ELMWOOD – When Spring Valley/Elmwood took a 30-15 lead on Butch Rabitoy’s tight two-point decision over the Bulldogs’ Isaac Wold at 182 pounds in the conference dual finale for both teams last Thursday, it appeared that the Cardinals would, for the third straight year, deny Boyceville the Dunn-St. Croix Wrestling Championship.
Spring Valley/Elmwood upset Boyceville two years ago in Spring Valley to take the 2010-11 title. Then a year ago in Boyceville, the Cardinals locked down the upstart Bulldogs 37-29 en route to a second straight conference crown and a WIAA Division 3 State Runner-up trophy.
When Boyceville traveled to Elmwood on Thursday, January 31, two days after the originally scheduled dual had been postponed due to school cancellations, Spring Valley/Elmwood already had at least of a share of its third consecutive conference crown thanks to a unblemished 3-0 D-SC record. The Bulldogs, 2-1 entering the dual, could earn a split of the title if they could return the favor and upset the league leaders.
The third time did indeed prove to be the charm.
Will Kraft’s pin of the Cards’ Ethan Hofacker in the 195-pound match would ignite a Boyceville comeback. The Bulldogs swept the final four matches including a 7-4 dual-clinching win by Boyceville’s Austin Wolfe at 106 pounds that gave Boyceville a heart-stopping and foot-stomping 33-30 come-from-behind victory and a share of the Dunn-St. Croix wrestling spoils.
“We lost the last two seasons to Spring Valley with the title on the line but finally got one back and a conference title,” said Jamie Olson, the ecstatic head coach of Boyceville. “I’m really happy for the group of seniors to go out with a conference title, especially when no one predicted us to be in the hunt. It was nice to get one back, when last year was so close.”
The victory gave the Boyceville, 3-1 in conference and 15-6 overall, its first conference crown in four years and the 17th Dunn-St. Croix Championship in the program’s history. Of course, 14 of those titles have come since 1992. Nine of those championships have been won under the leadership of 14-year veteran coach Jamie Olson. His teams won titles in 2001-2006, 2008, 2009, and now in 2013.
But three-quarters of the way through last Thursday’s dual, a 17th conference title seemed much in doubt. The dual just was not unfolding the way that Olson had hoped.
“No, the dual did not go exactly as planned,” said Olson. “We lost a couple of matches in the middle, that made us change our match ups up top.”
“Kraft, Lake, Windsor and Wolfe came through in a huge way. We were not favored to win 3 of those 4 matches and we got two pins and two decisions,” Olson added. “That’s stepping up when the pressure was on. “Lake and Windsor both being Freshman handled the pressure like veterans. I was really impressed with both of their performances.”
With Boyceville trailing by 15 points and his own match knotted at four points each, Boyceville senior and first-year grappler Will Kraft turned the dual up side down when he caught his opponent Ethan Hofacker in a head throw and pinned him at the 4:14 mark of the 195-pound match.
That instant momentum would carry the Bulldogs through their next three matches as the pressure grew.
Freshman Jake Lake would control his match at 220 pounds when he scored a takedown and three-point near fall in the second period. Lake would go on to win a 7-1 decision over Mike Roesler that put Boyceville within a pin of Spring Valley/Elmwood, 30-24.
In a battle for heavyweight supremacy, Boyceville’s neophyte big man, freshman Brandon Windsor, electrified the Boyceville bench and spectators with a late second-period pin of the Cardinals’ DJ Wheeler. The fall tied the dual score at 30 each.
“There were a lot of questions in the upper weights,” said Olson. “Those wins were the difference.”
The final match at 106-pounds would determine this dual’s winner. It would be another Boyceville freshman that would put the Bulldogs over the top and into another conference championship. Austin Wolfe broke a 2-2 tie in the third period when he took Spring Valley/Elmwood freshman Andrew Webb to his back and scored three back points en route to a 7-4 win and team title.
“Austin has been tough all year,” Olson stated. “I had all the confidence in him to get the job done. Webb is a tough kid and it was a battle, what a great match to end the dual.”
“I can’t say enough about what those guys did,” said Olson in referencing the performances of Kraft, Lake, Windsor, and Wolfe. “15 big points, when really on paper you weren’t expecting to get any.”
But the Bulldogs also received key contributions from others that night in Elmwood.
James Lindo’s comeback win at 120 may well have been the Bulldogs’ lynch pin for success. Seniors Dominic Olson and Josh Cormican came through with a technical fall and a major decision respectively for bonus-point wins. And Wyatt Hansen scored a valuable decision at 160 pounds.
“The 106 and 120 matches were also key wins for us,” noted Olson. “Hansen had a nice win also, I moved him up to get a matchup and he responded with a solid win. Cormican’s major was also an important bonus-point match against a tough kid, whose job was to not get pinned.”
Spring Valley/Elmwood opened the dual with a win at 113 pounds. Derek Huebel stuck the Bulldogs’ Sawyer Swenson in 2:45 to give the Cardinals a 6-0 advantage.
James Lindo overcame a 10-4 deficit in the third period with a takedown, a reversal, and a three-point near fall in the final two minutes of the 120-pound match to win 11-10.
“Lindo’s big win at 120 was huge,”said Olson. “To come back down 10-6 and get a five pointer with time expiring was big for our team’s mindset.”
Tyler Berg’s pin of the Bulldogs’ Dylan Lamm at 126 pounds pushed the Cardinals’ lead to 12-3.
Dominic Olson tacked on five to the Boyceville score with a 15-0 technical fall of Ryan Berg at 132.
But Spring Valley would take wins at 138 and 145 pounds and Jed Schlegel decisioned Jon Harnisch at the former weight and Zac Newton pulled off a pin of Alex Lovett in the latter.
Trailing 21-8, Boyceville would get a much needed win from senior Josh Cormican at 152. Cormican held sway throughout his match against fellow senior Jaron Turner in a 10-0 major decision.
Wyatt Hansen would secure a 4-1 win at 160 pounds to pull the Bulldogs to within six at 21-15 but the Cardinals would comeback with a pair of wins in the next two bouts.
Bryor Hellmann suffered an concussion in his 170-pound match against Trent Miller. Hellmann trailed 7-2 when he was put to the mat and pinned and suffered an injury in the process.
Wold’s close loss at 182 pounds gave SV/E a 30-15 edge lead which would completely evaporate in the heated air of Elmwood’s gym over the ensuing four matches.
“This is such a great group of kids to coach,” Olson concluded. “I’ve really enjoyed coaching this team and its been fun to watch them grow and have success.”
The Bulldogs will look to continue that success when the WIAA tournament series begins this Saturday, February 9 with Regionals in Cadott. Boyceville will join five other teams including Glenwood City, Spring Valley/Elmwood, Mondovi, Durand, and the host Hornets in vying for the team title which will send the winner onto the Team Sectional in Glenwood City next Tuesday, Feb. 12. The top two place winners in each weight class will also advance to the individual sectional to be held Saturday, Feb. 16 at Osseo-Fairchild High School.
BOYCEVILLE 33, SPRING VALLEY/ELMWOOD 30
106 – Austin Wolfe (BV) dec. Andrew Webb (SV/E), 7-4; 113 – Derek Huebel (SV/E) pinned Sawyer Swenson (BV), 2:45; 120 – James Lindo (BV) dec. Logan Newton (SV/E), 11-10; 126 – Tyler Berg (SV/E) pinned Dylan Lamm (BV), 3:37; 132 – Dominic Olson (BV) technical fall over Ryan Berg (SV/E), 15-0; 138 – Jed Schlegel (SV/E) dec. Jon Harnisch (BV), 6-1; 145 – Zac Newton (SV/E) pinned Alex Lovett (BV), 3:40; 152 – Josh Cormican (BV) majored Jaron Turner (SV/E), 10-0; 160 – Wyatt Hansen (BV) dec. Kevin Fesenmaier (SV/E), 4-1; 170 – Trent Miller (SV/E) pinned Bryor Hellmann (BV), 4:43; 182 – Butch Rabitoy (SV/E) dec. Isaac Wold (BV), 7-5; 195 – Will Kraft (BV) pinned Ethan Hofacker (SV/E), 4:14; 220 – Jake Lake (BV) dec. Mike Roesler (SV/E), 7-1; 285 – Brandon Windsor (BV) pinned DJ Wheeler (SV/E), 3:53.