When there are 70 teams competing in a tournament, reaching the awards podium is quite an achievement.
New Richmond senior Brandon Dennis was able to add that honor to his career highlights at the 2019 Bi-State Classic, held Friday and Saturday at La Crosse. Dennis was part of an incredibly talented 145-pound weight class, where he finished ninth, winning six of the eight matches he wrestled.
“There were 13 state qualifiers and 19 ranked kids in his bracket,” said New Richmond coach Jeff Swanson. Dennis was seeded 20th in the bracket, but he was out to prove that his senior showing at the tournament would be his best. After getting a quick pin in his first match, it seemed that Dennis was running up against a top opponent in every round. Several of the matches came down to the final seconds. That included the ninth place match, where Dennis got a takedown in the final seconds of the first overtime period to defeat Brice Bischof of Lakeville South, 3-1. Dennis’ record is now 17-6 this season.
“He wrestled phenomenally down there,” Swanson said.
Tiger freshman Bode Gabriel wrestled a strong tournament, going 4-2 at 120 pounds. Among his wins was one against a wrestler who was a runner-up in the Minnesota state tournament last year. He was able to advance to the second day of the tournament, but lost to a Waunakee wrestler that prevented him from reaching the placement round.
Cayden Henning and Tyler Dennis both won three matches in the tournament. Ryan Muller earned two wins.
The Tigers took eight wrestlers to the tournament. Because of illness and injury, the Tigers had several wrestlers unavailable for the tournament. The Tigers were the only Middle Border Conference team competing at Bi-State this year.
The next match for the Tigers comes on Thursday, Jan. 9, when they host Somerset in a MBC match.