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Somerset wrestlers face all levels of opponents

Having senior Bailey White (top) healthy will help Somerset’s chances in Saturday’s Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament.

The Whitetail Adrenaline Shootout was the name for the dual meet tournament that included the Somerset wrestling team on Friday in Menomonie.

If the Spartans were looking for a wide mix of opponents, they got it. They faced a top-ranked team in the state, a team with more forfeits than the Spartans give up and a team of junior varsity all-stars.

Somerset was placed in a pool with Spring Valley-Elmwood and the JV All-Stars, made up of the reserves from the Menomonie and Spring Valley-Elmwood teams. SV-E is ranked first in the state in Division 3 and it showed, as they defeated the Spartans 66-10. Max Praschak and Fred Mangine posted Somerset’s wins in the match.

Somerset coach Trent Larrieu said his team wrestled competitively with its high-powered opponent, with Logan Peterson, Bailey White, Gage Kreucher and Josh Westmoreland all losing close matches.

In the second round, the JV All-Stars defeated Somerset 59-22.

“Both those teams have 40-some kids out,” Larrieu said of Spring Valley and Menomonie. “In a wrestling room that big, kids are going to get better.”

That moved the Spartans to the fifth place match where they faced Shawano. Shawano only had six wrestlers, and the Spartans won five of the six matches that were held to score a 51-6 victory. Somerset’s wins came on pins from Peterson, Westmoreland and Harrison Kern and decisions from Praschak, Kreucher and White.

Larrieu has been upbeat in his assessments of his wrestlers throughout his first season as the Spartans’ coach. That changed after the Spartans dropped a 45-18 loss to Prescott last Thursday as Somerset celebrated Senior Night and Parents’ Night.

“From top to bottom, nobody performed to their ability,” Larrieu said. “It just seemed like the kids weren’t ready to go.”

Kreucher and White scored Somerset’s only wins on the mat against Prescott. Kreucher was victorious at 170 pounds with a 12-7 decision and White won the 145-pound bout with an 8-5 decision. Praschak and Westmoreland received forfeits.

The Spartans complete their dual meet season this Thursday when they wrestle at Osceola. The Spartans then turn their sights to the 2014 Middle Border Conference championships, which will be wrestled at Osceola on Saturday. Action is slated to begin at 9:30 a.m.

Larrieu said the Spartans are aiming for fourth place in the team standings on Saturday and he thinks the team can win two or three individual championships.

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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