ST. CROIX FALLS — Featuring 18 teams and nearly 60 state-ranked wrestlers from Minnesota and Wisconsin, the annual St. Croix Falls Invitational is quickly becoming a mini Northern Badger.
And that is just fine with Boyceville.
Many of Boyceville’s wrestlers performed well at the invitational held this past Saturday, January 24 which served as a high-caliber tune-up for the upcoming state tournament series which gets underway Feb. 14 with regional action.
Boyceville had ten wrestlers place in this year’s St. Croix Falls tournament led by sophomore James Palmer, who finished second at 120 pounds. Three other Bulldogs finished in third place – senior Austin Wolfe (113) and freshmen Cody Frederick (138) and Garrett Joles (170) – to help Boyceville to a third place finish with 135 points; one point ahead of Princeton, MN.
In addition, the Bulldogs had a trio of fourth place finishers as well as one each in sixth, seventh and eight place.
Division 1 power Wisconsin Rapids, fourth in the latest big school poll, won the tournament team title with 236 points. Fifth ranked Hudson, out of the Big Rivers Conference, took second with 195 points. Division 2’s fifth-ranked squad, Amery, placed fifth at 121.5 points.
Boyceville was the only Dunn-St. Croix school to participate in the invitational.
Palmer, who finished the day at 3-1 along with Wolfe, Frederick, and Joles, made the finals with a pair of solid wins following an opening round bye.
The sophomore, currently ranked fifth in the most recent D3, 120-pound weight class poll, scored a 16-0 technical fall over Spencer’s Caden Schillinger in the quarterfinals. Palmer then gritted out a well earned 4-2 semifinal win against Austin Connor of Amery to punch his championship match ticket.
Palmer’s title match opponent was Wisconsin Rapids’ Patrick Spray, ranked second in D1. Palmer held his own but lost on a 7-2 decision to finish with the silver.
Austin Wolfe, Cody Frederick, and Garrett Joles each rebounded from semifinals losses to secure bronze medals in their final match of the tournament.
Senior Austin Wolfe overcame a heartbreaking one-point (10-9) semifinal loss to Hudson’s Jacob Anderson at 113 pounds and was able to secure third with a 8-6 win against Cole Britton of Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg.
Cody Frederick opened his day with flare. The 138-pound freshman scored a pair of second-period pins in his first two matches before falling by a point, 6-5, to Princeton’s Tim Bialka in the semifinals. Frederick rebounded in the third place match and recorded his third fall of the day, a 1:14 fall of Luke Clark of St. Croix Falls.
170 pounder Garrett Joles had the Bulldogs’ quickest pin of the tournament. He took down Northwestern’s Jacob Carlson just 22 seconds into their quarterfinal’s match to edge out teammate Jordan Morse, who had a 26 second pin in the opening round.
Joles, who started the day with a bye, lost in the semifinals, 4-1, to Jake Pramann of Princeton but was able to cap his tournament with a 6-0 shut out win over Tony Britton from Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg to take third place.
Boyceville also had three other wrestlers that lost in their third-place matches.
Dyllon Johnson (106), Brock Swenson (126), and Justin Malean (145) each went 2-2 and finished fourth in the tournament.
Senior Logan McAbee-Thomas and junior Jordan Morse both ended the day with 3-2 marks. McAbee-Thomas finished sixth at 182 pounds while Morse was seventh at 160 pounds.
Boyceville’s final place winner, Jake Lake, copped eighth place at 220 pounds after finishing with a 2-3 record at St. Croix Falls.
Sam Retz (132), Alec Schaffer (152), Noah Novotney (195), and Jake Erickson (285) did not place. Schaffer and Novotney went 1-2; Retz and Erickson finished 0-2.