Long trip benefits Somerset wrestlers
Traveling across the state to compete at Tomahawk proved beneficial for the Somerset wrestling team on Saturday.
The Tomahawk Invitational was structured with varsity and JV levels of the tournament. The Spartan coaches decided to have their five most experienced wrestlers compete in the varsity tournament and the seven less experienced wrestlers be part of the JV field.
The decision produced excellent results. The Spartans only lost five matches all day and every Somerset wrestler earned at least one victory. With the five wrestlers, the Spartans were still able to place sixth out of 17 teams in the varsity half of the tournament.
Somerset’s Bailey White and Max Praschak won varsity championships. White defeated Tomahawk’s Nate Flohr in the 145-pound title match. Praschak decisioned Turtle Lake senior Damion Blechinger 9-1 to win the title in the 182-pound class.
Somerset’s Logan Peterson took third place in the 152-pound bracket. His only loss was a 6-3 setback against undefeated Trevor Ackman of Spencer.
Fred Mangine took fifth place at 138 pounds. His only loss came against Crandon’s Morgan Krueger, who is ranked second in the state.
Somerset senior Gage Kreucher took fourth at 160 pounds.
In the JV portion of the meet, Somerset’s Josh Maack, Tony Mussehl, Harrison Kern, Dylan Anez and Josh Westmoreland won weight class titles.
The Spartans completed their run of top Middle Border Conference opponents when they lost at Amery 49-25. The Spartans had already faced Ellsworth and New Richmond. Those opponents are expected to be the top three teams in the MBC standings this season.
The Spartans forfeited four weights, so they matched Amery at 25 points apiece in the other 10 classes. White and Mangine won via pins in the dual, with Praschak and Kreucher winning decisions. Kern received a forfeit.
Spartan coach Trent Larrieu said the match to watch was Praschak’s 4-0 win over Broden Schock.
“That’s probably the best match I’ve seen wrestled this year,” Larrieu said.
This Friday and Saturday, the Spartans will be wrestling in the Northern Badger Invitational at River Falls High School. Larrieu said he expects to take 11 wrestlers to the tournament. Praschak and Peterson should get favorable seeds in the tournament after placing at the Northern Badger last winter.