Karma was on the mind of St. Croix Central wrestling coach Brad Holzer following last Thursday’s match against Prescott.
For the second week in a row, the Panthers won their Middle Border Conference match on a tie-breaker. This time, the match ended 39-39. The deciding criteria was which team had the most six-point wins. Central had six of them, compared to five for Prescott, giving the Panthers the team victory. It put them in a tie for the MBC lead with a 2-0 record.
The Panthers got wins on the mat from David Olson, Erik Collins and Parker Shackleton. There were six forfeits in the match. Coach Holzer said he thought the forfeits came at weights where the Panthers would have likely picked up six points in each class anyway.
He said the two pivotal efforts for Central may have been in losses. The first match of the night was at 126, where Brandon Trudell was in his first varsity match. The freshman battled and gave up a five-point technical fall instead of a six-point pin.
The final match was at 120 pounds. If Prescott won by technical fall or pin, the Cards got the team victory. Hunter Feyereisen battled and kept the score to 10-0, a major decision, securing the tie. That put the tie-breaker rules in motion and the Panthers were winners again.
This is the fourth time in the past two seasons where the Panthers have won an MBC dual match through a tie-breaker. Holzer said it is karma for when the Panthers lost the conference tournament championship on a tie-breaker more than a decade ago.
Four champions and one second place finish made for a highly successful day for the St. Croix Central wrestlers Saturday at the La Crosse Logan Invitational. The Panthers ranked fourth out of 11 teams.
All 12 Panthers who competed earned points for the team in the tournament.
Champions for the Panthers were Olson, Devin Wasley, Shackleton and Braeden Bloom, with Jacob Berends also reaching the finals.
Olson pinned all four of his opponents to win the 132-pound class. In the finals he defeated a wrestler who had beaten him in this tournament a year ago.
To say Wasley dominated the 160-pound class would be an understatement. He pinned all five of his opponents, with four of the pins coming in the first period.
Bloom had to battle back to win the 182-pound championship. Menomonie’s Josh Boyette had Bloom on his back early in the title match. Bloom fought off his back and came back for a 14-5 major decision victory.
Shackleton pinned all four of his opponents in the 195-pound bracket, with only one of the matches lasting past the first period.
“He’s got every tool he needs. He’s strong, compact and he listens well,” Holzer said of the freshman.
Berends won close decisions in his first two matches to reach the finals at 170 pounds. He put up a good battle there too, losing to undefeated Caleb Macke of Menomonie, 11-7.
The Panthers will be in action Thursday and Saturday this week. They wrestle a dual match at Somerset on Thursday before competing at the Osceola Invitational on Saturday.
New Richmond wrestling
The Tigers face the three teams expected to be the top contenders for the MBC title in the first three weeks of the season. Last week, the Tigers put up an excellent fight in a loss against Amery. The Tigers weren’t as sharp in their first home match of the season on Thursday, losing against Baldwin-Woodville, 55-16.
New Richmond won two of the first three matches that were wrestled, but they’d only win one more all night. The Tigers also had forfeits at 195, 106 and 113.
The first win for the Tigers came when senior Ryan Muller made quick work of freshman Mason Baribeau with a first period pin in the 220-pound match. At 285, New Richmond’s Adam Stener fell behind 5-0 in the first period. In the second period he was able to throw Baldwin-Woodville’s Adam Malstrom to get the pin. That tied the score at 12-12.
The other Tiger win was supplied by senior Brandon Dennis at 145 pounds. Dennis controlled the action from start to finish in a 15-2 win over B-W freshman Logan Gordon.
Tiger coach Jeff Swanson said he was hoping the team would be more competitive after the performance against Amery. He said there were bright spots, including Bode Gabriel and Dawson Grove as Tigers who gave good efforts in losing causes.
The Tigers bounced back from a rough dual match on Thursday, with a much more competitive at the Husky Invitational at Eau Claire North High School.
The team was able to finish eighth among the 27 teams competing at Eau Claire. Three fourth place finishes were the top individual showings for the Tigers.
Devon Denison, Brandon Dennis and Christian Moeller were the three Tigers who reached the tournament semifinals. Swanson said reaching the semifinals in a tournament with the depth of talent this one had is an accomplishment.
Denison placed fourth despite being unseeded at 132 pounds. He came up with one of the biggest wins in his career in the quarterfinals, when he knocked off Phillips’ Dominic Kurth 10-6. Kurth was the second seed in the bracket.
Dennis seems to always land in a stacked weight class and that was the case again Saturday. He was seeded fourth. In the semifinals Dennis faced defending Division 3 state champion Kole Marko of St. Croix Falls. Dennis put up an excellent battle, losing 3-1. Dennis met another state qualifier in the third place match, losing to Hunter Bruhn of Phillips.
“I’d say that was the deepest weight class,” Swanson said of the 145-pound bracket.
Moeller stood out in the 160-pound class, knocking off the sixth and third seeds after he was unseeded. He lost extremely close matches in the final two rounds of the bracket.
Noah Henning was a seventh place finisher for the Tigers, with Bode Gabriel and Tyler Dennis placing ninth in their brackets.
The Tigers continue their busy December schedule by wrestling at Ellsworth on Thursday and in an invitational at Trinity High School on Saturday.
One of the toughest assignments for any MBC team each season is their dual match against Ellsworth. It was the Spartans’ turn to face the Purple Swarm on Thursday, with Ellsworth winning 71-12.
Somerset had one win that took place on the mat. That was supplied by Landon Anez in the 182-pound bout. Ellsworth’s Mike Hines got a takedown early in to the action. Anez stood up, caught Hines in a headlock and flung him to the mat, getting the pin in 45 seconds.
“His confidence finally kicked in,” Somerset coach Ali Peterson said of Anez. “It was a beautiful head throw.”
Somerset’s other win came at 126 pounds, where senior Tyler Hantsbarger received a forfeit.
There were only six matches wrestled in the dual and none of the six went the full six minutes.
A championship won by Hantsbarger was the biggest achievement for the Somerset wrestlers at the Spooner Invitational on Saturday.
Hantsbarger rolled through the competition at 126 pounds. He pinned his first three opponents. In the finals, he defeated Tyler Schunck of Shell Lake, 11-1. Peterson said Hantsbarger was moving extremely well all day.
“He floated beautifully from one thing to the next. He had relentless motion and attack,” Peterson said.
Connor Grahovac and Landon Anez were third place finishers. Grahovac bumped up to the 120-pound bracket because there was no opposition at 113. He went 2-2 at 120.
Anez scored two pins in taking third place at 182. He has now moved above .500 with a 5-4 record.
The Spartans have home matches this Thursday and Friday. The Spartans will host St. Croix Central in Middle Border Conference action Thursday. Spring Valley will visit for a non-conference match on Friday.