HUDSON, Wis. -- Six Raiders earned individual titles and 13 finished in the top four in their respective weight classes to lead Hudson to a first place team finish at the WIAA Division 1 Wrestling Regional Saturday, Feb. 15, in Hudson.
The Raiders took the team title with a total of 253.5 points while River Falls was second with 218 and Menomonie placed third with 157.5. New Richmond finished fourth in the eight-team competition with 142.
Hudson coach Chris Hansen said the fact that the Raiders had six individual champions despite having just two No. 1 seeds said a lot about how the day went for the team.
“On paper, this regional was going to be extremely close,” he said. “We talked a lot about getting bonus points with pins. That's how you win close tournaments. It turned out not to matter because we pulled a bunch of individual upsets, but it is worth noting that we led the field in pins. The kids did what I asked them to do.”
Senior Leo Draveling pinned his way through the 145 pound weight class to become Hudson’s all-time leader in pins, surpassing 2010 graduate Cole Tobin, while sophomore Jacob Hansen defeated all three of his opponents on his way to the 170 pound title. (Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Jacob Hansen pinned all three opponents; he won 4-0 over Garett Borth.)
Hudson’s other champions included junior Matthew Feia at 126 pounds, junior Peter Hansen at 160, junior Hank Gierke at 195, and freshman Ryan Rambo at 220.
Junior AJ Henn placed second to advance to this Saturday’s sectional in Wisconsin Rapids and senior Bryce Hunsberger and sophomore Erik Stubbendick were third at 132 and 138 pounds, respectively, while freshman Riley Steltzner (113), senior Jacob Fanning (120), sophomore Joey Sullivan (152) and junior Mason Jasperson ( 182) all moved on with fourth place finishes.
Coach Hansen pointed to Stubbenick as a key to the Raiders’ team title.
“It took us basically an entire season to get Erik Stubbendick into the varsity lineup, but it was our plan all along,” he said. “It worked well as he got us two pins and 16 team points. That was huge for us.”
The seventh-ranked Raiders will face ninth-seeded D.C. Everest for the sectional team title Tuesday, Feb. 18, at 7 p.m. in River Falls for a spot in the state team tournament March 6-7 in Madison.
The 13 individual Raider qualifiers will compete in the individual sectional tournament this Saturday, Feb. 22. The top two finishers in each weight class will advance to the individual state tournament Feb. 27-29 in Madison.
Opportunity missed for River Falls
River Falls coach Kevin Black said the Wildcats missed an opportunity to repeat as regional champions Saturday in Hudson.
“Hudson out-wrestled us, and they have the opportunity to make it to team state with a win in our home gym on Tuesday,” Black said. “We were really looking forward to having that chance, however we didn't perform to our standards. Watching another team in our gym, and setting up for the dual meet, will sting a little bit and should give our wrestlers a little extra fuel to pay the price in the off season so they don't feel this way again next year.”
Despite coming up short in the team standings, the Wildcats will send 11 wrestlers to this Saturday’s individual sectional in Wisconsin Rapids, led by regional champions Vito Massa at 138 pounds and Tyler Haydon at 152.
“Vito and Tyler wrestled very well, and are making the adjustments they need to at the right time,” Black noted.
Regional runner-ups for the Wildcats included James Hampton at 120 pounds, Elliott Hampton at 126, Cooper Andrea at 132, Miles Longsdorf at 145, Garrett Borth at 170 and Marcus Cudd at 220.
“Miles had a big win in the semifinals overcoming a few previous losses to the New Richmond wrestler,” Black said. “It was also nice for us to see Elliot Hampton step into an important role in place of Owen Larson (season ending injury) and Cooper Andrea really showed guts in competing at less than 100 percent.”
Aidan Peterson, at 113 pounds, and Gabe Glaubitz at 285 also advanced to sectionals while Travis Moelter moved on at 106.
Black said he thinks the Wildcats could make some noise this Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.
“We have a handful of kids who could check off a box on their list of goals with good performances,” he said. “Consistency this week is going to be important.”
New Richmond advances seven wrestlers
Spiced by a number of upsets, the New Richmond wrestling team was able to advance seven Tigers through the action at the Division 1 Hudson Wrestling Regional Tournament on Saturday.
With their strong performance, the Tigers were able to place fourth in Saturday’s team competition.
New Richmond freshman Bode Gabriel advanced as a regional champion at 120 pounds. Seniors Brandon Dennis, Cayden Henning and Ryan Muller were all second place finishers. Sam LaPean and Tyler Dennis advanced as third place finishers and Luke Fox advanced by placing fourth.
The Tigers defeated numerous higher seeds during the regional tournament, where the top four wrestlers move on. When they compete at the Division 1 sectional tournament at Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln High School at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, only the top two wrestlers in each weight class advance to state. Tiger coach Jeff Swanson said the competition in every weight class at the sectional meet is excellent. He said the only focus for each Tiger will be the opponent immediately ahead of them.
“You start looking at brackets and you’re looking for trouble,” Swanson said. “Our kids battle. You’ll never count us out.”
The Tigers have a history of pulling off upsets at the regional and sectional tournaments. They achieved a number of upsets at Hudson and Swanson said he thinks there are opportunities for upsets at the sectional meet.
The upsets at regionals started with Gabriel at 120. Gabriel beat a quality opponent from Hudson in the semifinals. In the title match, he faced top seed James Hampton of River Falls. Gabriel won on a 9-6 decision to improve his record to 31-10.
“It’s the best he’s wrestled all year, by far,” Swanson said.
Brandon Dennis (34-8) was seeded second and he reached the finals by handily putting away opponents from Menomonie and Hudson. In the 138-pound finals, Dennis was pinned Massa of River Falls in the final seconds of the match.
Tyler Dennis (28-12) opened action at 145 pounds with a quick pin. In the semifinals he suffered one of the Tigers’ toughest losses all day, losing in an ultimate tie-breaker to Longsdorf of River Falls. Dennis then won the third place match against Daniel Moucha of Chippewa Falls, 7-6. Henning (28-12) was seeded third at 152 pounds but ended up in second place. He opened with an 8-0 win against Menomonie. In the semifinals, Henning beat second seed Ethan Johnson of Eau Claire North, 8-2. Henning put up a good battle in the finals, but lost to top seed Haydon of River Falls, 12-6.
LaPean knocked off the third and fourth seeds to take third place at 170 pounds on Saturday. He pinned the fourth seed in the opening round. After a loss in the semifinals, LaPean came back to pin the third seed from Eau Claire Memorial in the third place match.
Muller did some of his best wrestling of the season to finish second at 195. He knocked off the third seed from Eau Claire Memorial 10-5. He then lost in the semis, before beating the fourth seed from Superior in the third place 11-0. Muller moved up to second place when the top seed from Menomonie did an injury default in the second place match.
Fox (3-6) opened his regional by winning against Cody Kwak of Menomonie, 16-11. That assured Fox fourth place in the five-man bracket.