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Panther wrestlers take fourth at La Crosse

Add another impressive effort to the fast start of the St. Croix Central wrestling team.

The Panthers were without five starters for Saturday's La Crosse Logan Invitational, still they finished in fourth place, 32 points out of first place.

Seven of the Panther wrestlers placed among the top three in their weight class at the tournament.

Mark Shaver was the Panthers' lone champion of the tournament. Shaver ran his season record to 8-1 by sweeping his three matches in the tournament.

Curt Hinkel, Mike Winkler and Sam Wells each took second place in their classes. Dan Mataczynski, Mike Nilssen and Brett Bierbrauer each were third place finishers.

Getting fourth place finishes were Dez Zimmerman and Kyle Helgeson.

The second place finish by Wells showed how far he's come in his wrestling career, said Panther coach Brad Holzer. He said Mataczynski and Bierbrauer also have made huge improvements.

"Dan probably had the best tournament of his career, he put the three phases of wrestling together," said Holzer. "Brett's come a long way since last year, he's beating kids who last year would have beat him. He's one of our hardest workers in the practice room."

The title won by Shaver highlights another of the wrestlers who has made vast improvement.

"He controlled all of his opponents. On top, he's a lights-out rider," Holzer said.

The Panthers wrestled a dual match at Somerset on Tuesday. They now have a two-week break, before they compete in the Northern Badger Invitational at UW-River Falls, on Dec. 28-29.

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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