New Richmond's Blackman, Anderson qualify for state wrestling championshipsNew Richmond sophomore Shane Blackman earned a return trip to the WIAA state wrestling championships on Saturday. Tiger junior Abe Anderson gets a long awaited chance to wrestle at state after near misses in the sectional tournament each of the past two years.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
New Richmond sophomore Shane Blackman earned a return trip to the WIAA state wrestling championships on Saturday. Tiger junior Abe Anderson gets a long awaited chance to wrestle at state after near misses in the sectional tournament each of the past two years.
Blackman and Anderson were among eight Tigers who competed at the Eau Claire North Division 1 sectional meet on Saturday.
Anderson’s trip to state was a huge step for a wrestler who has had more than his share of adversity at sectional tournaments and he had to overcome more this year.
“To make it, he had a tough road,” said Tiger coach Mark Neumann.
Anderson ended up wrestling all four wrestlers from the Wausau West regional. He started the sectional with a 5-4 win over Wausau West’s Ben Kostroski. Anderson’s wrestling style seemed to draw disfavor from sectional officials, as it has in the past. He was dinged for two stalling points late in this match. There were more to come.
In the semifinals, Anderson faced eventual sectional champion Mitch Hertel of Marshfield. Anderson led 3-1 until he was called for two stalling points, tying the match at 3-3 with 15 seconds left. The frustration with those calls showed as Anderson made a desperation takedown attempt and Hertel was able to put him back for a four-point move that made the final score 7-3.
In the past two years, tight officiating caused Anderson’s frustration to grow where it hurt his performance in later matches. This year, Anderson learned from his past experiences and did some of the best tournament wrestling of his career. In the wrestlebacks he built a 6-1 lead against Merrill’s Marcus Reinhardt before getting the pin. At the same time, Hertel rallied to edge D.C. Everest freshman Joe Ziokowski in the championship match, giving Anderson a chance to wrestle back to second place.
Anderson didn’t waste this chance. He controlled the action, defeating Ziokowski 8-3. Anderson bounded up into the stands to celebrate his first state tournament appearance with his family.
“It was a really cool moment,” Neumann said. “He was so genuinely happy that he finally made it.”
There weren’t many fans who would have expected Blackman to finish as the sectional champion, but he continues to be a dynamo since he shifted down to 113 pounds. Blackman started the day by pinning his Marshfield opponent in the opening round in 4:45.
In the semifinals Blackman faced Merrill’s Scott Arneson, the son of the Merrill coach. Blackman got early control of the match and maintained it for a 4-3 win.
In the finals Blackman faced Chippewa Falls standout Quinn Miracle, the second-ranked D2 113-pounder in the state. Miracle had beaten Blackman in the regional finals the week before. This match would be one of the most exciting bouts of the entire sectional meet.
Miracle opened the first period with a takedown, but Blackman got an escape and a takedown to lead 3-2 after the first period. Miracle chose the bottom position for the second two minutes and Blackman turned him for two back points.
Blackman chose the down position for the third period. Miracle showed why he’s so highly regarded, locking Blackman in a cradle hold twice, scoring five points off the moves to take a 7-5 lead. Blackman was able to get a reversal with 30 seconds left to tie the score, but Miracle promptly escaped. Blackman stayed on the attack, getting in on a high-crotch takedown attempt. He kept driving and was awarded the takedown with five seconds left, giving him the 9-8 win.
“It was a huge upset,” Neumann said. “That was a great match.”
Both Tigers have draws that could put them in line for a successful run in the state tournament. Blackman, who is now 30-8, draws Justice Parker, a junior from Milwaukee Bradley Tech. Blackman reached state at 105 pounds last season, earning one win in the state meet.
Anderson’s opening draw is Nate Hennes, a senior from Hartford Union who is ranked third in the state at 132 pounds. Coach Neumann said if Anderson can get past Hennes, he would be in a position to win several more matches.
Both Tigers will be wrestling in the session that begins at 3 p.m. on Thursday at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Other sectional entries
The only other Tiger to record a win at the sectional meet was freshman Derek Dowd at 106 pounds. Dowd was in a tough bracket, including the number two and number four ranked 106-pounders in the state.
Dowd opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Merrill sophomore Nathan Beyer. That put Dowd in the semifinals against Nick Diny of Wausau East, who is ranked fourth in the state. Dowd nearly pulled off the upset, losing 5-3, which left him in third place.
“Derek’s right there with those elite kids,” Neumann said. “Taking third at sectionals is pretty awesome.”
Austin Anderson, Casey Schuh, Aaron Daul, Dominic Ficociello and Mitchell Kern were all defeated in their opening round matches. Daul lost a controversial match in overtime in the 145-pound bracket and Kern was defeated in overtime in his 285-pound opening match.