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Four Somerset wrestlers will compete in front of home sectional tournament crowd

Somerset senior Alex Turner concluded his wrestling career by winning the fifth place match in the 220-pound weight class at the Amery regional meet.

Four Somerset wrestlers will get the rare opportunity of competing before their home fans at the WIAA Division 2 Sectional Wrestling Meet this Saturday in Somerset.

Seniors Bobby LeRoy and Gabe Flandrick and sophomore Max Praschak are advancing to the sectional as champions from last Saturday's Amery Division 2 Regional Tournament. Somerset freshman Logan Peterson took second place in the regional meet.

Somerset coach Mitch Flandrick said the goal for his team's performance was clear. Last year the Spartans got all four wrestlers who reached the sectional meet to qualify for state. The goal is the same this year. To reach state, wrestlers must finish among the top three placewinners in their sectional weight class.

LeRoy and Flandrick are state tournament veterans. Both placed in the Division 2 state meet last year. Praschak and Peterson are seeking their first trip to the WIAA state meet.

LeRoy, Flandrick and Praschak looked like seasoned veterans in winning their regional titles. LeRoy won the regional title at 138 pounds. In the semifinals he dispatched Amery's Austin Klugow by a 12-1 score. He faced the most polished opponent in the finals, Luck's Tristan Brewer, who brought a 39-3 record into the match. LeRoy, now 35-5, got an early edge and controlled the action, not letting Brewer get into any good scoring position. LeRoy scored a 3-1 win.

LeRoy opens the sectional tournament with a tough draw in Ellsworth senior Dan Langer. Langer is just 14-4 this season because he's been slowed by an injury, but he's been a highly respected opponent for several years.

Flandrick rolled to the regional title with little trouble. He pinned Amery's Alex Warman at 2:18 in the semifinals. Flandrick wrestled a smart, cautious match in the finals, defeating Chetek-Prairie Farm's Mitchell Wozniak 7-1.

Flandrick takes a 39-1 record into the sectionals, but that doesn't mean anything is guaranteed for him. The 160-pound class may be the strongest in the sectional and Flandrick gets the toughest possible draw. He will face an old nemesis, St. Croix Central senior Cody Nyhagen, who carries a 33-2 record. Every wrestler in this sectional bracket has at least 27 wins.

Praschak has been dinged up for much of the season. Now at full health, he was more than any of his regional opponents could handle. In the regional semifinals, Praschak (19-10) built a 10-0 lead against Luck's Wade Richey before pinning him in 44 seconds. Richey has a 25-9 record. Praschak then knocked off the top seed in the finals, pinning Chetek-Prairie Farm's Tanner Zwiefelhofer in 4:48. Zwiefelhofer has a 26-9 record.

Praschak has a favorable opening draw at the sectional, facing Northwestern sophomore Jackson Doller, who has a 12-13 record.

Peterson was the surprise of the regional meet for the Spartans. Peterson punched his ticket by winning a 2-0 overtime clash over Chetek-Prairie Farm's Bucky Nelson in the 132-pound semifinals. Peterson (21-14) showed good patience in regulation, before working around Nelson (26-12) for the overtime takedown.

Peterson also led 3-0 in the sectional title against Amery's Bennet Paulson, before Paulson came back to win 7-3.

Peterson has the toughest draw in the sectional bracket, opening against Robert Csukker (38-5) of Stanley-Boyd.

Bailey White and Gage Kreucher both just missed advancing to the sectionals for the Spartans. They both won two matches in the regional, but took third place, White at 145 pounds and Kreucher at 152 pounds.

Sectional details

Wrestling will begin at 11 a.m. in Somerset's Division 2 sectional meet this Saturday. There are no advance ticket sales. Ticket sales will begin at 9:30 a.m. at the high school main entrance. Tickets are $7 for all sessions, $5 for the second session and finals and $4 for the finals.