OSCEOLA — The third tournament was the charm.
In its previous two weekend tournaments, the sixth-ranked Boyceville wrestling team, had come up short in its quest for a championship trophy – finishing third in the Ellsworth Tournament December 7 and second, by a one-point, tie-breaking criteria, the following Saturday in the prestigious Wisconsin Dells Duals.
Boyceville, behind several dominating performances, rectified that matter in their third consecutive Saturday tournament as it captured the Osceola Duals Invitational with an unblemished 5-0 record on Saturday, December 21.
“Our goal going into the tournament was to win it,” said Jamie Olson, Boyceville’s head coach. “We have been third this year and second in the last two tournaments and just got nipped in the Dells Duals by a criteria which was disappointing so the kids were really fired up about winning this (Osceola) tournament.”
“They went out and wrestled, from the first match all the way through, with a lot of intensity,” Olson added. “They looked sharp.”
“I was very impressed by all the kids, it was a team effort.”
The Bulldogs had six wrestlers finish the tournament undefeated. Senior Bryor Hellmann (160 pounds), juniors Logan McAbee-Thomas (170 pounds), Tyler Stroo (126 pounds), and Austin Wolfe (106 pounds), and freshmen Micah Johnson (138 pounds) and James Palmer (113 pounds) all finished with perfect 5-0 marks in their respective weights classes. Collectively, Boyceville’s undefeated wrestlers registered 23 falls and a whopping 177 teams points out of a possible 180.
In addition, a trio of Boyceville grapplers ended the tournament with just one loss. Wyatt Hansen, Sr. (145 pounds), Alex Lovett, Jr. (182 pounds), and Brock Swenson, So. (120 pounds) each posted 4-1 records in Osceola.
In front a large contingent of Boyceville supporters, the Bulldogs, now 9-1 in duals this season, enjoyed their day as they dominated the competition.
“We had a huge fan support there,” noted Olson. “There was a big crowd behind us and it was really a fun day for Boyceville wrestling”
The Osceola Duals features eight teams that are broken into a pair of 4-team pools. The top two teams in each pool then advanced to the championship bracket with semifinals featuring the number one seed of one pool versus the second-place team from the other pool with the winners meeting in the championship
Boyceville breezed through pool play. The Bulldogs won 13 of 14 matches to open the tournament with a 78-3 thrashing of Barron. They followed that by chewing apart Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg 64-12. In its final dual of the pool competition, Boyceville faced hosted Osceola and emerged an easy 58-21 winners.
In the semifinals, Boyceville pelted the Cumberland Beavers 56-21 to earn a spot in the championship match. There the Bulldogs faced Division 1 and Big Rivers member River Falls. Boyceville won the first four matches for a 24-0 lead and grew the advantage to 42-12 and then held on for a 42-36 win and team title as the Wild Cats had a flurry of four straight pins to close out the match.
“River Falls wrestled us tough in the championship but we won some big matches in there,” Olson stated.
Boyceville received pins from Austin Wolfe, James Palmer, who has yet to surrender a point in any of his matches this season, Micah Johnson, Bryor Hellmann, and Logan McAbee-Thomas in the River Falls dual and received a pair of forfeits.
“Overall, it was a great day for us,” said Olson.
The Bulldogs accomplished all this minus two of their front-line wrestlers. 220-pound sophomore Jake Lake and senior Sawyer Swenson (120 pounds) are currently sidelined until mid- to late-January with injuries. Sawyer Swenson suffered a broken scapula and Lake dislocated his elbow. Both injuries occurred during wrestling competitions.
Boyceville, however, had plenty of fire power to handle the competition in Osceola.
The Bulldogs opened the tournament with a resounding 78 to 3 victory over the Golden Bears of Barron. It was Boyceville that had the golden touch, however, as it won 13 matches – all by pins.
“We lost a one-point match at 195,” said Olson of the Barron dual. “Otherwise we dominated them”.
That dominating debut launched the Bulldogs into yet another big win in round two against Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg.
L/F/G opened with a pin at 195 pounds but its was all Boyceville after that. Jake Erickson (220), Brandon Windsor (285), James Palmer (113), Tyler Stroo (126), Micah Johnson (138), Wyatt Hansen (145), and Alex Lovett (182) each had pin falls. In addition, Bryor Hellman scored a 9-0 major decision at 160 pounds and both Logan McAbee-Thomas (170) and Brock Swenson (120) won on injury defaults.
Osceola and Boyceville, both unbeaten on the day, met in the final round of pool play with the number one seed for the championship bracket on the line.
Osceola jumped to a 12-0 advantage with first-period pins at 220 and 285 pounds.
Boyceville would get the equalizers in the next two matches as Austin Wolfe scored his own first-period fall at 106 pounds and James Palmer received a forfeit at 112.
Brock Swenson suffered his lone loss of the tournament as he was nipped 4-2 by the Chieftains’ Mitch Hustad at 120 pounds.
That would be Osceola’s last lead.
Boyceville won eight of the final nine matches to cap 58-21 win and the top spot in pool play.
By virtue of its 3-0 mark, Boyceville faced off against Cumberland in the semifinals. The Beavers had finished as the runners-up in the other pool.
Boyceville continued its dominance over Cumberland with a convincing 56-21 win.
After dropping the first match once again, the Bulldogs came on strong as they scored six pins, a technical fall and received a pair of forfeits to punch their ticket to the championship.
The Bulldogs relied on its domination of the lower weights to build an insurmountable lead over the Wild Cats.
Austin Wolfe opened the championship dual with a pin at 106 pounds. James Palmer, Micah Johnson, Bryor Hellmann, and Logan McAbee-Thomas would follow suit with falls. Boyceville also received forfeits at 120 and 126 for a 42-12 lead with four matches left, assuring the Bulldogs of victory even the Wild Cats closed out the match with pins.
That is just what River Falls did, as it scored falls at 182, 195, 220, and 285 pounds to make the final tally much closer at 42-36.
Boyceville wrestled in the annual Northern Badger Classic December 27 and 28 at River Falls High School. Because this issue of the Tribune Press Reporter was printed Friday morning, December 27 due to the New Year’s holiday, results from the tournament will appear in the January 8 issue.
Boyceville returns to action on January 11 at the Hudson Invite.