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St. Croix Central wrestlers storm past Glenwood City

Momentum isn’t a factor in wrestling as frequently as it is in other sports, but a wave of momentum carried the St. Croix Central wrestlers to a 32-18 win at Glenwood City last Thursday.

St. Croix Central coach Brad Holzer had a decision to make for the opening two matches of the night. It was drawn that the match would start at 160 pounds. Holzer figured that either of his two young wrestlers in that range, Trent Smith and Kyle Larson, could beat Glenwood City’s 160-pounder. The question was, which could stand up better against Isaac Tuttle, Glenwood City’s state-ranked 170-pounder.

Holzer decided to have Larson take the 160-pound match and he responded with a victory. Smith then stepped into the ring against Tuttle and came up with a huge effort.

Holzer had scouted Tuttle and knew that he exerts a great deal of effort in the first few minutes of his matches. The plan was to have Smith wrestle cautiously in the opening minutes and save his energy for the final minutes. Smith trailed by two points entering the third period and he got an escape in the opening seconds of the period. Smith stayed on the attack and was able to take down Tuttle with 20 seconds remaining to earn the win.

Holzer said that win was the turning point of the evening for his team.

“The energy it gave the team the rest of the night turned what I expected to be a tight match into a blowout,” Holzer said.

Tuttle was the fourth-ranked 170-pounder in last week’s Wisconsin Wrestling Online state rankings. Holzer said the win showed Smith’s abilities, especially since he was wrestling up 15 pounds to compete at 170.

“Trent is a workout fanatic,” Holzer said. “I think he could wrestle matches back-to-back-to-back.”

Brian Gibb followed by wrestling a smart, patient match to win by a 5-0 decision over Glenwood City’s Blayze Wood at 182 pounds. Central’s Luke VanBeek put up a good battle against one of Glenwood City’s best wrestlers, Jeff Kopacz, losing 1-0 at 195 pounds.

Another close match went the Panthers’ way when Decker Grass got a third period takedown to edge Donovan Fornal by one point in the 220-pound match.

The Panthers also did well in the lower weights. Jake Nyhagen earned a major decision at 113 pounds and Drew Malecek won by decision at 120 pounds.

When Holzer had penciled in his estimates for the match, he thought it might come down to the 138-pound class, where Central’s Connor Burton faced Damian Hoitomt. Burton showed there was nothing to worry about, pinning Hoitomt in 38 seconds.

“Burton manhandled him,” Holzer said.

The final Panther win came at 145 pounds, where Ryan Gulich earned a decision over Jacob Carlson.

This Saturday, the Panthers will be competing in the annual combined meet between the Big Rivers and Dunn-St. Croix conferences. The meet will be held at River Falls High School. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m.

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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