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RIVER FALLS — In just their second week of wrestling this season, Colfax’s wrestling duo of Sawyer Best and Mitchel Harmon have already had a big impacted on their Bloomer/Colfax team.
The juniors both went 6-0 in their respective mat debuts the week before Christmas including unbeaten performances in a six-squad dual meet tournament in Cameron on December 21.
The pair followed that up by grabbing the Raptors’ top two individual finishes in last weekend’s two-day Northern Badger tournament.
Sawyer Best led Bloomer/Colfax’s five-wrestler contingent at the 34th annual Northern Badger Wrestling Classic held last Friday and Saturday, December 28 and 29 at River Falls High School with a 4-1, runner-up finish in the 132-pound weight bracket.
Mitchel Harmon, meanwhile, grabbed the bronze medal by taking third at 145 pounds with an identical 4-1 record.
Between the pair, Best and Harmon accounted for 67.5 of the Raptors’ 86.5 team points tally which put the Bloomer/Colfax squad in tenth place in the final Division 1 (large schools) standings and 22nd overall at the 42-team tournament which featured some of the state’s best wrestlers, regardless of divisions.
St. Croix Falls captured its second consecutive overall Northern Badger Classic championship as well as the Division 2 title with 262.5 points. Division 3 (small schools) titlist Cadott was a close second in the overall standings with a score of 256 followed, respectively, by the Division 1 champion, runner-up and third-place finishers Oshkosh North (243), Baldwin-Woodville (241) and host River Falls (207.5).
Just one – Bowen Rothbauer – of the Raptors other three Norther Badger participants placed. Rothbauer went 4-3 over the course of his two-day tournament at 152 pounds to take tenth.
Colfax junior Trey Hovde won just one of his three matches at 138 while sophomore Julio Hernandez lost both of his 126-pound bouts. Neither Hovde nor Hernandez placed as they were eliminated after the opening day of competition.
As one of the top-ranked wrestlers in his weight class, Sawyer Best received an opening-round bye in Friday’s action. When he did take to one of the five mats used in the tournament, Best scored a 14-0, second-round shut out over Owen Miesbauer of Chequamegon. That victory propelled Best into the quarterfinals where he pinned Oshkosh West’s Logan Grota at 3:49 to cap his Friday wrestling.
On Saturday, Best stayed hot as he majored Hunter Bruhn of Phillips, 20-7, in the semifinals and earned a ticket to the 132-pound championship match. There, he faced D2’s fifth-ranked Jordan Bonte of Baldwin-Woodville. Bonte prevailed 11-6 to take the match and gold medal while Best settled for the silver and a nice 10-1 record after two weeks of wrestling.
Mitchel Harmon made quick work of his first two matches last Friday as he defeated Amery’s Austin Schleusner on a first-period pin (1:27) and then tech falled Michael Zilinger of Chequamegon by a 15-0 count in just 3:29. Harmon capped his first day of action by beating Landyn Johnson of Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg/Siren 6 to 3 in a quarterfinal’s match that kept the Colfax junior in the 145-pound championship bracket.
Best, unfortunately, lost a 13-5 major decision to Cumberland’s Reid Olson, the top ranked 145-pound, Division 3 wrestler, in Saturday’s semifinals round. But the Colfax junior bounced back in the third-place match where Harmon capped his 2018 Northern Badger tournament with a 3-1 win over Zach Pooler of Northwestern for the bronze.
The Bloomer/Colfax wrestlers will be back in action later this week with a dual at Cumberland this Friday, January 4 followed by an appearance in the Osseo-Fairchild Invite the next day, Saturday, January 5.