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Somerset wrestlers can't overcome forfeits

One of the matches that swung in Somerset’s favor on Thursday was at 182 pounds, where freshman Dylan Anez scored a second period pin.

They made a game effort of it, but the Somerset wrestlers couldn’t overcome the four forfeits in their lineup in last Thursday’s dual match against Durand.

The Spartans led until the final two weight classes, which were both forfeited to Durand. Those forfeits turned a 35-29 Spartan lead into a 41-35 Durand victory.

Somerset coach Trent Larrieu said seeing the team lose due to the forfeits only strengthens the team’s resolve to recruit athletes next summer to make sure the lineup is filled next season.

The Spartans won five of the nine matches that were held against Durand.  Fred Mangine, Logan Peterson, Dylan Anez, and Max Praschak all won with pins and Bailey White scored a 16-0 technical fall win.

Larrieu said one of the Spartans’ best efforts was in a losing cause. He said junior Josh Westmoreland forced the action for most of the match in the 285-pound class, losing to Ben Zanto 6-3. Zanto pinned Westmoreland in the Northern Badger Invitational.

“Josh was controlling the match. He’s really improved by leaps and bounds,” Larrieu said.

The pivotal match proved to be at 170 pounds, where Spartan senior Gage Kreucher was defeated 15-10. Kreucher had none of the spark that is usually quite noticeable in his efforts.

“He was really sick and he tried stepping up for the team,” Larrieu said.

On Saturday, the Spartans took part in the Eden Prairie Invitational.  Because of the inexperience in the Spartan lineup, Larrieu elected to have four wrestlers compete in the varsity portion of the tournament and have the rest of the team compete in the junior varsity side of the tournament.

The big news for the Spartans was Praschak’s championship in the 182-pound bracket. Praschak was on the attack all through the tournament, winning in the quarterfinals and semifinals on technical falls.  In the finals, Praschak faced a state-ranked opponent from St. Michael-Albertville.  Praschak put the matter to rest, raising his season record to 24-2 with a pin in 1:20.

“That’s probably the best I’ve seen him wrestle,” Larrieu said of Praschak. “He was being more aggressive, asserting himself.”

In the JV meet, Somerset freshman Sam Woods was the champion in his bracket. The four other Spartans in the JV meet all placed second in their classes.

The Spartans will try to log their second Middle Border Conference win this Thursday when they wrestle at Osceola. This match was postponed and has been moved to Thursday, Feb. 6.  The Spartans won’t be wrestling this Saturday. Instead, they’ll be part of the crew working at the Bass Lake Ice Fishing 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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