Somerset's Gabe Flandrick, Bobby LeRoy recapture MBC wrestling titles
Winning one conference championship is tough enough, but Somerset seniors Gabe Flandrick and Bobby LeRoy both became two-time champions on Saturday at the 2013 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament in New Richmond.
LeRoy won his championship in the 138-pound class. Flandrick was the champion in the 160-pound class, with his performance earning Flandrick the tournament's Outstanding Wrestler Award.
Somerset finished fourth in the team competition, behind Ellsworth, Amery and New Richmond.
Flandrick's title came in one of the most anticipated matches of the tournament. He and Ellsworth's Gable Frandsen are both ranked among the top wrestlers in the state and they had no trouble reaching the finals. Both scored a pin in their semifinal matches.
Flandrick got a takedown in the first 20 seconds of the championship match and he held the upper hand the rest of the way. He led 5-2 after the second period and was up 9-4 before giving up a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the match.
"They are two of the top three or four 160-pounders in the state," said Somerset coach Mitch Flandrick.
LeRoy wasn't challenged on his way to his MBC title. He opened the tournament with a pin in 41 seconds. He wrestled a controlled match in the semifinals to win 6-1. Most fans were expecting LeRoy to face Ellsworth's Dan Langer in the finals. Langer was knocked off in the semifinals by Baldwin-Woodville's Tom Langer. LeRoy had no problem with his B-W opponent in the finals, winning 12-1.
Also reaching the finals for the Spartans was sophomore Max Praschak in the 170-pound bracket. Praschak put together two strong wins to reach the finals. He scored a first period pin in the opening round. In the semifinals he controlled Amery senior Chaz Hegna, winning 9-2.
In the finals Praschak went up against Ellsworth senior Henry Holdorf. Holdorf was effective in frustrating Praschak's scoring attempts, as the Panther senior gradually built toward a 4-0 win.
Somerset had three fourth place finishers in the meet. Zane Von Holtum was fourth at 285 pounds, Logan Peterson at 132 pounds and Rhys Linke at 112 pounds.
Von Holtum had to win two matches in a competitive 285-pound class to take fourth place. Coach Flandrick said it was fitting that Von Holtum performed well in the conference tournament in his senior year.
"He's built himself into a decent wrestler. He's proof if you work hard, decent things come your way," Coach Flandrick said.
Gage Kreucher, Cole Martinsen and Alex Turner were fifth place finishers for the Spartans.
The Spartans were without sophomore Bailey White for the tournament. Coach Flandrick said he thought White would have been a top-three finisher in the 145-pound bracket.
Somerset's wrestlers now turn their focus to the Amery Division 2 Regional Wrestling Tournament that will be held on Saturday. Coach Flandrick has high expectations, expecting "five or six" of the Spartans to advance through the regional meet. The Spartans who do advance will get to wrestle in front of their home crowd one more time. Somerset hosts the WIAA Division 2 Sectional Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 16.