Somerset wrestlers earn first Middle Border Conference win
Starting the season with duals against the three top programs in the Middle Border Conference left the Somerset wrestling program with something to prove.
The Spartans wanted to show they were better than their 0-3 MBC record. They began the process of climbing up the MBC standings by beating Baldwin-Woodville 31-21 last Thursday.
Both teams have been dealing with injuries, so there were five matches that ended up in forfeits, but four were double forfeits that didn’t give either team points.
The match was expected to be close and it met expectations. The Spartans were able to build a slight lead due to early wins from Logan Peterson, Gage Kreucher and Max Praschak. The pivotal match proved to be the 285-pound match between Somerset’s Josh Westmoreland and Baldwin-Woodville’s Muatxju Lee. Westmoreland was able to score his first career varsity win, putting Lee to his back for the pin 55 seconds into the match.
“Josh had a nice little pancake and put the kid right to his back,” said Somerset coach Trent Larrieu. “That match was the turning point.”
Sam Woods received a forfeit at 106 points, officially giving the Spartans the points they needed to lock up the team victory. In the last match wrestled that night, Somerset’s Fred Mangine posted an 11-5 win in the 138-pound bout.
The Spartans were back in action on Saturday, competing in the New Richmond Invitational. Praschak and Peterson earned tournament championships, with Kreucher, Mangine and Dylan Anez taking third in their weight classes.
Praschak earned the championship in the 182-pound class, which was considered by many observers as the strongest weight class in the tournament. Praschak, now 21-2, defeated Spooner’s Lucas Hagberg 10-4 in their championship match.
Peterson, now 19-5, was the champion in the 152-pound bracket. Peterson had several close matches during the tournament but managed to come out on top each time. In the championship match he topped New Richmond’s John Keifer 4-0.
Kreucher continued his wrestling metamorphosis, raising his record to 17-8 by going 4-1 in the tournament. In the third place match he was able to defeat Spooner’s Richard Lauterback 6-4.
“Gage, as a senior, has taken it upon himself that he wants to be good,” Larrieu said.
Mangine went 3-2 in the tournament to place third at 138 pounds. He pinned Unity’s Devin Bearhart at the 1:45 mark to win the third place match.
Anez ranked as one of the biggest surprises of the tournament on Saturday. He had two wins for the season entering action on Saturday, but he scored three wins to take third place at 170 pounds. All three of his wins came on pins, including a 3:51 pin against St. Croix Central’s Cole Refsnider in the third place match.
“He’s starting to figure some things out,” Larrieu said of Anez. “He’s starting to turn a corner.”
Harrison Kern was also a three-match winner on Saturday. His wins, all via pins, earned him fifth place in the 152-pound class.
The Spartans will try to add another MBC dual victory this Thursday when they wrestle at home against Durand. The Spartans will be in another tournament this Saturday, this time competing at Eden Prairie, Minn., where the tournament field includes several Minnesota state-ranked teams.