All three area wrestling teams competed in their final tournaments of the season on Saturday before the start of the post-season.
The post-season begins on Saturday, Feb. 8, when New Richmond hosts the 2020 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament.
The New Richmond and Somerset wrestlers competed at the 17-team Shell Lake Invitational on Saturday, while St. Croix Central was grappling with opponents at the Arcadia Invitational.
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
Devin Wasley added another championship as the Panthers wrestled in a scramble format tournament at Arcadia on Saturday.
The Panthers placed fifth among 17 teams at the tournament.
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 an opponent from Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 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 G-E-T 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.