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Seven Somerset wrestlers are placewinners at Northern Badger Invitational

Somerset’s Nick Kearns (top) was one of seven Spartans who were placewinners at the 2016 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational.

One of the bigger surprises to come out of the 2017 Northern Badger Wrestling Invitational was the performance of the Somerset Spartans.

The Spartans took nine wrestlers into the varsity portion of the tournament on Thursday and Friday at River Falls High School. Of those nine, seven Spartans were placewinners in the tournament.

Leading Somerset’s performance was Preston Anez, who was the third place finisher at 145 pounds. Josh Maack and Steven Moncada were both fifth place finishers. Jared Grahovac took tenth, Garret Hecht 11th and Nick Kearns and Nick Bushinger both took 12th place in their classes.

Anez improved to 11-3 for the season by going 4-1 in the tournament. His only loss came on a 9-7 decision to Cumberland’s Isaiah Skidmore in the semifinals. Anez bounced back with a 7-2 win over Osceola’s Diego Lowney in the third place match. Anez threw Lowney for a five-point move in overtime to earn that win.

Maack is now 13-2 after going 5-1 in the 113-pound bracket of the tournament. His only loss came against Phillips in the quarterfinals. Otherwise, he controlled all his matches, soundly defeating several opponents who had impressive records.

Moncada moved down to 126 pounds for the tournament and the move paid big dividends. He’s 11-4 after his 5-1 finish in the tournament. In the fifth place match, he defeated Baldwin-Woodville’s Jordan Bonte, 15-5. Bonte has a 16-3 record.

Grahovac opened the tournament with a pair of wins and went 3-3 in the 132-pound class. Hecht also opened with two wins before losing to undefeated Brock Schlough of Boyceville in the 160-pound quarterfinals. Hecht finished 3-3, including pinning Spring Valley’s Santana Schlegel in the 11th place match.

Kearns and Bushinger were pleasant surprises with their 12th place finishes. Kearns lost his opening match, then reeled off three straight wins in the 120-pound class, including an impressive win against Durand. Bushinger was able to move down to 138 pounds and he earned two solid wins.

Somerset coach Ali Peterson said the progress shown is a result of the progress the Spartans have made in improving their array of skills. He said nearly every Spartan appeared to perform better the deeper they got into matches.

“It was practical, smart basic wrestling. Conditioning was certainly part of it. They were riding really tough, just wearing (their opponents) out,” Peterson said.

The Spartans will be on the road twice this week, but neither trip will take them out of the county. The Spartans wrestle a dual match at New Richmond at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The Spartans head back to New Richmond on Saturday for the annual New Richmond Invitational.

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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