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Blackman gets 100th win as Tiger wrestlers have productive start

Seth Leavens (top) is one of the Tiger wrestlers who appears ready to make a much larger impact this season. 1 / 2
New Richmond freshman Alex Schmidt (top) notched a pin in his first varsity match against Prescott last week.2 / 2

Defeating a quality Middle Border Conference opponent and seeing the team leader reach a career milestone made for a successful opening week for the New Richmond wrestling team.

The Tigers opened their season on Thursday, scoring a 49-13 win over Prescott. That was followed up by making the trip to the annual Lakeville North tournament, where Tiger senior Shane Blackman earned his 100th career victory.

Blackman earned his 100th career victory when he defeated his second opponent during the Lakeville North tournament. Blackman is a three-time state qualifier and his numbers rank among the best in Tiger team history. He is the 10th New Richmond wrestler to reach the 100-career win milestone. Tiger coach Mark Neumann chose not to speak about Blackman’s wrestling success, but his character, when asked about Blackman’s career.

“Kids like to be around Shane; he’s a true leader by example. He listens, he works hard, he’s got great morals. As good a wrestler as he is, he’s probably a better young man,” Neumann said.

Blackman took second place in the Lakeville tournament, losing to the same wrestler who defeated him last year, David Flynn of Scott West, a Minnesota state placewinner. Blackman lost by a 3-0 score.

Blackman was one of four Tigers who were placewinners in the tournament. Derek Dowd and Caleb Neumann were both fifth place finishers and Seth Leavens took sixth place. Dowd’s only loss came by a 5-4 score and Neumann’s only loss came against a Minnesota defending state champion.

The Tigers placed 10th in the team standings at Lakeville. Because the Tigers are a younger team, they didn’t bring big career records into the tournament, so most of them ended up in the lower ranks of the seeding. The Tigers lost six of eight matches in the opening round, mostly against wrestlers who were seeded first or second in their bracket.

The Tigers took 13 wrestlers to the JV portion of the tournament. Four came away with undefeated records and four more went 2-1 in the tournament.

While the 49-13 score in last Thursday’s dual match may look one-sided, Prescott gave the Tigers a good battle in nearly every weight class. The Tigers won eight of the 10 matches that were wrestled. Coach Neumann said the tough competition was exactly what the team needed to get the wrestlers in a sharp competitive mode right away.

The dual meet started with freshman Alex Schmidt earning his first varsity win on a second period pin at 195 pounds. Kevin Kern followed with an overtime victory.

Also scoring victories for the Tigers were Blackman, Garret Hildebrandt, Dowd, Michael Steel, Neumann and Dominic Ficociello.

The Tigers’ next Middle Border Conference dual match will be wrestled this Thursday when they compete at Somerset. This weekend the Tigers will be part of Duals in the Dells tournament at Wisconsin Dells. The JV wrestlers will compete on Friday with the varsity tournament on Saturday. The tournament is held at the Chula Vista Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

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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