Progress was the theme of the day for the Tiger wrestlers as they hosted the 51st annual New Richmond Invitational at the Tiger gym on Saturday.
New Richmond junior Tyler Dennis was the flag bearer for the team’s progress. Though he was seeded sixth in the 152-pound bracket, he came away as the tournament champion. New Richmond also had Cayden Henning reach the championship match, with Brandon Dennis and Bode Gabriel were third place finishers.
The Tigers placed fourth in the team standings among the 11 teams competing.
New Richmond coach Jeff Swanson said there were a number of Tigers who showed significant progress Saturday and that began with Tyler Dennis. After being seeded sixth, he knocked off the first, second and fourth seeds to earn his championship. This improves his season record to 17-9. He defeated Amery’s Grant Cook 9-4 in the title match.
“It’s the best he’s wrestled all year,” Swanson said.
There were a number of Tigers who could have received that comment.
Cayden Henning beat four quality opponents to reach the finals at 138 pounds. In the finals he faced Amery’s Mason Tylee, whose father was a New Richmond wrestler in the 1980s. Henning led for much of the match then made one false move and Tylee was able to score a pin.
Gabriel went 4-1 to place third at 120 pounds. He defeated the tournament champion, but three wrestlers in the pool format tied at 4-1, leaving Gabriel in third place. The freshman’s record is now 19-8.
Brandon Dennis was competing in what was almost unanimously considered the most talented weight class at 145 pounds. He went 3-1 for the day. His loss came against Vito Massa of River Falls by a 6-4 score. Massa was the class champion and was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. In the third place match, Carter Brunke of Athens, who is state-ranked in Division 3, by an 8-3 score. Dennis now has 99 wins in his career.
Among the Tigers who upped their game on Saturday was junior Sam LaPean. He was seeded ninth at 170 pounds but finished fifth. LaPean opened the tournament with a 16-3 win over an opponent from Spooner with a 13-6 record. He finished 3-2 for the day.
Christian Moeller and Ryan Muller were also fifth place finishers for the Tigers.
The Tigers will get a good test on Thursday when they host Osceola in a Middle Border Conference dual meet. The Tigers will compete in the Chippewa Falls Invitational on Saturday.