BOYCEVILLE — As a general rule, the annual wrestling dual between rivals Boyceville and Glenwood City is very competitive with the outcome often determined in the final matches.
When the squads renewed that rivalry in Boyceville last Thursday, January 29 it proved to be the exception.
The Bulldogs, like their previous conference dual against Mondovi a week earlier, won 13 of the 14 matches to blitz the visiting Hilltoppers, 73 to 3, in front of a large Parents’ Night crowd at the Boyceville Gymnatorium.
Glenwood City’s grapplers wrestled hard but were continually overwhelmed by their Boyceville counterparts throughout the dual. The Bulldogs won seven matches by pins, secured another four wins with forfeits and had a technical fall among its baker’s dozen victories.
“The kids wrestled tough tonight,” said Jamie Olson, Boyceville’s head coach. “I was really happy and I know Glenwood is down a little bit but they have some tough kids.”
“Our kids were hungry for this match even though they knew that going in we should beat them handily and we did and we should have,” Olson added. “(Glenwood) has come in and wrestled us strong in the past and they wrestled tough tonight. They were in some battles that could have went either way.”
For Glenwood City and their coach, it is never easy losing to your rival no matter the circumstances.
“I am disappointed obviously with the loss because we don’t like losing to Boyceville in anything,” said Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong.
“But I thought our kids came out and wrestled as hard as they could. All the kids in our lower weights are ten pounds lighter than the weight class they were wrestling in if not more. They competed and they worked and they did not give up,” stated Strong
Glenwood City’s lone victory came at 220 pounds. After a scoreless opening period, the Hilltoppers’ Hogan Chouinard built a 3-0 lead in the second period against Bulldog Jake Lake and then held on and escaped with a tight 3-2 decision.
The Bulldogs, who have had to deal with injuries to several of their starters over the past two months, received a boost when defending state champion Micah Johnson returned to the line-up last Thursday. It was Johnson’s first action in nearly two months after suffering a back injury in early December. Johnson held just a slim 2-1 lead over promising Glenwood City sophomore Jake O’Meara heading into the third period of the pair’s 152-pound match. But Johnson came through with the pin at 4:45.
“Good to have Micah back on the mat,” Olson said. “It has been eight weeks or so since he has been out there. O’Meara is a tough kid so that was a good match for him to come back against.”
“Hard when your back is bad,” said Olson of Johnson’s injury. “It still hurts him a bit.”
The dual opened at 138 pounds with a great battle between Glenwood City’s Marcus Ullom and former Hilltopper now Bulldog freshman Cody Frederick.
Frederick scored first on a takedown just a minute in to the match. Ullom took a point back with an early second-period escape only to have Frederick score a second takedown for a 4-1 lead late in the middle frame.
Frederick took the down position for the third and final period and was unable to work free as Ullom tried again and again to score some back points to no avail. Although Frederick was twice whistled for stalling which awarded a penalty point to Ullom, he was able to hold on for the 4-2 win and give Boyceville a lead (3-0) it would never surrender.
The Bulldogs’ advantage would quickly grow with pins in the next three matches.
Justin Malean, leading 4-0 in the third period, used a Granby roll for a reversal and the eventual pin of the Toppers Cody Bonte at 145 pounds. The fall came at 4:46.
Micah Johnson would add another six to the Boyceville tally with a third-period pin of GC’s Jake O’Meara. O’Meara wrestled hard and trailed by just a point leading up to the pin.
“Not disappointed at all, we wanted the match up with Micah and O’Meara,” noted Strong. “I think it just makes O’Meara better. You can’t be afraid of anybody.”
You have to go out and compete and I thought that he did,” added Strong. “He was in a position there, 2-1, going into the third but you could tell the strength difference was there and O’Meara weighed in at 144 pounds. Obviously, Micah Johnson is a state champion for a reason.”
Boyceville’s third pin in as many matches came at 160 pounds.
Jordan Morse built a 4-0 lead against Glenwood City sophomore Jake Logghe on takedowns in the first and second periods. Looking to get on the scoreboard, Logghe chose the down position in the third and instead ended on his back as Morse registered the pin with just 31 ticks left in the match.
Boyceville’s 21-0 advantage after just four bouts would quickly balloon to 39-0 after it received three straight forfeits from Glenwood City.
Garrett Joles (170), Logan McAbee-Thomas (182) and Noah Novotney (195) received the forfeits.
The Hilltoppers would finally erase their scoreboard goose egg in the next match.
The Toppers’ Hogan Chouinard and the Bulldogs’ Jake Lake would tangle at 220 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Chouinard was finally able to score a point when he escaped Lake’s grasp about 40 seconds into the second period. Less than 30 seconds later, Chouinard scored the takedown for a 3-0 advantage.
But Chouinard had to hold on in the final frame to eke out a 3-2 win. Lake kept on the attack but could not find an opening as Chouinard continually rebuffed his takedown attempts which drew a series of stall calls that gave Lake both his points.
“I think Hogan wrestled a good second period, he gets up 3-0,” said his coach, Shane Strong. “You have to try and stretch that lead you can’t sit on it. I think he knows that. Hogan has won some nice matches for us this year and is having a good season. But if you want to go anywhere, you have to stretch the gap. If you have a three-point lead, make it five, make it seven. He did not do that but I think he knows.”
“Jake Lake lost a tight match against Chouinard who is a good kid,” stated Olson. “I was happy how he wrestled but we just did not capitalize.”
That would be the Toppers’ only win and points of the dual as the Bulldogs finished the dual with six straight wins.
Brandon Windsor gave Boyceville a 45-3 push with his 1:06 pin of the Toppers’ Anthony Melstrom at 285 pounds.
Boyceville freshman Dyllon Johnson dominated his 106-pound match against GC’s Austin Curvello. Johnson racked up the points for a 16-1 technical fall win.
Austin Wolfe followed at 113 pounds and needed just 48 seconds to stick Glenwood City’s Jacob Nadeau to up the Bulldogs lead to 56-3.
The Toppers’ Bradley Kessler wrestled a solid match at 120 pounds but fell to the Bulldogs’ Brock Swenson by a count of 7-4. Swenson scored on a pair of takedowns, a reversal and an escape while Kessler finished with a pair of reversals.
The Bulldogs final fall of the dual was registered by Jason Swanepoel at 126 pounds. Entering the second period with a 3-0 lead, Swanepoel, who had started the period in the down position, reversed to the top and stuck the Toppers’ Trevor Larson at 2:44.
James Palmer received a forfeit at 132 pounds to cap the evening’s dual and a 73-3 Boyceville victory.
The win bumped the seventh-ranked Bulldogs’ Dunn-St. Croix dual record to 2-1 and 14-6 overall.
Boyceville concluded their conference and regular season dual finale last evening (Tuesday, Feb. 3) at St. Croix Central. The Panthers were also 2-1 in conference action .
“We have been peaking here at the right time,” said Olson. “Hope to get (Tyler) Stroo and (Alex) Lovett back in the lineup. This was a fun night for the parents to come out an watch their kids in a packed house like usually with Glenwood.”
Glenwood City, meanwhile, finished winless (0-4) in the Dunn-St. Croix with the loss and 7-12 overall after a 45-23 win over Cameron on Tuesday, January 28.
Both teams will be participating in the annual Big Rivers/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Challenge this Saturday, February 7 at River Falls High School. Wrestling will begin at 10 a.m.