Somerset advances six wrestlers into Middle Border Conference finalsBy getting six wrestlers into the finals, the Somerset wrestling team was able to finish in third place in the 2012 Middle Border Conference tournament, held Saturday in Durand.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
By getting six wrestlers into the finals, the Somerset wrestling team was able to finish in third place in the 2012 Middle Border Conference tournament, held Saturday in Durand.
Winning championships for the Spartans were senior Austin Bushinger and junior Bobby LeRoy. Placing second in their weight classes were senior Haydon Dvorak, juniors Alex Piletich and Gabe Flandrick, and freshman Max Praschak.
Bushinger and LeRoy overpowered opponents from Ellsworth to win their championships. Bushinger extended his season record to 34-3 with his 8-1 win over Ellsworth’s Ryan Dickhausen in the 152-pound finals. LeRoy toppled Ellsworth’s Brad Cain by an 8-1 score in the 120-pound title bout.
This was the first week that LeRoy had moved down from 126 to 120 pounds.
“I think Bobby will be a pretty tough customer at 120 pounds,” predicted Somerset coach Mitch Flandrick.
Bushinger was able to lock Dickhausen into two cradle moves for back points, which allowed Bushinger to build up a substantial lead.
Some of the most dramatic matches of the day involved Spartan losses in the finals. The marquee matchup of the day was in the 195-pound finals, where Dvorak faced Ellsworth’s Parker Hines. Dvorak is the top-ranked Division 2 wrestler at 182 pounds and Hines holds the same rank at 195 pounds. Instead of facing lesser competition at 182 pounds, Dvorak elected to move up to 195 pounds for the tournament, so he’d be battle tested for the upcoming WIAA tournaments.
The match was just what you’d expect from two state finalists. The lead switched hands several times during the match. Dvorak trailed 7-6 in the last 20 seconds. He tried one final shot, but Hines was able to counter for a takedown that resulted in a 9-6 final score.
“Haydon didn’t have to go up, but that’s the kind of kid he is,” Coach Flandrick said. “Haydon’s a champion, hands-down, at 182 pounds.”
Another of the most anticipated finals was at 138 pounds. Durand senior Andrew Hartmann and Somerset junior Gabe Flandrick are ranked second and third in the state in Division 2. Hartmann won their first meeting this season by one point. This time Flandrick led until he tried for a takedown in the final 20 seconds. Hartmann was able to counter his move, getting the takedown to win 4-3.
Coach Flandrick said he expects this loss will be a reminder to his son to recognize when he needs to be patient, instead of wrestling in attack mode 100 percent of the time.
Piletich kept his string of pins alive by pinning his first two opponents in the conference meet. His win streak was stopped in the finals by New Richmond’s Mitchell Kern. Kern avoided the moves that Piletich has been effectively using, resulting in a 4-1 loss for Piletich.
Somerset freshman Max Praschak was able to reach the finals at 160 pounds. In the finals he was paired with undefeated Amery senior Gabe Paulson. Paulson continued his dominance of area wrestlers by beating Praschak on a technical fall.
The Spartans now turn their sights to this Saturday’s Ellsworth Division 2 regional tournament. The top two wrestlers in each flight will advance to the Osceola sectional meet the following Saturday. Coach Flandrick said he thinks five Spartans have a strong chance of reaching sectionals and, if things fall right, the team could get six wrestlers through to the sectional.