Big surprise: New Richmond wrestlers advance eight to Division 1 sectional meetThe biggest surprise in the Division 1 wrestling regional at Chippewa Falls on Saturday was clearly the New Richmond Tigers.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The biggest surprise in the Division 1 wrestling regional at Chippewa Falls on Saturday was clearly the New Richmond Tigers.
The Tigers had one of the least experienced lineups in the tournament, but the Tigers wrestled far beyond their experience level. The Tigers were able to advance eight of their wrestlers into this Saturday’s Division 1 sectional tournament at Eau Claire North. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. in Eau Claire.
Here’s the best indication of how well the Tigers wrestled in the regional meet on Saturday. Ten of the 13 Tigers in the meet finished above where they were seeded and the other three finished where they were seeded.
Nobody would have predicted that the Tigers would bring home three regional championships. That’s what happened, with juniors Casey Schuh and Aaron Daul and freshman Derek Dowd bringing home titles.
Also qualifying for sectionals were Shane Blackman, Austin Anderson, Abe Anderson, Dominic Ficociello and Mitchell Kern.
With this success, the Tigers were able to finish fourth in the team standings, out of eight teams.
The Tigers had a big impact on which team advanced to the Division 1 team wrestling sectional tournament. Hudson and Chippewa Falls were locked in a two-way battle for the regional title, but the Tigers upset Chippewa Falls in several key matches. That helped Hudson edge the Cards for the team title, with Hudson scoring 225 points and Chippewa Falls 211.
The championships by Schuh and Daul rank as two of the biggest surprises of the tournament. They were both seeded third in their brackets, entering the meet with identical 18-11 records. Schuh opened the tournament with a pin. He then rolled past Eau Claire Memorial’s Kyle Bauer in the semifinals, 10-1. Schuh’s win in the 138-pound finals was one of the most dramatic finishes of the day. Schuh trailed Mackinzie Nutzmann of Chippewa Falls 5-0 in the third period. Schuh was able to lock Nutzmann in a cradle hold several times in the final minute to pull out a wild 7-6 victory. This is the first tournament championship of Schuh’s career.
Daul isn’t known as a pinning machine, but he turned into one on Saturday. He pinned all three of his opponents in the 145-pound class. In the finals he pinned Superior’s Nick Kirchoff, who has a 30-6 record.
Tiger coach Mark Neumann said Daul has shown glimpses of this level of success, but he often got overanxious in close matches, causing him to make unnecessary risky moves.
“He’s gotten a lot more level-headed as the year’s gone on,” Neumann said.
Opponents who didn’t know about Dowd before recognize his skill level after his championship on Saturday. Most of Dowd’s losses came when he was competing at 113 pounds. In Saturday’s finals he clearly controlled the action in beating top-seed A.J. Kammeyer of Chippewa Falls 9-0. The win raises Dowd’s record to 29-11.
There were a number of excellent efforts from the Tigers, even in losses. Blackman put up a strong effort against Chippewa Falls’ Quinn Miracle, one of the top-ranked 113-pounds in the state. The score was 4-2 in the finals until the final seconds, when Blackman gave up a takedown as he scrambled to get the tying points.
Abe Anderson was a welcome sight for Tiger fans after missing three weeks with a concussion. He was given medical clearance the night before the regional. The coaches only had him wrestle two of his matches, because they didn’t want to risk a recurrence of the injury. In his second win, Anderson defeated the top seed in the 132-pound bracket from Eau Claire Memorial.
Kern has been accumulating success by wrestling impressive strategic matches and his win in the regional semifinals may have been his best. He faced mountainous Chippewa Falls heavyweight Dom Goyette. Goyette was able to get an early reversal, but Kern is so active from the bottom position that he was twice able to get escapes. That left the score 2-2 and neither wrestler could score in the first overtime. In the second overtime, Kern was able to ride Goyette through the opening 30-seconds. Kern then got his turn on the bottom. He again was able to escape, earning the 3-2 win that left Chippewa Falls fans stunned.
Kern got caught in a scramble and was pinned in the heavyweight finals by Menomonie’s Connor Hanson.
Coach Neumann said the Tigers aren’t trying to look ahead too far at the sectionals, preferring to concentrate on each wrestler’s first opponent. Just two wrestlers from each Division 1 sectional bracket advance to state, so the Tigers will need an excellent day to get anyone to state.
Here are the opening matches for each Tiger at the sectional meet:
106: Derek Dowd (29-11) vs. Merrill’s Nathan Beyer (32-12)
113: Shane Blackman (27-8) vs. Marshfield’s Devon Klement (21-15)
120: Austin Anderson (21-21) vs. Terrance Simmons of Wausau East (30-12)
132: Abe Anderson (22-12) vs. Wausau West’s Ben Koskoski (13-4)
138: Casey Schuh (21-11) vs. Matthew Reinhardt of Merrill (23-12)
145: Aaron Daul (21-11) vs. Josh Roza of Lakeland (21-14)
152: Dominic Ficociello (16-20) vs. Merrill’s Ray Paul (36-6)
285: Mitchell Kern (30-12) vs. Wausau West’s Ryan Fay (21-14)