Regional packed with surprises for St. Croix Central wrestlersThe Ellsworth regional meet was packed with surprises — some good, some painful — for the St. Croix Central wrestling team.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The Ellsworth regional meet was packed with surprises — some good, some painful — for the St. Croix Central wrestling team.
The Panthers were able to advance eight wrestlers to this Saturday’s Osceola Division 2 sectional meet. Yet two of their most successful wrestlers this season won’t be competing at the sectional meet.
Advancing to sectional level for the Panthers are regional champions Adam Lewis, Cody Nyhagen, Marcus Malecek and Lauden Wood and second place finishers Ryan Gulich, Alex Halvorson, Kyle Aaby and Austin Edison.
The crushing results for the Panthers were senior Matt Smith and junior Carl Moll not advancing out of the regionals. Smith was a state placewinner two years ago and Moll finished one win short of qualifying for state each of the past two years.
Smith and Moll both entered the regional meet with two losses all season. But with only two wrestlers able to advance out of each weight class, they both faced extremely strong competition in their weight classes.
Smith was one of three standouts in the 170-pound class, along with Bloomer’s Levi Nayes and Ellsworth’s Gable Frandsen. Smith and Frandsen clashed in the semifinals, knowing the loser likely was done for the season. The match was tied 2-2 after two periods. Frandsen led 5-4 in the final seconds, when Smith tried a desperation takedown move. Frandsen was able to counter, getting the takedown that made the final score 7-4. Smith ends his senior season with a 34-4 record.
An Ellsworth wrestler also ended Moll’s season. Moll and Logan Kemmerer battled to a 9-9 tie at the end of regulation. Moll came close to scoring in overtime, but couldn’t completely secure the takedown. Kemmerer spun around and got the takedown for the 11-9 win. Moll finishes the season with a 37-4 record.
“It’s sad when you get eight wrestlers through and you are still disappointed,” Central coach Brad Holzer said of the team’s pain over seeing two of its leaders not able to advance.
Because they were the top seed in brackets with three wrestlers, Lewis and Malecek only had to wrestle one match in winning their regional titles. Lewis ran his record to 36-6 with a 7-1 win over Ellsworth’s Cody Raebel in the 112-pound finals. Malecek remained undefeated, now 42-0, by rolling past Ellsworth’s Hank Holdorf 10-3 in the 220-pound finals.
Wood went unchallenged in winning the 285-pound title. He pinned Baldwin-Woodville’s Coleman Roskam in 58 seconds in the semifinals. He scored a 16-3 win over Ellsworth’s Brodey Kemmerer in the finals.
Nyhagen needed 1:18 to pin Baldwin-Woodville’s Ben Mikla in the 160-semifinals. He wrestled a smart, controlled match in the finals, beating Ellsworth’s Dennis Schultz 6-2 to increase his record to 38-4.
None of the four Panthers who took second place was a lock for that spot. Gulich became one of the few Panthers ever to qualify for sectionals as a freshman by beating Cornell-Gilman’s Eric Nedland 6-3 in the semifinals. Gulich lost to defending state champion Jens Lantz of Ellsworth in the 113-pound finals. Gulich’s record now stands at 26-15.
Senior Alex Halvorson came up with one of the best performances of his career to take second at 126 pounds. Halvorson, now 26-16, lost to Ellsworth’s Brent Stockwell in the semifinals. Halvorson earned a pin in the third place match, getting a wrestleback against Durand’s Jordan Gardner. Halvorson pinned Gardner, who has a 32-14 record.
“Alex wrestled with a little more fire under him in the wrestleback that I hadn’t seen from him before,” Holzer said.
Aaby put together one of his best matches of the season, dominating Ellsworth’s Derek Donnelly in the semifinals in a 17-1 technical fall win. Aaby lost to Somerset’s Haydon Dvorak in the finals, 9-2. Holzer said Aaby has opened up his offensive attack in recent weeks, using his upper body strength to pile up points.
Edison was another of the big surprises for Central. He pinned Bloomer’s Justin Swartz, who had a 25-16 record, in the semifinals. Edison lost to Ellsworth’s Parker Hines in the finals. Edison’s record is now 17-14.
He’s definitely been wrestling better the last three weeks,” Holzer said. “He’s got a lot more confidence in what he’s doing.”
Here are Central’s individual pairings for Saturday’s sectional meet in Osceola:
106: Adam Lewis (36-6) vs. Osceola’s John Olson (33-4)
113: Ryan Gulich (26-15) vs. Neillsville’s Phillip Opelt (40-4)
126: Alex Halvorson (26-16) vs. Amery’s Connor Friese (35-5)
160: Cody Nyhagen (38-4) vs. Matthew Orne, Rice Lake (25-21)
182: Kyle Aaby (25-9) vs. Aaron Harder, Medford (27-10)
195: Austin Edison (17-14) vs. Austin Roberts, Rice Lake (34-7)
220: Marcus Malecek (42-0) vs. Dylan Kimber, Chetek-Prairie Farm (26-10)
285: Lauden Wood (38-4) vs. Kyle Andraeae, Spencer (23-8)