Tigers take the pivotal matches, edge Somerset 37-34
New Richmond and Somerset haven't wrestled in several years, but their first meeting in the Middle Border Conference showed this will be an instant rivalry.
The night was filled with free-wheeling, wild matches where both wrestlers had their chances to take control. In the matches that were expected to be close, New Richmond came out the winner in most of them. That accounted for the Tigers being able to pull out a 37-34 win over Somerset.
There were landmark wins for Somerset in the match. Senior Andrew Neumann became Somerset's winningest wrestler, notching the 107th win of his career. Senior Cory Warman also hit a landmark, posting the 100th win of his career in the 135-pound match.
New Richmond coach Mark Neumann said a key to the night was the Tigers winning the coin flip. This way the Tigers were able to avoid putting their most experienced wrestlers against Somerset's elite wrestlers. He said with Warman, Neumann, Bruce Baillargeon and Tyler Leroy, the Spartans are guaranteed 24 points in most of their matches.
"We did everything we could with our lineup," the Tiger coach said.
There were a number of matches where there was no clear-cut favorite. When the drawing for the first match came up as the 160-pound bout, it meant two of those toss-up matches would occur right away.
Two veteran wrestlers met at 160, with Dan Talmage going for the Tigers and Luke Forrest for Somerset. Talmage got a first-period takedown then added two more points in the third period for a 4-0 win.
At 171 pounds Somerset's Mike Roettger and New Richmond's Josh Svenningsen locked into a wild match that was tied 3-3 after two periods. Svenningsen was able to turn Roettger to his back early in the third period and the two wrestlers stayed locked in that position the rest of the period. Svenningsen couldn't get the pin, but his 6-3 win put the Tigers ahead 6-0.
"Those were very big matches," Coach Neumann said. "We could have dug such a big hole we couldn't have gotten out of it."
Neumann's nephews then scored a pair of wins for Somerset, with Justin winning at 189 pounds and Andrew getting his pin at 215 pounds. That put the Spartans ahead 10-6.
Both teams were hoping for wins in the 275-pound match. New Richmond's Jeremy Leverty is more experienced than Somerset's Matt Nelson and it showed. Leverty was able to fight off several early moves by Nelson, eventually winning by pin in the second period.
New Richmond had a 12-10 lead, but the lead didn't last long. Somerset freshman Tyler Leroy raised his record to 18-1 at 103 pounds by winning by tech. fall over Nick Neudecker in the third period.
Somerset then moved ahead 21-12, winning one of the pivotal matches. Freshman Drew Baillargeon was the aggressor the entire match, pinning Guy Carlson in the second period.
"Drew has improved dramatically in the recent weeks," said Somerset coach Dennis Potter.
Two very inexperienced wrestlers met at 119 pounds, but Zac Wolff has more experience, and it produced a pin, cutting the margin to 21-18.
Winning the coin flip paid off big for the Tigers starting at 125 pounds. Coach Neumann was able to put Jake Dalton at 125 pounds, where he decisioned Austin Bell 16-2, putting the Tigers ahead 22-21. Dalton has been shifting between 125 and 130 and Neumann wanted to put him against the better Somerset wrestler.
The move had a double benefit because Trevor Gartner pinned Chris Spafford, increasing the Tiger lead to 28-21.
That pin was quickly balanced out by Warman, who pinned Brent Nordquist. Give the Tiger freshman credit, drawing Warman in his first-ever varsity match and giving a respectable battle.
New Richmond's Mike Tarman won on a pin at 140 pounds, leading into the last of the pivotal matches, at 145 pounds. The Tigers were able to move Chris Parker up to 145, and he battled to an 11-4 win over Andy Nash, assuring the team victory for the Tigers.
In the final match of the night Somerset's Bruce Baillargeon scored a pin at 152 pounds.
Potter said the match lived up to the hype of a rivalry battle between New Richmond and Somerset.
"The nice thing for us is that there is time for improvement and we'll see who the better team is when the conference tournament occurs," Potter said. "I'm confident we'll improve our performance at several weight classes when we see New Richmond again."
New Richmond 37, Somerset 34
160 - Dan Talmage (NR) dec. Luke Forrest 4-0. 171 - Josh Svenningsen (NR) dec. Mike Roettger 6-3. 189 - Justin Neumann (S) dec. Aaron Praschak 9-0. 215 - Andrew Neuman (S) pinned Brian Volkert :59. 275 - Jeremy Leverty (NR) pinned Matt Nelson 3:32. 103 - Tyler Leroy (S) pinned Nick Neudecker 4:49. 112 - Drew Baillargeon (S) pinned Guy Carlson 3:24. 119 - Zac Wolff (NR) pinned Steve Vanasse 3:25. 125 - Jake Dalton (NR) dec. Austin Bell 16-2. 130 - Trevor Gartner (NR) pinned Chris Spafford 3:18. 135 - Cory Warman (S) pinned Brent Nordquist 3:39. 140 - Mike Tarman (NR) pinned Nick Crotty 3:02. 145 - Chris Parker (NR) dec. Andy Nash 11-4. 152 - Bruce Baillargeon (S) pinned Colin Melby 1:32.
BIG NIGHT FOR NEUMANN FAMILY
Thursday's wrestling match between New Richmond and Somerset was a big one for the Neumann family.
New Richmond is coached by Mark Neumann. Somerset's lineup includes two of his nephews, seniors Andrew Neumann and freshman Justin Neumann.
Andrew Neumann won his 215-pound match, pinning New Richmond freshman Brian Volkert. With this win Neumann becomes Somerset's career win leader. He now has 107 wins, surpassing the career total of 106 held by Nick Langer.
Justin Neumann also was a winner, topping New Richmond's Aaron Praschak in the 189-pound match 9-0.
It was Uncle Mark that was able to enjoy the team win however, with New Richmond overcoming a 21-12 margin to come back for a 37-34 win.
"It's not coaching against them," the Tiger coach said about competing against his nephews. "I'm just trying to get my kids to do the best they can do."