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RIVER FALLS — A pair of Glenwood City wrestlers copped medals in the 2018 edition of the Northern Badger tournament.
Senior Bryce Fayerweather placed seventh at 220 pounds and sophomore Andy Grant finished 11th at 113 pounds at the 34th annual Northern Badger Wrestling Classic held last Friday and Saturday, December 28 and 29, at River Falls High School.
It was the first Northern Badger medal and visit to the awards podium for both Fayerweather and Grant who led Glenwood City’s six-wrestler contingent in this year’s event.
Fayerweather and Grant both received praise for their wrestling and finishes from Hilltoppers’ head coach Shane Strong.
“Bryce wrestled well both days,” stated Strong.
“Andy wrestled in one of the toughest brackets in the tournament at 113,’ added Strong. “He had some ups and downs over the two-day tourney, but competed with solid effort.”
With only six wrestlers competing for the Hilltoppers, two of which placed, Glenwood City accumulated just 38 points to finish in 36th place at the 42-team tournament.
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).
Fayerweather had a strong showing in his final Northern Badger competition going 4-2 over the course of the two-day tournament.
The senior, who was ranked seventh in Division 3’s 220-pound weight class in the most recent Wisconsin Wrestling Online poll, started quickly in last Friday’s opening day of wrestling as he scored consecutive pins.
It took Fayerweather just 33 seconds to stick his freshman counterpart from Boyceville, Keegan Plemon, in the tournaments opening round. In his next match, the senior then dispatched Unity’s Carter Johnson by a fall in 2:24.
It appeared that Fayerweather was going to cap his first-day competition with a third straight win as he led in the third period of his quarterfinal’s match but was pinned by Robert Reese of Amery at the 4:33 mark.
“He (Bryce) was in the lead in the third period of his quarterfinal match and made one little mistake that cost him the match,” stated Strong. “To his credit, he responded well, bouncing back to win some good matches. I was proud of his composure throughout the day.”
As his head coach noted, Fayerweather was able to put aside the disappointing quarterfinal loss and come back with a pair of wins. He beat Kyle Zehm of St. Croix Falls on a 1:50 pin and then majored Garret Steffen of Regis/Altoona 11-0 in the seventh-place match.
Andy Grant, who has been receiving honorable mention in the Division 3 120-pound state rankings, slid down to 113 pounds for the Northern Badger and finished 4-3 and in 11th place.
After he received an opening round bye in Friday’s competition, Grant suffered a set back when he was pinned in the second period by Baldwin-Woodville’s Walker Langer. It appeared that Grant had twice had Langer pinned during the first period but was not awarded the call. But in the second, he made a mistake and was put to his back by the B-W wrestler.
Undaunted, Grant came back to win his next two matches – a 1:21 pin of Boyceville freshman Brice Evenson and a 6-0 shut out of Tristan Neisinger of Spring Valley/Elmwood – to qualify for the medal rounds in day two.
In Saturday’s final day of wrestling, Grant dropped a pair of decisions, losing by a single point to Clear Lake’s Shane Larson and 12-7 to Shell Lake’s Tyler Schunck, to get off to a shaky start. But the sophomore rebounded with a 10-2 major decision over Rice Lake’s Jacob Sirek in the 11th-place match.
“Andy knows what areas he needs to work on to win the close matches,” said Coach Strong. “I was happy with the way he finished his last match. He was more aggressive and looked to score more points.”
Junior Tucker Lagerstrom went 2-2 in the tournament and just missed qualifying for day-two competition and an opportunity for a medal at 160 pounds.
“Tucker came up short by one match to wrestle for a medal. I thought he wrestled tough in his losses,” said Strong.
Rounding out the Hilltoppers squad were freshman Thomas Moede, junior Andrew Berends and senior Dakota Dean-Immerman.
In their first Northern Badger tourney, Moede (120) and Berends (285) went 1-2 while Dean-Immerman lost both of his matches at 182 pounds.
“Right now we are making too many mistakes that put us in positions to give up points,” stated Strong. “We need to clean up our defense and we need to increase our attack rate.”
Glenwood City’s grapplers will have an opportunity to do just that when it hosts Spring Valley/Elmwood this Thursday, January 3 to open the Dunn-St. Croix dual season. The Hilltoppers will then be in Cadott for an invitational on Saturday, January 5 before returning home to host Cameron in a non-conference dual next Tuesday, January 8.