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LADYSMITH — The 250th dual meet victory of Jamie Olson’s coaching career was a memorable one.
Boyceville’s venerable wrestling coach, now in his 21st year at the helm, had to savor this one.
After a nine-year absence from the team wrestling sectional, the Bulldogs were back.
But just being there was not enough for this new bred of Bulldogs, many of whom weren’t yet in school the last time Boyceville made an appearance in this event.
But like their predecessors, the 2018-19 Boyceville squad was not simply here to compete but to win.
Boyceville delivered a dominating debut performance in its semifinal dual against an over-matched bunch of Norsemen from Whitehall at the 2019 WIAA Division 3 Ladysmith Team Sectional last Wednesday evening, February 13.
Originally scheduled for the previous night, the sectional meet along with almost all others was postponed a day due to a winter snow storm that socked the region and much of the state.
But the delay didn’t seem to affect Boyceville.
The Bulldogs scored eight pins, a pair of technical falls, a major decision and two regular decisions including one in overtime to win 13 of the 14 matches in a 68-6 whipping of Whitehall to earn a spot in the championship match opposite defending sectional titlist St. Croix Falls, who rolled the Phillips Loggers 53-21 in the other semifinal match.
“(Our) Kids wrestled with a lot of confidence and dominated a good team in Whitehall,” said Olson of his team’s landmark win. “It was a nice warm up for the championship match. It got the jitters out for some of the kids and built some momentum going in against St. Croix Falls.”
The Saints knew this was not the same Bulldogs’ team that they had ravaged 51-18 in the Cumberland duals the opening week of wrestling season.
The youth that had restocked and re-energized Boyceville’s line up had matured quickly over the past few months and were ready to take it to Falls.
But Coach Olson knew that winning the flip would be a key component in his team’s upset bid.
It was one element, however, that did not favor the Bulldogs.
Instead, the Saints were anointed with the flip which didn’t allow the Bulldogs to make the necessary adjustments it needed to win.
“We knew winning the flip was critical in being able to move Brock up,” said Olson. “That didn’t happen and that left us with a nine to 12-point difference to make up. We knew at that time we would have to wrestle a perfect match to beat them. We wrestled tough, but didn’t have enough to overcome losing the flip.”
Without being able to shift wrestlers to different weights especially its three-time defending state champion Brock Schlough, Boyceville was forced to stay with its normal lineup.
After splitting the first four matchs of the championship, the Bulldogs had just a 10-9 lead even after the Saints forfeited to Schlough at 152 pounds.
That opened the scoring flood gates for St. Croix Falls.
The Saints were blessed with five pins over the next six matches which propelled them to a second straight sectional team title with a 42-31 win over the Bulldogs and a berth in the state team championships on March 2.
“We had our chances to beat them,” said Olson, “And in December they beat us by 40.”
“So, I’m proud of the effort and improvement that has taken place over the last two months,” Olson added. “It would have been interesting if we did win the flip. We had a chance.”
St. Croix Falls
Freshman Tyler Dormanen got Boyceville off to a good start in the championship dual with a 10-0 major decision over St. Croix Falls’ Caleb Steffen. The shut out gave the Bulldogs the early 4-0 advantage.
State-ranked freshman Kole Marko delivered quickly putting St. Croix Falls into the lead with a 44 second pin over Tanner Anderson at 138 pounds.
The Saints extended their advantage to 9-4 following Bennett Bergmann’s 9-4 win at 145 pounds over Boyceville senior Nick Goodell.
Saints head coach Dan Clark opted to bypass Brock Schlough and gave the Bulldogs top-ranked and three-time defending state titlist the forfeit at 152 pounds.
The 10-9 advantage that gave Boyceville was short-lived as St. Croix Falls won five of the next six matches with pins to take control of the match.
The Saints claimed first-period falls over Nick Hillman (160), Dylan Mcnew (170), Tristan Bowell (195), Josh Marzofka (220) and Keegan Plemon (285).
The lone Boyceville win in that span was undefeated sophomore Trett Joles’ 3:06 pin of the Saints McKinley Erickson at 182 pounds.
When that run of pins ended, St. Croix Falls had taken a commanding 39-16 lead.
There was still a chance for Boyceville if they could close out the dual with pins in the final four matches.
In the best match of the championship dual, Boyceville freshman Josiah Berg edged out Saints’ junior Luke Theamert, 6-5, in a battle of state-ranked 106-pound wrestlers. Berg would repeat the feat three days later, besting Theamert 6-3 in the 106-pound title match at the individual sectional meet in Independence.
Despite the loss, St. Croix Falls was assured to repeat as the sectional champion as Boyceville was mathematically eliminated.
Mason Will scored on last victory for St. Croix Falls with a 10-3 decision over Boyceville senior Eli Swanson at 113 pounds.
The Saints head coach then opted to forfeit the final two matches at 120 and 126 pound, making the final team scoring count, 42-31.
Boyceville’s semifinal match with Whitehall was a beat down from the start.
Opening with Peyton Ponath’s pin at 126 pounds, Bulldogs’ freshmen Ira Bialzik and Tyler Dormanen added six-point pins at 132 and 138 respectively for a quick 18-0 Boyceville advantage.
Nick Goodell followed with a 12-0 major decision whitewashing of Michael Poulos at 145 pounds.
Nick Hillman kept the Bulldogs winning streak intact with a gutsy 2-0 sudden victory in overtime at 152 pounds.
Dylan Mcnew scored the fastest pin of the dual, a 22-second shut down of Norseman Silas Nelson at 170 pounds.
Trett Joles threw Whitehall’s Sonny Nygard to the mat in one minute even to push Boyceville’s lead to 43-0.
The Norseman got their only victory at 195 pounds where Liam Herrick pinned Boyceville’s Tristin Bowell in 38 seconds.
But Keegan Plemon got the Bulldogs back on track with a 7-3 decision over Kayla Henk at 220 pounds.
Josh Marzofka (285) and Josiah Berg (106) scored pin falls prior to Eli Swanson (113) and Nate Stuart (120) closing out the dual with technical falls. Swanson beat Gavin Stephens 23-6 while Stuart landed an 18-3 defeat of Alex Benson to cap Boyceville’s 68-6 victory.