Four Spring Valley/Elmwood open weights gave the Clear Lake Warriors a 24-point advantage in the Cardinals' home dual 24-51 loss on Tuesday, Dec. 19.
"It's tough," SVE head coach Bill Hofacker said regarding his team's incomplete roster. "Everybody is in the middle from about 138 to 170."
With an automatic 24-point setback, Hofacker said his team put their primary focus on their individual performances.
The Cardinals were able to put together five match wins against the Warriors (the team Hofacker predicts will win their regional) from Nate Fesenmaier, Kenny Fesenmaier, Carter Merth, Jaydon Nyeggen and Nick Hofacker.
Coach Hofacker said Nate, a freshman, is finally starting to settle in in his first year on the varsity squad.
Nate defeated Clear Lake's senior Carter Wienke with two takedowns that led to a 4-0 decision.
"We've gotten him to calm down and wrestle basic," Hofacker said. "He did a good job of that tonight against a pretty good wrestler. I was really pleased with him."
Kenny, a junior, claimed a 4-0 decision over Korey Catts, and maintained top position for the majority of the match.
Nyeggen's match was a bit more eventful than either of the Fesenmaiers'.
In the first period of the 182-pound match, Nyeggen was down 1-4 to Clear Lake's Trevor Kivi. The SVE senior was nearly pinned in the third minute of the match, but was able to escape from underneath Kivi and earned the last six points of the dual for his team.
"You just can't give up," Nyeggen said. "Even if you're on your back, you just have to keep moving. They'll eventually let up, and you just have to take advantage of it."
And that's exactly what the first-year wrestler did.
After witnessing Nyeggen's athletic talents on the football field, his peers suggested he put his skills to the test on the mat. Nyeggen is enjoying his first year of wrestling, and wishes he would have gone out for the winter sport a few years ago.
So do his coaches.
"He's just a natural," Hofacker said of Nyeggen. "He's just very fun and very coachable, and just a really good athlete."
The other two Cardinal pins came from last year's state qualifiers, Nick and Merth.
"They felt a lot of pressure in the beginning," coach Hofacker said, "but they're starting to realize that they don't have to do everything. They just have to do what they're supposed to do."
Nick and Merth both pinned their opponents in the first periods of their duals.
"They're all getting better," Hofacker said. "We'll be pretty good by the end of the year, and we should get a lot of kids to Madison."
SVE will face another full team, the Somerset Spartans, in Elmwood on Thursday, Dec. 21.
Hofacker said the Spartans won't be as tough as the Warriors, but with his team's open weights, "it'll be an upward battle."
Clear Lake 51, SVE 24
106: Clear Lake received a forfeit.
113: Clear Lake received a forfeit.
120: Jackson Steinberger (CL, So.) pinned Brayden Wolf (SVE, Fr.).
126: Nick Elmer (CL, Sr.) pinned Nolan Stans (SVE, Fr.).
132: Nate Fesenmaier (SVE, Fr.) over Carter Wienke (CL, Sr.) (Dec. 4-0).
138: Ivan Ruble (CL, So.) pinned Clayton Neisinger (SVE, So.)
145: Nick Sempf (CL, Jr.) over Jarod Rielly (SVE, Sr.) (MD 11-3)
152: Gabe Colbeth (CL, Sr.) over Santana Schlegel (SVE, Jr.) (TF 15-0)
160: Kenny Fesenmaier (SVE, Jr.) over Korey Catts (CL, Jr.) (Dec. 4-0)
170: Carter Merth (SVE, Jr.) pinned Hunter Brenne (CL, Sr.)
182: Jaydon Nyeggen (SVE, Sr.) pinned Trevor Kivi (CL, Sr.)
195: Nick Hofacker (SVE, Sr.) pinned Parker Ulrich (CL, So.)
220: Clear Lake received a forfeit.
285: Clear Lake received a forfeit.