When the New Richmond and Osceola wrestlers line up as healthy teams, it should make for a highly competitive team battle.
But when they met last Thursday in Osceola, the Tigers were not healthy. With two of their most experienced wrestlers out of the lineup and others ill, the Tigers weren't able to compete with the Chieftains, losing 44-21.
The Tigers were scheduled to complete their Middle Border Conference dual meet season on Tuesday with a home match against Ellsworth. The Tigers will compete this Saturday at the MBC meet at Baldwin, but the Tigers aren't stressing greatly over it. New Richmond coach Jeff Swanson said the team's focus is the WIAA Division 1 tournament series that starts the following Saturday. None of the opponents the Tigers face at the MBC meet will be at the Division 1 regional.
So, Swanson doesn't plan on doing any lineup adjustments before the MBC meet. He plans to have the Tigers compete in the weight class they're going to compete in at the regional meet, to get them more experience facing opponents their size.
The Tigers were able to win five of the matches wrestled at Osceola on Thursday. Ryan Muller continues to produce results, scoring a 7-4 decision at 220 pounds. The Tigers didn't win again until 120 pounds, when Cayden Henning pinned Andrew Olson. This is the type of result the coaches are looking for from Henning, who has flashed potential against some quality opponents like Olson.
That was the first of three straight wins for the Tigers. The Dennis brothers were in control of their matches at 126 and 132. Brandon Dennis won 9-2 at 126 and Tyler Dennis won 5-1 at 132.
The final Tigers win came from senior Dylan Wachter. He earned a pin at the 2:40 mark in the 152-pound class.
Swanson said he had some of his veteran wrestlers like Wachter and the Dennises working on new things in these matches that they might be able to add into their skill set for the upcoming matches.
Swanson said some of the less experienced Tigers performed well in losses on Thursday. He credited Reece Lucas, Braeden Gefeke, Matt Harle and Austin Bau for putting up competitive battles in losing efforts.