Aaby, Gibb take on the lead roles for St. Croix Central wrestlers at New Richmond InvitationalSt. Croix Central’s Kyle Aaby and Brian Gibb aren’t as well-known as teammates Cody Nyhagen and Carl Moll, but they took on the starring role for the Panthers in Saturday’s New Richmond Invitational wrestling tournament.
St. Croix Central’s Kyle Aaby and Brian Gibb aren’t as well-known as teammates Cody Nyhagen and Carl Moll, but they took on the starring role for the Panthers in Saturday’s New Richmond Invitational wrestling tournament.
Aaby and Gibb both earned meet championships while Nyhagen and Moll were able to take second place, as did Austin Edison. These top finishes helped the Panthers take third in the team points standings.
The Panthers were one of the many local teams dealing with illness. Coach Brad Holzer said his team had been “hammered” by a bug working its way through the team.
“It’s been quite the week trying to get kids healthy enough to wrestle,” Holzer said.
Nyhagen was a prime example. He didn’t wrestle in last Thursday’s dual at Mondovi. He tried to wrestle at the NRI, winning his first two matches. Because his next two opponents were ill or injured, he was credited with two more wins without having to take the mat.
Aaby emerged last year as a force, qualifying for his first state tournament. He shredded his opposition in the 195-pound class at the NRI, winning all five of his matches to raise his season record to 20-1. Four of his pins came in the first period, and the fifth came 26 seconds into the second period.
Holzer said he thinks Gibb is on the same career arch that Aaby followed last year. Gibb nearly matched Aaby’s success at the NRI. Gibb recorded four first period pins in the 160-pound class. His fifth win was the product of a 15-1 major decision.
Gibb’s success is starting to get noticed. He is 19-2 and has moved into the state rankings for the first time.
“Hopefully that helps him understand that he’s wrestling at an elite level,” Holzer said.
While Nyhagen’s route to second place was unique, Moll rang up four first period pins to reach the 160-finals, where he faced Somerset’s Gabe Flandrick. Flandrick got a first period takedown and was able prevent Moll from scoring in a 5-0 final. Holzer said Moll should benefit from the strong competition he’s faced lately, including Flandrick and wrestlers from Boyceville and Neillsville.
Edison was another of the Panthers battling illness but he was still able to make the 285-pound finals. In that match he couldn’t hit any scoring moves, losing to Unity’s Alex Lennartson 5-1.
Luke Smith was Central’s only third place finisher, in the 120-pound bracket. A passel of Panthers took fourth place, including Delfino Carrasco, Ryan Pfeifer and Ryan Gulich.
The Panthers didn’t win by the margin that they’d hoped, but they were able to bring home a victory from last Thursday’s Dunn-St. Croix Conference dual match at Mondovi, winning 37-30.
Mondovi did its best to avoid Central’s big guns, forfeiting to Edison, Moll, Aaby and Parker Owens, who stepped in for Nyhagen. The Panthers needed other wrestlers to step up. Gibb answered the call, getting a pin at 160 pounds. Ryan Pfeifer scored a 15-3 decision in the 113-pound class and Trent Smith fought off Lee Becker for a 3-2 decision at 145 pounds.
This Thursday the Panthers continue their D-SC schedule, hosting Glenwood City in Central’s annual Alumni Night match. The Frasl brothers, Shawn and Cory, will be inducted into the Central Wrestling Hall of Fame as part of the night’s festivities.