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Somerset's Zane Von Holtum (right) tries to turn a much larger opponent from St. Croix Falls for back points during Friday's action at the Northern Badger Invitational.
Somerset's Zane Von Holtum (right) tries to turn a much larger opponent from St. Croix Falls for back points during Friday's action at the Northern Badger Invitational.

Somerset's Gabe Flandrick takes second at Northern Badger wrestling

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sports New Richmond, 54017

New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

While there were some definite positives for the Somerset wrestling team in the 2012 Northern Badger Classic, the Spartans came away from the tournament unsatisfied.

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A main objective for the Spartans was seeing if seniors Gabe Flandrick and Bobby LeRoy could win tournament championships in their final season at the Northern Badger. They both suffered one loss that left them short of their goal in the tournament held last Friday and Saturday at River Falls High School.

Flandrick lost in an epic battle between two of the area's top wrestlers in the 152-finals. He lost to two-time state champion Austin Moe of Glenwood City 3-1. LeRoy was knocked off in the 138-pound quarterfinals by Boyceville's Dominic Olson, 10-9.

Overall, five Spartans were placewinners in the tournament. Somerset finished with 143.5 points in the tournament, ranking sixth among 12 teams in the Division 2 bracket.

Flandrick and Moe were on a collision course for the 152-finals. Flandrick held up his side, scoring two pins and a technical fall win to make it to the championship match. Flandrick pushed the action through the six minutes of regulation, but the score remained at 1-1, forcing overtime. In the overtime Flandrick got in on a double-leg takedown attempt. Moe countered and in the ensuing scramble, Moe was able to get control of Flandrick for the takedown.

"Gabe had several good takedown shots, but couldn't finish them," said Somerset coach Mitch Flandrick, Gabe's father. "Moe was just in better shape in the overtime."

LeRoy won five matches in the tournament to come back and get fifth place, but the one that got away will bother the intense senior.

"He got headlocked and that shouldn't happen and he knows it," Coach Flandrick said of the pivotal move in LeRoy's loss. "I'm sure (finishing fifth) was not what he'd hoped."

The other placewinners put a much brighter spin on the Spartans' showing in the tournament. Sophomore Max Praschak placed fourth at 170 pounds, freshman Logan Peterson took sixth at 132 pounds and senior Mitch McConaughey placed ninth at 160 pounds.

Praschak won his first three matches before facing eventual champion Cody Nyhagen of St. Croix Central in the semifinals. Praschak gave Nyhagen his best battle of the tournament, losing 10-5. Praschak tweaked his shoulder in the third place match and wasn't at full strength in an 8-3 loss to Sebastian Larson of River Falls.

Peterson began the season 0-5, but that's long been forgotten. Since then, the freshman has gone 9-3. He pulled off one of the bigger upsets in the opening round of the tournament, pinning the fourth seed, Ty Reinke of Cameron. He finished the tournament with four wins.

McConaughey stepped away from wrestling for part of his high school years. Back with the team as a senior, he's been making rapid progress. He won five matches in the tournament to take ninth place in his bracket.

The Spartans return to their dual meet schedule this Thursday with a home match against Baldwin-Woodville. The Spartans will also be in action on Saturday, wrestling in the New Richmond Invitational.

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