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Baillargeon wins title at Faribault Invite

Drew Baillargeon won a championship and Tyler LeRoy and Steve Vanasse each took second place in their weight divisions when the Somerset wrestling team competed in the Faribault Invitational on Dec. 18.

Somerset took 10 wrestlers to the varsity tournament and took fifth place among the eight teams in the meet.

Baillargeon had to win wild matches in the semifinals and finals to get his meet championship. In the semifinals at 135 pounds he was trailing a wrestler from Eastview by one in the third period. Baillargeon let his opponent go, then got the takedown to tie the match. He then let his opponent go again, and got the takedown that gave him an 8-7 win.

In the finals Baillargeon faced a wrestler from Totino-Grace who was ranked second in Minnesota.This match was a classic. Baillargeon led 2-1 after the first period. Each wrestler got a reversal in the second period, leaving Baillargeon ahead 4-3. Baillargeon then got an escape in the third period, but was taken down, leaving the match tied 5-5 as it headed into overtime.

Neither wrestler was able to get a point in the overtime, so it went to double overtime. The Totino-Grace wrestler had the choice, and he chose the up position, thinking he could contain Baillargeon for the 30-second period. He couldn't. In fact, Baillargeon had escaped within 10 seconds to get the 6-5 win. This is Baillargeon's second overtime win of the season and raises his record to 9-1.

"It's a huge win, it validates the work he does in practice," said Somerset coach Dennis Potter.

LeRoy was looking for his third straight championship at the Faribault meet. In the 125-pound semifinals he scored a 7-4 win over a wrestler he beat in overtime at the tournament last year. That put him in the finals against an undefeated opponent from Kasson-Mantorville. LeRoy got thrown early in the match for five points and his opponent was able to wrestle defensively the rest of the match, leaving LeRoy with a 10-1 defeat.

Vanasse ranks as the surprise of the tournament after entering the meet with a losing record. Vanasse was able to get down to 119 pounds, which made a world of difference for him. He pinned his first two opponents. In the finals he faced a Totino-Grace wrestler who reached state last year. Vanasse gave the T-G wrestler all he could handle before Vanasse was beaten 6-3.

"At 119 he's as strong if not stronger than his opponents," Potter said.

Seniors Andy Hecht and Ambrose Martell took third place for the Spartans. Hecht scored three wins in the match. In the third place match he was able to avenge his only loss of the day.

"It was probably one of his best days as a wrestler for Somerset," Potter said.

Martell also earned three wins. His only loss came in the semifinals. He was leading 12-7 when he was siderolled and pinned.

Nate Hildebrant and Mitch Grahovac each took fourth place for the Spartans at Faribault.

The Spartans are wrestling this Tuesday and Wednesday at the annual Northern Badger Classic at UW-River Falls. The next outing for the Spartans will be on Thursday, Jan. 6. The schedule for that night has been amended where it will now be a double-dual. The Spartans will wrestle Durand at 6:15 p.m.; then they will wrestle St. Croix Central at 7:45 p.m. in the second match that night.

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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