St. Croix Central wrestlers edge Spring ValleyIn the condensed Dunn-St. Croix Conference wrestling schedule, there is a battle every Thursday toward determining the conference champion.
In the condensed Dunn-St. Croix Conference wrestling schedule, there is a battle every Thursday toward determining the conference champion.
The St. Croix Central wrestling team has survived its first two D-SC clashes, and the challenges get tougher each week. This Thursday, the Panthers will wrestle at Spring Valley. Central, Spring Valley and Boyceville are the three leading contenders for the D-SC title and the champion will be decided in the duals held the next two Thursdays.
The Panthers improved to 2-0 in the D-SC last Thursday with a 36-30 win over Glenwood City. The match was more adventurous than the Panthers had hoped, but the Alumni Night crowd got to see a thrilling match.
The lead bounced back and forth between the teams all night. Glenwood City opened the night with a pair of pins from their multiple state qualifiers, Adam Holmquist and Austin Moe. The Panthers matched those 12 points on wins from Cody Nyhagen and Kyle Aaby.
The teams traded pins at 195 and 220 pounds. That led to the 285-pound bout, which Central coach Brad Holzer said was the pivotal match of the night. Holzer had to decide between two junior varsity heavyweights. He chose Jacob Conley, sending him out for the first varsity match of his career. Conley made the most of the opportunity, pinning Skylar Peterson in 56 seconds.
“The place went nuts,” Holzer said. “It’s good to see that happen for a kid who works hard.”
Central then received a forfeit at 106, but Glenwood City won a close match at 113 to keep the Toppers’ hopes alive. With four matches left, the Panthers needed a split. They got the two wins they needed from Ryan Gulich and Trent Smith to finish off the 36-30 win.
@t:Winning the championship of the Westby Open was a possibility for the Panthers on Saturday, but they wrestled the tournament with more of a long-range focus. Even with that approach, the Panthers were able to take third place out of the eight teams in the tournament.
The Panthers won all three of the matches in their pool, defeating Riverdale 58-21, Melrose-Mindoro 41-27 and La Crosse Aquinas 40-34.
Those wins moved the Panthers into the winner’s bracket, where they faced Pioneer Westfield. Central dropped that match 36-30.
The Panthers still had a chance at the team title if they defeated Brookwood. The match ended in a 36-36 tie, with Brookwood receiving the win on criteria. That made Brookwood the tournament champion and dropped Central to third place.
Holzer said there were several instances during the tournament when he could have shifted the lineup to maximize the team point possibilities. Instead, he wanted to find the toughest matches for his top wrestlers.
“We’ve got bigger fish to fry than the Westby Open,” Holzer said.