ST. CROIX FALLS — Boyceville and Glenwood City have both been battling the numbers game on the wrestling mat this season as neither has been able to fill a full 14-grappler roster.
But the squads once again proved the old adage of quality over quantity this past Saturday, January 21, as both achieved top ten finishes at the 21-team St. Croix Falls Wrestling Classic.
Boyceville, sporting just nine varsity competitors, and Glenwood City with ten, each had a half dozen wrestlers place in the very competitive individual tournament.
The Bulldogs, led by top finishes from Brock Schlough and Garrett Joles, placed fourth overall in the team standings with 118.5 points.
Jacob Nadeau captured his second title in three weeks and Carson Strong grabbed a second to help the Hilltoppers finish in eight place with 96 points. Glenwood City senior Marcus Ullom also celebrated a milestone in St. Croix Falls as he earned his 100th career win.
A pair of large school powers – one from Wisconsin and the other across the St. Croix River in Minnesota – took the top two spots in the team standings. Hudson won the overall title with a score of 175.5 while Totino Grace came in second with 143. Host St. Croix Falls was third with 131.5, followed by the Bulldogs at 118.5, Princeton, MN with 107, Spencer at 105.5, Northwestern at 98 points, the Hilltoppers with 96, Cumberland had 84 points and Cornell/Gilman/Lake Holcombe rounded out the top ten with a score of 79.5.
Despite having a pair of champions, Bulldogs head coach Jamie Olson noted it wasn’t his squad’s best effort of the season.
“We didn’t wrestle our best (last) Saturday,” said Olson. “But I am okay with that.”
“We need to go back to some basics and learn from our mistakes,” stated Olson, who added that the team was without some starters due to sickness and injuries.
In all, the Bulldogs had five empty weight slots at St. Croix Falls – 113, 126, 132, 138 and 220 pound.
Still the Bulldogs had six grapplers finish sixth or better.
Top-ranked Brock Schlough and Garrett Joles copped championships at the Falls Classic.
Schlough had a pair of pins and a technical fall en route to the title at 160 pounds while Joles scored pins in his first three matches before finishing with a 12-5 win over Spencer’s Hunter Luepke in the 195-pound championship.
James Palmer, ranked number one in the latest D3, 182-pound state poll, breezed through his first three opponents with pins. But in the finals, the Boyceville senior was paired against Jared Florell of Totino Grace, who is ranked second in Class AAA. Florell saddled Palmer with his first loss in 30 match this season after winning the 182-pound crown on a 10-3 decision.
Nick Goodell nearly become Boyceville’s fourth finalist of the day but lost a tough semifinals match at 120 pounds. He finished third after his opponent had to default due to injury.
Justin Malean finished fourth at 170 and Noah Novotney placed sixth in a loaded heavyweight bracket.
Boyceville also had five wrestlers competed in the junior varsity tournament. Tanner Anderson took second at 145, Austin Benson was fourth at 138 and Liz Bealer (126) and Dylan McNew (160) earned fifth-place finishes
“Overall, the kids fought hard in this tournament,” said Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong.
But he added that his wrestlers can never be satisfied with their performances as an individual or team.
“Every day is an opportunity to improve and we have a long way to go. This time of year it really comes down to how badly you want to win close matches.”
And several of Glenwood grapplers show that burning desire to win and improve.
Topping that list is juniors Jacob Nadeau and Carson Strong.
The pair once again led the Toppers tournament charge.
Nadeau improved to 22-5 on the season after adding his second 120-pound tournament title in three weeks. Nadeau went 4-0 on the day with a pin, a technical fall, a medical forfeit (in the semifinals) and a 12-3 major decision over Landyn Johnson of Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg/Siren in the championship.
“Jake was very solid on top, not only controlling his position, but scoring points,” said Coach Strong.
Carson Strong had tougher battle as he looked to win his third consecutive title at 132 pounds. Strong had an opening-round bye and then scored a pin. He advanced to the finals with a tight 2-1 win over SCF’s Josey Wilson only to fall 11-1 to Calen Kirkpatrick of Northwestern in the title match.
“Carson wrestled really well early in the tournament but he is struggling on the bottom position right now,” noted the elder Strong.
Austin Curvello went 3-1 to take third at 113 pounds.
Marcus Ullom and Spencer Smith took sixth at 138 and 182 respectively. Ullom scored a fall in the second round of consolation to give him his 100th career win.
Brad Kessler was seventh at 126 and John Pagnotta took eighth at 152.
JV wrestlers Dan Taylor (113) and Carlos Perez (170) both took second.
After having its home dual against Cadott canceled last Thursday, the Toppers will host Mondovi this Thursday, be at a quad in Osceola Friday and finish the regular and conference seasons at Durand next Tuesday, January 31.