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Spartans overpower sickly Tigers, 41-33

The wrestling rivalry between Somerset and New Richmond went Somerset's way this year, though the Tigers are openly wondering what would have happened had they been at full strength.

This year's match was a wild, back-and-forth match, with the Spartans prevailing 41-33. This leaves the two teams tied for third place in the Middle Border Conference with 3-2 records.

Outside of a stretch of three weights between 145 and 160, the two teams traded off winning matches throughout the night.

The night started at 130 pounds, where Tiger senior Jake Dalton scored a pin. Somerset junior Austin Bell matched that pin in the 135-pound match.

Tiger senior Mike Tarman got a first period pin at 140 pounds, making the score 12-6. Then came Somerset's run of three wins.

At 145 pounds, Somerset got a pivotal win from Brandon Steffen, who edged Phil Gartner 8-5. This was Steffen's third win of the season. Tiger coach Mark Neumann said Gartner had been sick the two days before the meet and wasn't close to being at full strength.

Somerset senior Andy Nash followed with a pin at 152 pounds, giving the Spartans a lead they would never let go.

The Spartans got another pivotal win at 160 pounds. Andy Hecht got an escape early in the third period and held on for a 3-2 win over Chris Parker, who had moved up from 145 pounds.

New Richmond got a pin from Colin Melby in the 171-pound bout, tying the score at 18-18. Somerset answered, with Justin Neumann winning by technical fall at 189 pounds.

Aaron Praschak earned a 7-4 decision over Mike Roettger in the 215-pound battle, cutting Somerset's lead to 23-21.

That led into the 275-pound match, with both sides knowing they needed to win to have a chance on getting the team victory. New Richmond's Brian Volkert got the first takedown, but the opening period ended 2-2. Martell was able to get three back points late in the second period to take an 8-5 lead. Both wrestlers were running out of steam in the third period, but Martell was able to turn Volkert and get the pin with 28 seconds left in the match.

The Tigers then picked up a forfeit to make the score 29-27 with three matches left. Each of those three matches had one top flight wrestler going against a relative beginner and all three ended predictably.

Somerset's Tyler LeRoy got a pin in the 112-pound match, building the lead back to eight points. New Richmond's Zach Wolff matched that pin, making the score 35-33 with only the 125-pound class remaining.

There Somerset's Drew Baillargeon, who was 16-5 entering the match, faced Randi Wallace, who was wrestling her first varsity match. Baillargeon scored the pin in 38 seconds to secure Somerset's win.

Somerset coach Randy Skarda gushed over the Spartans' effort Thursday.

"I've never been that happy with a win. The boys did a nice job, they wrestled tremendously," Skarda said.

Coach Neumann said the three pivotal matches of the night were at 145, 160 and 215.

"Even losing those three, it came down to the final match. It's hard to sit there and think we were the better team and not come across," Neumann said. "Even so, Somerset deserved to win. They wrestled harder."

Tigers beaten by Hudson

If the illness bug didn't take enough of a toll on the Tigers on Thursday, they had to come back and wrestle another dual meet on Friday. The opponent -- Big Rivers Conference leader Hudson.

The Tigers fell behind 14-3 on their home mat and never pulled out, losing 44-24.

"Hudson's got a talented team," said coach Neumann. "They'll win the Big Rivers hands down."

The Tigers got a good performance to start the match, with Tarman beating a solid opponent 9-4 at 140 pounds. The next win for the Tigers came at 171 pounds, where Melby got his second pin in two nights.

Guy Carlson was able to come back to wrestle Friday, and he scored a pin in less than a minute in the 112-pound match.

The last win for the Tigers came at 130 pounds, where Dalton scored an 8-3 decision.

Both New Richmond and Somerset will be wrestling this Thursday and Saturday.

Thursday's action will be the sixth round of the Middle Border Conference season. New Richmond will be wrestling at Amery on Thursday, while Somerset is at home against Prescott.

On Saturday, New Richmond competes in the Shell Lake Invitational, while Somerset treks into Minnesota for the Eden Prairie Invitational.

Somerset 41, New Richmond 33

103 - Val Wilbur (NR) won by forfeit. 112 - Tyler LeRoy (S) pinned Derek Vergin 1:37. 119 - Zach Wolff (NR) pinned Steve Vanasse :59. 125 - Drew Baillargeon (S) pinned Randi Wallace :35. 130 - Jake Dalton (NR) pinned Mitch Grahovac 1:04. 135 - Austin Bell (S) pinned Andy Hesselink 1:48. 140 - Mike Tarman (NR) pinned Nate Hildebrant 1:25. 145 - Brandon Steffen (S) dec. Phil Gartner 8-5. 152 - Andy Nash (S) pinned R.J. Hirt 2:32. 160 - Andy Hecht (S) dec. Chris Parker 3-2. 171 - Colin Melby (NR) pinned Dylan Schachtner 3:50. 189 - Justin Neumann (S) by tech fall over Greg Olson 18-0. 215 - Aaron Praschak (NR) dec. Mike Roettger 7-4. 275 - Ambrose Martell (S) pinned Brian Volkert 5:32.

Hudson 44, New Richmond 34

140 - Mike Tarman (NR) dec. Adam Ellefson 9-4. 145 - Nick Yoder (H) dec. Chris Parker 15-8. 152 - Ben Yoder (H) by tech. fall over R.J. Hirt. 160 - Matt Congdon (H) pinned Jon Haffner 1:15. 171 - Colin Melby (NR) pinned Adam Gilbert 1:04. 189 - Graydon Anderson (H) pinned Aaron Praschak 2:44. 215 - Nick Ihn (H) dec. Brian Volkert 12-2. 275 - Jake Heldt (H) pinned Victor Wozniak 2:10. 103 - Val Wilbur (NR) won by forfeit. 112 - Guy Carlson (NR) pinned Ryan Johnson :57. 119 - Ross Crain (H) dec. Zach Wolff 6-3. 125 - Greg Barlow (H) pinned Randi Wallace :24. 130 - Jake Dalton (NR) dec. Sean Grunewaldt 8-3. 135 - Matt Cincotta (H) by tech. fall over Andy Hesselink.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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