestlers who have accepted the invitations include eight placewinners from this year’s Iowa High School State Tournament, including Benzing and his sixth-place finish in the Class 2A 145-pound weight class. Also competing will be Brandon Mayer of Crestwood, three-time State Tournament placewinner, including fourth place at 120 pounds in Class 2A this year; Brady Jennings of Osage, Class 2A runner-up and 138-pound State Champion this year; Ryan Hageman of South Winneshiek, third place at Class 1A 170 pounds; Tyler Larson of Nashua-Plainfield, fifth place at Class 1A 195 pounds; Chase Strub of MFL/MarMac, seventh place at Class 1A 195 pounds; and Gatlin Keehner of MFL/MarMac, eighth place at Class 1A 285 pounds.
Other wrestlers competing for Iowa include Cody Fisher of South Winneshiek, Tom Reicks of Turkey Valley, Luis Uribe of South Winneshiek, Bryce Decker of MFL/MarMac, Thatcher Goodale of Osage, Alex Fjelstul of Decorah, Carter Zidlicky of Decorah, Andrew Zeeh of MFL/MarMac, Bryce Bilurz of Nashua-Plainfield and Ethan Kipp of South Winneshiek. Meirick noted many of these wrestlers have over 100 career wins and have been State Tournament qualifiers.
“We have to thank the coaches from both Iowa and Minnesota who make this happen every year,” Meirick said. “We really have to scramble to make this happen, but it’s always worth it because we do this to honor our seniors who have given so much to our sport. It’s always exciting.”
Border Battle organizers hope to feature about 18 to 22 matches at the event again this year. Tickets for the event will be sold at the door at Crestwood High School.