The Middle Border Conference dual wrestling season is winding down and each of the three local teams competed in interesting MBC duals on Thursday.
New Richmond went to Prescott and won 51-23. Eight of the 14 matches were wrestled, with the Tigers winning six of the eight.
St. Croix Central’s wrestlers gave Ellsworth an excellent battle in Thursday’s match at Hammond. Ellsworth received forfeits in the final two weight classes to expand the final margin to 45-27.
Somerset had a large turnout of youth and middle school wrestlers for exhibition matches before the Spartans’ home finale. Osceola defeated Somerset 63-15 in the varsity match.
The Tigers wrestled quite well in winning Thursday’s dual at Prescott. Prescott has wrestled quite well in some matches this season, including tying St. Croix Central.
The match started at 145 pounds, where New Richmond junior Tyler Dennis earned a second period pin. At 152 pounds, two veteran wrestlers took the mat. It was New Richmond’s Cayden Henning who dominated the action, earning a 16-0 technical fall early in the third period.
The next match wrestled was at 195, where Tiger sophomore Parker Stephens moved up instead of accepting a forfeit at 182. Stephens looked solid in pinning Zach Middleton in 1:30.
The 285-pound match was a good battle between two of the MBC’s better heavyweights. Prescott’s Shawn Thomason was leading 3-0 early in the third period. Early in the third period, Thomason tried a throw. Stener was able to roll through when they hit the mat, coming to rest on top of Thomason. Stener earned the pin in 5:04.
The first match in the lower weights came at 120 pounds, where New Richmond freshman Bode Gabriel earned a 13-2 victory. Noah Henning followed with a second period pin in 126-pound match. Prescott’s second win came on a technical fall at 132 pounds. The final class of the night was 138 pounds, where Tiger senior Brandon Dennis received a forfeit.
St. Croix Central
It was an exciting setting at Central Thursday. With Senior Night and the gym filled with Central youth wrestlers and Ellsworth fans, the gym was packed for this match.
Freshman Brandon Trudell got Central started with an exciting win at 113. He got taken down right away, but fought back for the reversal. In the middle of the second period, Trudell won via a pin.
“It was the best match of his career,” Holzer said.
Central lost at 120, but David Olson came through with a 12-3 win at 126. The coaches were excited that Olson was able to earn a late takedown to make this a major decision win.
The excitement reached its crescendo at 132. Central’s Tadan Holzer took on Bailey Poilinger, a state qualifier last year. Holzer got a second period escape to lead 1-0. With 15 seconds left in the match, Poilinger was awarded an escape. The match stretched into overtime. In the ultimate tie-break, Holzer was able to ride out Poilinger for the 2-1 win.
Ellsworth then hit the strength of its lineup, reeling off three straight wins. That stopped when Central sophomore Devin Wasley earned a technical fall at 160. Ellsworth got a pin at 170. Central senior Braeden Bloom followed with a pin at 182 and Central freshman Parker Shackleton scored a 10-7 decision at 195. Ellsworth led 29-27 at that point, before picking up six points in each of the three final weight classes.
On Tuesday, the Panthers hosted their rescheduled St. Croix Central Duals. Coach Holzer said the success on Tuesday led into the team’s strong performance against Ellsworth. Central earned wins over Durand and Glenwood City on Tuesday, along with a loss against a powerhouse team from Foley, Minn.
Thursday was a special night for the Spartans as they wrestled their home finale. It was Parents’ Night and Senior Night and there was just as much excitement before the varsity match was conducted.
Wrestling started at 5:15 p.m., with 40 youth matches and 10 middle school matches wrestled before the varsity athletes took the mat.
When the varsity match was held, Osceola defeated the Spartans 63-15. Somerset’s wins were scored by Connor Grahovac, Landon Anez and Sawyer Wilson.
Grahovac opened the night’s action with an 8-4 win in the 106-pound match. Somerset coach Ali Peterson said Grahovac’s win was a sign of the progress the young wrestlers in the Spartan lineup are making.
Anez continues to earn pins by throwing opponents in the 182-pound class. He caught Osceola’s Noah French in a throw in the second period to get the pin.
One of the marquee battles of the night came at 132 pounds. Instead of having senior Tyler Hantsbarger wrestle a young opponent, the Spartan coaches bumped him up a weight class. The coaches are trying to get Hantsbarger the best competition possible to get ready for February’s tournament run. The move to 132 pitted Hantsbarger against Osceola senior Drew Willeman. This was an excellent battle between two of the MBC’s finer wrestlers. The match remained scoreless into the third period. Willeman was able to get a late reversal to win 2-0.
New Richmond wrestlers
Brandon Dennis and Bode Gabriel won individual championships as the Tigers placed fourth among the 17 teams competing at Shell Lake on Saturday.
Tyler Dennis finished second and Cayden Henning and Christian Moeller were both third place finishers.
Brandon Dennis won the title at 138 pounds, dominating the class. He was seeded second, but defeated the top seed from Ashland 7-2 in the finals.
Gabriel also went 5-0 to win the title at 120 pounds. Gabriel was the top seed and lived up to that billing, pinning all five of his opponents, four in the first period.
Tyler Dennis reached the finals at 145, where he wrestled his best match of the day. He faced undefeated Jared Stricker of Ashland. This was a battle to the finish. Dennis trailed 4-0 late in the match when he went for a big move and got caught and pinned.
Henning and Moeller both lost in the semifinals to top quality opponents from Bloomer. Tiger coach Jeff Swanson said both seniors wrestled well to put themselves among the top finishers in their brackets.
“They’re right on the cusp of doing good things against really good opponents,” Swanson said.
The Tigers also had five wrestlers competing at the JV state tournament held at Wausau and two came home as champions. Sophomore Chase Feiner won the championship at 160 pounds.
“Chase wrestled great, he beat some pretty good kids,” Swanson said.
Also winning the tournament was junior Emily Daniluk. She was one of two girls in the 170-pound division of the girls’ state tournament and she won that division.
Also placing for the Tigers was sophomore Luke Fox, who took fourth at 220 pounds.
The Tigers will complete their dual meet season this Thursday when they host St. Croix Central.
Somerset senior Tyler Hantsbarger was named the Most Valuable Wrestler at the Shell Lake Invitational after he won the 126-pound championship on Saturday.
Hantsbarger raised his record to 29-3 with his five wins in the tournament. Led by his title, the Spartans were able to place tenth among the 17 teams in the field. Hantsbarger opened the tournament with three pins, all against opponents with records above .500. He earned an 11-2 win in the semifinals. In the finals he faced Ashland’s Austin Defoe, who is 23-4. Hantsbarger built up a 4-3 lead, then rode Defoe throughout the third period to secure the win.
Somerset coach Ali Peterson said Hantsbarger was focusing on opening up his attack, which showed in his pinning three quality opponents.
Another of the successes of the day for the Spartans was a four-win effort from sophomore Landon Anez, who placed fifth at 182 pounds. Sophomore Landon Wilson had the best tournament of his career, earning three pins in the 132-pound class. Parker Lytle, a former Shell Lake resident, earned his first varsity win with a pin during the tournament.
The Spartans complete their MBC dual match season on Thursday when they compete at Baldwin-Woodville.
St. Croix Central wrestlers
Wasley added another championship as the Panthers wrestled in a scramble format tournament at Arcadia on Saturday.
Wasley won the championship at 160 pounds, with Braeden Bloom and Parker Shackleton both finishing in third place as the Panthers in the upper weights performed well on Saturday.
Wasley rolled to the 160 finals, where he defeated his opponent 7-2. Central coach Brad Holzer said it’s quite possible that Wasley could meet that wrestler again at the sectional tournament level.
Bloom’s only loss came in the 170-pound semifinals against a tough opponent. Bloom bounced back to pin a quality opponent from Eau Claire Memorial in the third place match.
Shackleton also bounced back from a loss in the semifinals with an impressive effort in the third place match. He started the match with a single that he quickly turned into a double, taking his Cadott opponent to the mat. Shackleton quickly locked on a cradle and had his opponent pinned in 36 seconds.
The Panthers complete their MBC dual season this Thursday when they wrestle at New Richmond.