Somerset seniors Andrew Neumann, Cory Warman and Bruce Baillargeon form a wrestling triumvirate for the Spartans. Their collective efforts led the Spartans to the Division 2 championship in the tournament.
Neumann and Warman were champions and Baillargeon took third place in the 18th annual Northern Badger Wrestling Classic on Dec. 27-28 at UW-River Falls.
Neumann was the Northern Badger champion at 215 pounds and Warman took his title at 135 pounds. Baillargeon was third at 152 pounds.
This was the second title that Neumann has won at the Northern Badger. He reached the semifinals in less than 30 seconds of wrestling, pinning his way to the finals. In the championship match he dominated Baldwin-Woodville's Ron Stave, winning 10-0.
Neumann went over the 100-win mark for his career during the Northern Badger. He now has 104 wins and is closing in on the Somerset school record of 106, held by Nick Langer.
"Andrew is one of the premier wrestlers in the state and he showed it in this tournament," said Somerset coach Dennis Potter. "He is simply stronger and faster than other wrestlers."
Warman hasn't had the greatest luck at past Northern Badgers, with a previous best finish of ninth place last year. But he's not the same wrestler he was a year ago either. Warman was seeded first at 135 pounds with an 11-0 record.
Warman rolled through his first two matches, before facing Amery's Brad Malum in the third round. This was a pairing of two physical wrestlers. It came down to the final 36 seconds, when Warman got a reversal to win 10-9.
"They were really mirror images of each other...but I think Warman's willpower was not to be denied," Potter said.
Warman faced another battle in the semifinals, wrestling well from his feet to beat Travis Puig of Barron 6-3.
In the finals Warman built a big lead and held on to beat Matt Bell of Marshfield 13-9.
Baillargeon started 152-pound action with a pin, but got a tough assignment in the second round. Baillargeon needed a third period takedown to beat Andrew Scholze of Melrose-Mindoro 5-4. Baillargeon then dominated his quarterfinal match, pinning Zach Burke of Cumberland. Baillargeon's only loss came in a close match in the semifinals, losing 5-3 to Jared Krasselt of Marshfield.
Baillargeon responded by taking control of the third place match, beating Travis Dorwin of Baldwin-Woodville 5-1.
Freshman Tyler Leroy ran his season record to 16-1 by taking fifth place at 103 pounds for the Spartans. His only loss came against Blaze Stephens of Barron, who reached the finals.
"He is a motor on the mat. He reminds me of a young Cory Warman," Potter said of Leroy.
A pleasant surprise for the Spartans was Matt Nelson taking seventh place at 275 pounds. In his second match Nelson knocked off Mondovi's Adam Kirking, who had a 9-3 record, 7-5 in overtime. Nelson finished with a 4-2 record in the tournament and is making himself more of a threat each week.
Another surprise for the Spartans came at 125 pounds. Austin Bell came into the tournament 2-8, but won four of his six matches to place 11th.
Nick Crotty, Drew Baillargeon and Justin Neumann each won two matches in the tournament, but did not place.
2002 Northern Badger Wrestling Classic
Division 2 Team Scores: Somerset 177, Turtle Lake 117, Cadott 115, Crivitz 106, Unity 67, Mondovi 47, St. Croix Central 42, Spencer 38
103 - Tyler Leroy, fifth
125 - Austin Bell, 11th
135 - Cory Warman, champion
152 - Bruce Baillargeon, third
215 - Andrew Neumann, champion
275 - Matt Nelson, seventh
(THIS IS FOR A FUTURE FEATURE STORY)
In the late 1980s St. Croix Central had the Myer triplets, who led the Panthers to a state wrestling championship in 1989.
This year Somerset has three triplets, not connected by blood, but by wrestling success.
Seniors Andrew Neumann, Cory Warman and Bruce Baillargeon are rewriting the Somerset wrestling record books