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Four New Richmond wrestlers place at Bi-State Classic

New Richmond senior Dominic Ficociello (right) continued his highly productive season by placing seventh in the 182-pound weight class at the Bi-State Classic.

Even with senior standout Shane Blackman sidelined with an injury, the New Richmond wrestling team was quite competitive in the 2013 Bi-State Classic in La Crosse on Friday and Saturday.

Four Tigers were placewinners in the tournament. The Tigers competed in Division 1 of the tournament, placing seventh among 18 Division 1 teams. They finished ahead of long-time wrestling powers like Wausau West and D.C. Everest.

Junior Derek Dowd was the top placewinner for the Tigers, taking fifth place in the 138-pound bracket. Freshman Bryce Younger took sixth place at 120 pounds. Senior Dominic Ficociello took seventh place at 182 pounds and sophomore Caleb Neumann ended in 10th place at 160 pounds.

Dowd faced a number of strong opponents throughout his eight matches in the tournament, where he went 6-2.  Both of his matches came against top finishers in the bracket. His last win was his biggest, a 4-3 over Ellsworth’s Brad Cain in the fifth place match.

Younger ran into several tough customers in the 120-pound class. After winning his first two matches, Younger’s progress was stopped by defending Division 1 state champion Ben Thornton of La Crosse Central. Thornton beat Younger 11-2, on his way to his fourth straight Bi-State championship.

Younger then put together four straight wins in the consolation matches. Coach Mark Neumann thought Younger may have tired a bit at the end of the second day, losing two matches to opponents with a combined 35-5 record.

“Bryce had a great tournament as a freshman. He beat some real quality kids,” Coach Neumann said.

Ficociello took seventh in a stacked 182-pound class. He beat an opponent with a 15-2 record and won another match in overtime. His seventh place match was another nail-biter, edging Luke Dodd of Eastview, Minn., 4-3.

“Dominic is starting to be a force. He’s wrestling stronger, with such patience,” said Coach Neumann.

The Tigers had several big wins against Ellsworth and Caleb Neumann was trying to pull off the biggest. He was ahead of defending state champion Gable Frandsen when Frandsen quickly turned him and got a pin at the end of the second period.  This was easily one of the toughest brackets in the tournament, with all three top-ranked wrestlers in the state as part of the bracket.

It wasn’t just those four Tigers who had good tournaments. Nine Tigers earned at least two wins at Bi-State. Garrett Hildebrandt had four wins, while Austin Anderson and Kevin Kern each scored three wins.

Coach Neumann said he was pleased with the competitive approach the Tigers showed in the tournament. He said there were no blowouts, that the Tigers made every opponent work for their wins.

The Tigers now have some time to get healthy before they compete again. Their next match won’t be until Thursday, Jan. 9, when they face state-ranked Amery. Two days later, the Tigers will host the 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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