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St. Croix Central wrestlers win three of five matches at Osceola

Though the day started with two losses, the St. Croix Central wrestling team finished Saturday’s Osceola Invitational with a successful flurry of wins.

The Panthers opened the tournament by losing to talented teams from River Falls and Cumberland. The Panthers then got on a roll, scoring wins over Clear Lake, Barron and Osceola.

A number of the Panthers had excellent days in the tournament. Freshman Cole Refsnider went through the tournament without a defeat, winning four matches and receiving one forfeit.

“He was a nice surprise,” said Central coach Brad Holzer. “He had a couple close matches where he came through in the end.”

Holzer said Refsnider is one of three wrestlers at 170 pounds who are battling for that spot in the lineup each week.

Four Panthers went 4-1 in the tournament. Brian Gibb, Ryan Gulich, Jacob Nyhagen and Drew Malecek all went through the tournament with four wins.  Their losses came against top flight opponents. Malecek’s loss came against Clear Lake’s Zach Elmer. Nyhagen lost to Barron’s David Pintens.  Gibb and Gulich lost to two of River Falls’ top wrestlers. Gibb lost a decision to Sebastian Larson and Gulich was beaten by Zach Radkey-Pechacek.

The opening draw for the Panthers was River Falls and the Panthers weren’t at their sharpest, losing 46-30. That was followed by a 43-36 setback against Cumberland. The Panthers won their final match in their pool, beating Clear Lake 51-26. That was followed by a 50-27 win over Barron. The Panthers ended the day with their second win of the season over Osceola, this time by a 41-39 score.

Boyceville won the tournament, beating River Falls 42-36 in the championship dual match.

This Friday and Saturday the Panthers will wrestle in the Northern Badger Invitational at River Falls High School.  Holzer said he thinks Gibb and Gulich are in position to get favorable seeds after placing in the Northern Badger last year. He said Nyhagen and Malecek have put together strong records that could also earn them a seed in the tournament.

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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