HUDSON, Wis.-- The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Hudson’s wrestling team has qualified for the WIAA Division 1 State Team Tournament four times since 2015, and each year the Raiders have been knocked out by Kaukauna, including last Friday’s 46-21 loss to the Galloping Ghosts in the state quarterfinals.
“It would be nice if some year we can be on the opposite side of the bracket,” Hudson coach Chris Hansen said.
Kaukauna was seeded No. 2 in the eight-team state team tournament field while Hudson was No. 7. The Raiders got a 6-3 decision from Jacob Hansen at 170 pounds and a 14-6 major decision from Hank Gierke at 182 to take an early 7-0 lead and led 10-3 after a 9-3 decision from Ryan Rambo at 220, but Kaukauna won eight of the final 10 matches, including six by fall, to earn the victory.
Hansen said he was proud of how the Raiders performed all week leading up to the state tournament quarterfinals.
“I was really happy with how the guys wrestled, and to be honest how they conducted themselves all week,” he said. “This is a special team. Every day this week we had a full room of kids that included pretty much every junior varsity guy on our roster. The team is as close-knit as any team I have coached.”
Leo Draveling wrapped up his Raider career with a 21-6 technical fall victory at 145 pounds, and Peter Hansen posted a pin in the final bout of the night at 160 pounds to make the final score 46-21.
“One interesting thing is that all three seniors, Leo Draveling, Jacob Fanning and Bryce Hunsberger, were all starters against Kaukauna in 2017 at team state,” Hansen noted. “They began their career and ended their career the same way.”
Hansen said it really was an amazing season for the Raiders, who won conference, regional and sectional championships on the way to their fifth state team tournament appearance.
“We did all that with just three seniors in the starting line-up, which is also very impressive as our youth had to be overcome,” he said. “Leadership is the key. It sounds like a cliche but I can look back and all five teams who have gone to state over the past decade have had tremendous leadership. This year, we were led by captains Peter (Hansen) and Leo (Draveling) but we tell our guys that you don't need that label to be a leader.”
Kaukauna went on to lose to eventual state champion Stoughton 42-19 in the state semifinals. Stoughton went on to defeat Mukwonago 32-30 in Saturday’s championship match.
Sophomore Jacob Hansen said every Hudson wrestler appreciated the opportunity to compete at the state team tournament.
"Every guy understands that this is special and we didn't take it for granted,” he said. “We owe it to every wrestler across the state who didn't get this opportunity to give it all we had. We are fortunate here in Hudson.”