By Kelsie Hoitomt
GLENWOOD CITY – The Glenwood City Hilltoppers’ and the Boyceville Bulldogs’ wrestling teams squared off for their annual mat battle last Tuesday, February 4 in Glenwood City.
The Bulldogs were able to hold off a game Toppers’ team and came away with the 45-36 dual victory.
The Bulldogs, who closed out the regualr season two days later with a 59-18 home dual win over St. Croix Central, are one of the top teams in the Dunn-St. Croix Conference and state this season along with fellow conference member Spring Valley/Elmwood.
However, with that said, the Toppers stepped onto the mat focused and there was definite determination in their eyes.
Glenwood City started off the dual with five straight match wins, all from pins, that gave it a 30-0 lead going into the 106-pound weight class.
The first match of the night was Hunter Chouinard against Logan McAbee-Thomas at 170 pounds.
McAbee-Thomas had a takedown and a near-fall early in the first period and then again in the second for a 10-2 score going into the third after Chouinard got a reversal.
The energy on the Toppers’ bench went off the charts after Chouinard maneuvered right and stuck McAbee-Thomas for a fall late in the second period.
The momentum continued into the next match as Isaac Tuttle faced Alex Lovett at 182. The score was 2-0 in favor of Tuttle before he put a quick move in and stuck Lovett 56 seconds into the match.
Jeff Kopacz wrestled his 195 pound match against Clayton Windsor. Kopacz started off with a takedown and a near-fall for 5-0 lead in the first.
Kopacz then got an escape to kick off the second period and then got four more back points for a 10-1 lead. He was caught locking his hands together, which gave Windsor a penalty point.
In the third period, Kopacz got his fourth takedown and then he was able to roll Windsor on his back and hold him chest to chest long enough to get the pin with 18 seconds left in the match.
The 220-pound match pitted Topper Donovan Fornal against Bulldog Jake Erickson.
Fornal started off with an early takedown and then proceeded to work the cradle in on Erickson. Erickson fell into the move just right, which allowed Fornal to get the pin a minute into the opening period.
The Toppers ended their five-match reign with Brennan Kessler taking down fellow 285 pounder, Jake Lake.
It was a stand-up battle with both wrestlers shoving each other around the mat. That ended after Kessler sucked in Lake for the takedown.
Kessler was able to lift Lake’s head off the mat and squeeze, which turned into a pin with eight seconds left in the first period.
The score was now 30-0 with the Toppers appearing to have a commanding lead, but that would quickly change at the start of the lighter weights.
The Bulldogs scored their first points when state-ranked Austin Wolfe won his match by a forfeit at 106 pounds. The same happened for another of Boyceville ranked wrestlers , James Palmer, at 113.
At 120 pounds, Sawyer Swenson who had been out for over a month with an injury, came back with intensity. He was quick on his feet and quick with the takedown and in one swift move he had Joe Obermueller on his back and pinned in 46 seconds.
With the score at 30-18, the Toppers scored their final points of the dual after Marcus Ullom went two full periods with Tyler Stroo before pinning him at the start of the third.
Then at 132 pounds, James Lindo grappled GC’s Damian Hoitomt. Lindo got a takedown and a near-fall in the first period for a 5-0 lead. Lindo then added a reversal and a two-point near-fall to start the second before pinning Hoitomt at the 3:26 mark.
The Bulldogs chalked up another pin when Micah Johnson got a quick takedown and two, three-point near-falls over Austin Wannemacher before he scored the fall a minute and 37 seconds into the 138-pound match.
Wyatt Hansen got the Bulldogs final pin of the dual when he faced off against Tanner Lanning and pinned him in the first period, which tied the score at 36-36.
The pressure was on for the Bulldogs’ Jon Harnisch and GC’s Jake Carlson. With the score deadlocked, the pair went head-to-head at 152 pounds.
It was the hardest fought battle of the night and the only match that ended with a decision. Carlson started with a takedown, but Harnisch got a reversal and then a penalty point. Carlson himself got a reversal and Harnisch finished with an escape to end the first period 4-4.
Harnisch was down to start the second. He moved his way through Carlson’s grip and got the reversal and then a near-fall to take a lead of 9-4.
Carlson scored a two-point near-fall, but Harnisch added another reversal to win the match by a decision of 11-6.
“For us to win the dual, we had to take some chances in our strategy and it almost paid off,” said Glenwood City coach Shane Strong. “Boyceville has a great team. It was crucial for us to get bonus points anywhere we could with three open spots in our line up.”
The score was 39-36 with the Bulldogs leading by three. The Toppers had to forfeit their last weight class at 160, which resulted in the final score of 45-36.
“I was very proud of our team from top to bottom. They were focused and ready to compete regardless of record or what was expected of the outcome,” shared Strong.
“We didn’t start out the way we would have liked, but the boys found a way to battle back and get a nice win,” said Boyceville coach Jamie Olson. “We have battled injuries and sickness, hopefully we can get healed up by next week and prepare for the all important regional tournament.”
Boyceville 45, Glenwood City 36
170-Hunter Chouinard (GC) pinned Logan McAbee-Thomas (BV), 3:53; 182-Isaac Tuttle (GC) pinned Alex Lovett (BV), 0:56; 195-Jeff Kopacz (GC) pinned Clayton Windsor (BV), 5:42; 220-Donovan Fornal (GC) pinned Jake Erickson (BV), 1:03; 285-Brennan Kessler (GC) pinned Jake Lake (BV), 1:53; 106-Austin Wolfe (BV) received a forfeit; 113-James Palmer (BV) received a forfeit; 120-Sawyer Swenson (BV) pinned Joe Obermueller (GC), 0:47; 126-Marcus Ullom (GC) pinned Tyler Stroo (BV), 4:20; 132-James Lindo (BV) pinned Damian Hoitomt (GC), 3:26; 138-Micah Johnson (BV) pinned Austin Wannemacher (GC), 1:37; 145-Wyatt Hansen (BV) pinned Tanner Lanning (GC), 0:27; 152-Jon Harnisch (BV) dec. Jake Carlson (GC), 11-6; 160-Bryor Hellmann (BV) received a forfeit.
Bulldogs take down Panthers
It did not take much time for the fifth-ranked Bulldogs to tame the Panthers when St. Croix Central visited the Dog House Thursday evening, February 6 in a make-up of the January 23 wrestling match that had been postponed due to sub zero temperatures.
Boyceville won the first seven matches and scored pins or forfeits in all ten of its wins – seven by falls – for a convincing 59-18 victory over St. Croix Central in the conference and regular season finale for both squads.
Boyceville needed less than an hour to secure its third and final Dunn-St. Croix conference dual win of the season to finish second behind three-time champion Spring Valley/Elmwood with whom the Bulldogs shared the title a year ago. The Bulldogs capped the regular season in dominating fashion and head into the regional tournament with a 15-2 overall mark.
Several of Boyceville’s highly-ranked wrestlers netted forfeits or earned pins in the lopsided win over the Panthers.
Boyceville received a trio of forfeits to open the dual. Jake Lake (285), Austin Wolfe (106), and James Palmer (113) each picked up six team points with forfeits at their respective weights.
The next four Boyceville wrestlers added to the team’s tally as they each scored pins. Sawyer Swenson (120), Tyler Stroo (126), James Lindo (132), and Micah Johnson (138) scored first- or second-period pins to push the Boyceville advantage to 42-0 at the dual’s halfway mark.
The Panthers finally lit their side of the scoreboard with a 5-4 decision by Ryan Gulich over the Bulldogs’ Wyatt Hansen at 145 pounds. The loss was made a bit more painful by an unsportsmanlike conduct at the end of the match which cost the Bulldogs a team point.
St. Croix Central picked up its second victory in the next match as Trent Smith blanked Bulldog senior Jon Harnisch 5 to nil at 152 pounds.
Bryor Hellmann and Logan McAbee-Thomas would get the Bulldogs back on track with pins at 160 and 170 pounds respectively. Those wins took Boyceville’s advantage to 53-6.
The Bulldogs final match win came in an unlikely manner at 195 pounds. Clayton Windsor was trailing his opponent, Brian Gibb, in the middle period but had been coming on strong when he was bitten on the arm. The referee stopped the match and declared a misconduct default which awarded the win to Windsor and six more points to the Bulldogs for the forfeit.
Central did score pins at 182 and 220 to account for the 59-18 final tally.
Boyceville 59, St. Croix Central 18
285-Jake Lake (BV) received a forfeit; 106-Austin Wolfe (BV) received a forfeit; 113-James Palmer (BV) received a forfeit; 120-Sawyer Swenson (BV) pinned Jake Nyhagen (SCC), 3:40; 126-Tyler Stroo (BV) pinned Drew Malacek (SCC), 1:54; 132-James Lindo (BV) pinned Ryan Pfeifer (SCC), 3:27; 138-Micah Johnson (BV) pinned Connor Burton (SCC), 1:28; 145-Ryan Gulich (SCC) dec. Wyatt Hansen (BV), 5-4; 152-Trent Smith (SCC) dec. Jon Harnisch (BV), 5-0; 160-Bryor Hellmann (BV) pinned Eman Peterson (SCC), 3:52; 170-Logan McAbee-Thomas (BV) pinned Jake Pomroy (SCC), 1:09; 182-Brian Gibb (SCC) pinned Clayton Windsor (BV), 2:42; 195-Alex Lovett (BV) received a misconduct forfeit over Josh Van Beck (SCC); 220-Decker Grass (SCC) pinned Jake Erickson (BV), 1:41.