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Somerset wrestlers get the toughest opponent done first

Junior Max Praschak (top) was one of two Somerset wrestlers to earn wins at Ellsworth last Thursday.

The schedule will get easier for the Somerset wrestling team.

It has to. The Spartans faced defending Middle Border Conference champion Ellsworth in their season opener last Thursday. Wrestling at Ellsworth under new coach Trent Larrieu, the Spartans were crushed 69-7.

The Spartans’ challenging first week continued on Saturday when they wrestled in the John Timm Invitational in Glenwood City. While the Spartans were competitive in their five matches, they took team losses in all five.

The first bout of the season did go in the Spartans’ favor. The match at Ellsworth opened at 182 pounds. Somerset junior Max Praschak is expected to be one of the elite wrestlers in the conference and he started that way, beating Ellsworth’s Adam Schuster 14-0.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, they didn’t win again until the final match of the night. Senior Gage Kreucher earned that win, an 8-6 decision over Ellsworth’s Brandon VanderMarliere.

The Spartans forfeited four weight classes against Ellsworth. They continued to forfeit those classes on Saturday and that turned some close team battles in their opponents’ favor in Glenwood City on Saturday.

The closest of the five matches on Saturday was a 42-28 loss to Spooner. The Spartans also dropped matches against Neillsville, Triton, Minn., Glenwood City and Amery.

Senior Bailey White put together one of the best performances of any wrestler in the tournament, winning all five of his matches at 145 pounds. Larrieu said this was an excellent response after White lost his match in the Ellsworth dual on Thursday.

Larrieu said the Spartans improved steadily throughout the action on Saturday, with their best performances coming in the final round against Amery. He pointed to the wins from White, Praschak, Logan Peterson and Fred Mangine as signs that the Spartans were moving in the right direction.

The Spartans will wrestle at home for the first time this season on Thursday when they host New Richmond in a conference dual match. While winning dual matches is important, Larrieu wants his wrestlers to see the bigger picture.

“Our focus is getting better every day. We want to be our best for conference, regionals, sectionals and state,” he said.

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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