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RIVER FALLS — Bloomer/Colfax had four of its wrestlers place at this year’s Northern Badger Wrestling Classic including Colfax’s Luke Blanchard.
Blanchard, wrestling at 145 pounds, finished with a 4-1 record and third place in the two-day tournament held at River Falls High School December 29 and 30.
Joining Blanchard on the podium were Bloomer’s Bowen Rothbauer, a second-place finisher at 160 pounds; Ethan Rubenzer who took ninth at 170 pounds; and Samy Espinal who placed 12th at 220 pounds.
Those four helped the Raptors finish 10th in the final Division 1 (big school) standings with 104 points and 18th overall in the 2021 Northern Badger Wrestling Classic that featured 41 schools from throughout Wisconsin.
The tournament was not held last year due to COVID-19.
Ranked ninth in the most recent Division 2 state poll in his weight class, Blanchard went 3-0 on the first day of competition with a pair of pin falls. In his opening match, Blanchard stuck Rice Lake’s Lucas Sirek in 3:44. He did likewise in round two as he score a 1:40 pin over Brandon Lucas of Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg/Siren. Blanchard then closed out the first day of competition last Wednesday winning an 8-5 decision against Baldwin-Woodville’s Hunter Gartmann in quarterfinal’s match.
Blanchard’s second day began with a semifinal showdown against undefeated and number 3 seed Tanner Halopka of Abbotsford/Colby. Halopka moved into the finals, which he won, on a 2:56 pin. Blanchard rebounded later in the day to take third on a 3-0 shut out win over David Olson of St. Croix Central.
Blanchard is currently 12-3 on the season.
Bowen Rothbauer buzzed through Wednesday’s matches as he registered three pins to make the semifinals at 160 pounds. There, Rothbauer ranked number two in the Division 2 state polls, bested Cadott’s Cole Pfeiffer 7-5. Rothbauer would take on three-time state champion Kole Marko of St. Croix Falls in the finals. Rothbauer found himself playing defense throughout the match, suffering only his second loss, an 11-3 major decision to Marko, in 21 matches this season.
Colfax’s Brison Tuschl also competed in the tournament but was eliminated after the first day with a 1-2 mark. Tuschl won his over match over Dawson Klefstad of Chetek-Weyerhaeuser with a second-period pin but was then pinned twice himself.
The Raptors will compete in a triangular in Superior this Thursday. It will include the Spartans and Northwestern. Colfax will host its only match of the season next Tuesday, January 11 when Stanley-Boyd comes to town for a Cloverbelt dual.