BULLDOGS SET TO HOST REGIONAL
RIVER FALLS — Time is of the essence for both the Boyceville and Glenwood City wrestling teams.
Neither the Bulldogs nor the Hilltoppers had their full complement of wrestlers when tournament time kicked off this past Saturday, February 7 with the annual Big Rivers/Dunn St. Croix Conference Wrestling Challenge at River Falls High School.
And with the WIAA tournament wrestling series set to begin this coming Saturday, February 14 with regional competition, both squads will need every wrestler it has ready to go.
Injuries and illnesses have plagued Boyceville throughout this season and last Saturday was no exception.
The Bulldogs were without four starters and had one open weight class in River Falls but still managed to pull off a fourth-place finish in the BRC/DSC Challenge for the second straight year.
The Bulldogs, ranked sixth in the current Wisconsin Wrestling online D3 poll, also finished second among Dunn-St. Croix teams. The third-ranked Spring Valley Cardinals, reigning conference champions, were the top D-SC finisher taking third overall.
The Hilltoppers, however, were not as fortunate.
Glenwood City, who has had to forfeit two or three weight classes most of this season, was without a few other wrestlers at the Challenge.
Several Topper wrestlers had competed in the junior varsity conference tournament the previous evening leaving the team with just seven wrestlers for the main varsity event.
The low numbers coupled with a disappointing overall performance left Glenwood City in last place in the 12-team tournament.
Hudson unseated defending tournament champion Menomonie for the title. The Raiders tallied 240.5 points with the Mustangs taking second after scoring 213 points. Spring Valley/Elmwood finished with 205.5 points followed by Boyceville at 159, Eau Claire North had 137, St. Croix Central 132.5, River Falls 115, Eau Claire Memorial 76.5, Chippewa Falls 67, Mondovi 60, Rice Lake 55, and Glenwood City had 49.
Boyceville will host Glenwood City along with Spring Valley/Elmwood, Cadott, Durand, Mondovi, and Clear Lake next Saturday, February 14 in what may be one of the strongest WIAA Division 3 Regional fields in the state. Three-time D-SC champ Spring Valley/Elmwood is ranked third, Clear Lake (champion of the Lakeland Conference) is fourth, and Boyceville is sixth.
The winning team will earn a berth in the February 17 team sectional in Ladysmith while the top two individuals in each weight class will advance to the individual sectional in Osseo on Feb. 21. Wrestling will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Boyceville High School gymnasium.
Three Bulldog wrestlers made the finals but just one – James Palmer – was able to grapple gold.
Palmer, a sophomore who is ranked fifth in the D3 polls, shut out Eau Claire North senior Tyler Deacon 4-0 to win the 120-pound championship. Deacon is ranked 12th at that weight in Division 1.
Senior Austin Wolfe, who dropped to 106 pounds for the tournament, and 170-pound freshman Garrett Joles fell short in the their respective title matches and finished with silvers.
In all 12 of the 13 Boyceville wrestlers that competed placed in the 2015 BRC/DSC Challenge.
“Overall the tournament went pretty good for us,” noted Boyceville head coach Jamie Olson. “Our goal was top four and we achieved that.”
“We felt that was a realistic goal having four starters out of the line-up.”
In addition to the aforementioned trio, freshman Cody Frederick (132) and senior Logan McAbee-Thomas (182) both placed third while another freshman, Dyllon Johnson, finished fourth after being bumped up to 113 pounds.
After finishing third at 113 pounds in his first BRC/DSC Challenge last year, James Palmer was looking to improve his finish and the color of his medal.
He did just that. After receiving an opening round bye, the Boyceville sophomore used a pin to win his first match of the day, a 3:50 fall over fellow sophomore Noah Olson of River Falls.
Palmer exacted a measure of revenge when he nipped Seth Schlegel of Spring Valley/Elmwood, 2-1, in the semifinals. Schlegel had beaten Palmer earlier this season.
In the championship match, Palmer was in control throughout and used a pair of takedowns to secure the 4-0 win against Tyler Deacon.
“James wrestled really well and defeated Seth Schlegel who beat us earlier this year,” Olson said.
After competing much of the season at 113 pounds, senior Austin Wolfe made the move down to 106 pounds in preparation for the upcoming WIAA tournaments, which begin Saturday with regionals.
Wolfe’s path to the championship match began with a 1:37 pin of Glenwood City freshman Jacob Nadeau. He had received a first-round bye prior to the quarterfinal win over Nadeau.
Like Palmer, Wolfe was able to avenge an earlier loss to a Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestler in the semifinals. After losing a heartbreaking 2-1 match to Andrew Webb last month, Wolfe scored a satisfying 9-4 win to gain the 106-pound final.
Wolfe, ranked second at 113 pounds, squared off against D1 stated ranked freshman Mason Phillips of Eau Claire North. Phillips took the earlier lead and kept it for a 7-3 victory in the finals.
An impressive and physical wrestler, Garrett Joles has earned the respect of his peers in a tough 170-pound weight class that normally features upperclassmen. Joles, ranked eighth in the weight class in Division 3, had a pair of eye-opening wins on his journey to the championship match. He scored a 2:47 pin against Spring Valley/Elmwood junior Ryan Asher in the quarterfinals and then majored another junior conference foe, Trent Smith of St. Croix Central, 10-2 in the semifinals.
Joles gave fourth ranked Dylan Anderson of Hudson a run in the championship match but fell 8-3 to the Raiders’ junior.
Three other Bulldogs competed for bronze.
Cody Frederick and Logan McAbee-Thomas scored third-place finishes while Dyllon Johnson took fourth.
Frederick’s and McAbee-Thomas’ paths to the bronze medal were quite similar. Both received opening round byes which they followed with big wins in the quarterfinals only to each be pinned in semis.
Neither had to wrestle for third place as their respective opponents defaulted due to injuries.
Frederick earned a 10-2 major decision over Riley Weyandt of Chippewa Falls in the 132-pound quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, he ran into eventual champion Cruze Hurlburt of Spring Valley/Elmwood and was pinned just 44 seconds into their semifinals match. Frederick was awarded third on injury default when Mondovi’s Trevor Giedd was not able to wrestle in the third-place match.
Likewise, McAbee-Thomas had his hand raised as the third-place finisher at 182 pounds after Spring Valley/Elmwood’s Quinton Elliott defaulted after being injured in the semifinals. Logan McAbee-Thomas scored a pin against Matthew Williamson of River Falls in the quarterfinals but lost in 1:44 by fall to eventually champion Josh Waddell of Menomonie.
The Bulldogs’ Jordan Morse and Brandon Windsor each copped fifth place.
Morse went 4-1 (which included a pair of byes) to take fifth at 160 pounds beating Menomonie’s Bryan Boettcher 9-1 in the consolation semifinals and Jake Logghe of Glenwood City 5-1 in the fifth-place match.
Windsor also went 4-1 with a pair of byes at heavyweight. Windsor finished the day with a pair of pins including a 3:35 fall against Mike Freund of Spring Valley/Elmwood in the fifth-place match.
Zach Smith took seventh at 152 pounds and eighth place finishes were had by Tyler Krueger (138), Justin Malean (145), and Jake Lake (195). Smith finished 3-2 while Krueger, Malean and Lake were all 2-3.
Freshman Noah Novotney went 1-2 and did not place at 220 pounds.
“We won some big matches, and let a couple get away from us too,” Olson concluded. “It is a very tough tournament and those tough matches will prepare us for a very competitive regional.”
Wolfe, Palmer, Joles, McAbee-Thomas and Windsor all earned first-team, all-conference honors while Frederick, Dyllon Johnson, Malean, and Morse were tabbed for the second team.
Brock Swenson and Jake Erickson were out with illnesses and Micah Johnson (back), Tyler Stroo (knee) and Alex Lovett (shoulder) continued to be sidelined with injuries.
Hard work and effort is not always rewarded with successful results.
Glenwood City wrestlers had been working extremely hard in preparation for the tournament series push but those efforts did not yield the desired results at the BRC/DSC Conference Challenge in River Falls February 7.
That left both the wrestlers and coaches a bit chagrined.
“I was disappointed how we competed Saturday and I think the kids feel the same way,” said Shane Strong, Glenwood City head coach.
“We didn’t wrestle as well as we could and I felt we didn’t go out there to score points. It is so important to get on the attack and create angles for good shots and we just didn’t do that,” added Strong.
Although the seven Glenwood City grapplers that competed, garnered a trio of fourth-place finishes as well as a sixth and a seventh, athletes and coaches alike felt they could have done better.
“I need to do a better job preparing them,” said Strong, assessing the outcome.
“We have been pushing them hard the past couple of weeks in practice. Our plan has worked well for us in the past so that we peak at the right time,” continued Strong. “Sometimes you need to make some adjustments to your plan. What you have done in the past is not always the right way to approach your training. In order for us to compete well at regionals, we will need to be more aggressive.”
Glenwood City’s fourth-place finishes were turned in by sophomores Marcus Ullom and Jake O’Meara and junior Hogan Chouinard.
All three ended the day with 2-2 marks that included first-round byes.
Ullom’s first action at 126 pounds saw him secure a big 14-2 major decision over Hudson junior Zach Thelen in the quarterfinals. But Ullom would drop his final two matches, losing by a fall at 5:19 of his semifinals’ match to Hayden Schlough of Menomonie and then 4-0 to Spring Valley/Elmwood’s Isaiah Eitrem in the third-place match.
Jake O’Meara survived his 152-pound quarterfinal’s match against Hudson’s Erik Bell with a 4-2 win in overtime only to be shut out 5-0 by St. Croix Central’s Kyle Larson in the semifinals. In the battle for third, O’Meara was nipped by two points in an 8-6 loss to Devon Johnson of Spring Valley/Elmwood.
Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestlers proved to be the Achilles’ Heel for many of Glenwood City’s competitors.
After a nice 10-5 win by Hogan Chouinard in one of the 220-pound quarterfinal matches, he was pinned by the Cardinals Ethan Hofacker in 4:40. Hofacker would go on to give Spring Valley/Elmwood one of its two championships in the tournament. Chouinard was also pinned in the third-place match as he fell to River Falls’ junior Austen Hakes in 2:48.
Despite losing both of his contested matches, sophomore Jake Logghe took advantage of three byes to secure a sixth place finish for the Hilltoppers at 160 pounds. Logghe lost 5-2 to Isaac Solberg of Chippewa Falls in the quarterfinals and then lost to Boyceville junior Jordan Morse 5-1 in the fifth-place match. It was Logghe’s second loss in as many weeks to Morse.
Freshman lightweight Jake Nadeau capped a 3-2 performance with a nice 4-2 win for seventh place at 106 pounds. Nadeau blanked Menomonie’s Brent Ziebell 8-0 to open the tournament. He was then pinned by runner-up Austin Wolfe of Boyceville just 1:37 into their quarterfinals’ match. Nadeau then broke open a scoreless match in overtime and defeated Kyle Bowe of Chippewa Falls 7-0 in the second round of consolation. Hudson’s Drew Klabon defeated Nadeau 6-2 in the consolation semifinals but the Toppers’ 106-pounder ended the day with a 2-point win over Michael Rebozo of River Falls for seventh.
The Hilltoppers’ other two competitors, Cody Bonte (138) and Spencer Peterson (145) did not place.
Hogan Chouinard was the only Hilltopper to earn all-conference honors. He finished on the second team at 220 pounds.