Short-handed New Richmond wrestlers give Ellsworth a battle
Ellsworth received five forfeits from New Richmond’s wrestlers in the Middle Border Conference dual match held on the Tigers’ mat last Thursday.
That’s significant because the 30 points from the forfeits were the margin that Ellsworth won by on Thursday in the 51-21 final.
Of the nine varsity matches that took place, New Richmond won five of them.
The Tigers were missing a handful of wrestlers from the lineup due to injuries and illness. Ellsworth also held out two of its state-ranked wrestlers.
Ellsworth defending state champions Jens Lantz and Gable Frandsen were winners in the match, but the Tigers did knock off two of Ellsworth’s state-ranked wrestlers.
Dominic Ficociello and John Keifer scored wins over state-ranked opponents. Ellsworth’s Brady Zimmer was another opponent who found that Ficociello’s strength can’t be underestimated. Ficociello dominated the 182-pound bout. Zimmer was able to put Ficociello to his back in the second period, but Ficociello rolled through and pinned Zimmer.
“Dom’s super strong. He’s like a rock,” said New Richmond coach Mark Neumann.
Keifer endeared himself to Tiger fans with a gritty effort that energized the team. Keifer got a takedown in the first 20 seconds of the 152-pound match and kept forcing the action in an 8-3 win over Josh Hines.
“John wrestled with a lot of heart and determination,” Neumann said. “He’s got a great double-leg and he’s really a tough rider.”
The Tigers also got wins from Dylan Dowd and Michael Steel in the middle weights. They both faced Ellsworth second-line wrestlers, but still quality opponents. Dowd earned a pin against Cole Toenjes. Steel had an excellent battle with senior Brandon VanderMarliere, who was the starting fullback on the Ellsworth football team. Steel did a good job of avoiding VanderMarliere’s strength, getting a takedown in the final seconds to win 5-2.
The Tigers’ final win came at the heavyweight level, where Jake Rose scored a 4-3 win. Rose led much of the match, before Brody Kemmerer tied it late in the third period. Rose stayed active and was able to earn an escape in the final seconds to win 4-3.
“His experience is starting to show,” Coach Neumann said of Rose.
Even in some of the losing efforts the Tigers showed good things. Garret Hildebrandt led state-ranked Brad Cain 6-5 after two periods in the third place match.
Sophomore Jackson Moeller had a memorable varsity debut on Thursday. His first match was against three-time state champion Jens Lantz. Lantz didn’t embarrass the younger wrestler, letting the match go into the second period before pinning Moeller.
The Tigers and Ellsworth were able to wrestle nearly a complete junior varsity match on Thursday too. Ellsworth won the JV dual 38-12. Tigers who scored victories were Tanner Rebhan, Luke Landaal and Luke Luger.
This Friday and Saturday the Tigers will make their annual trip to La Crosse to compete in in the Bi-State Classic. Wrestling starts both days at 9:30 a.m. at the La Crosse Center.