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New Richmond wrestlers hope for healthy Middle Border Conference tournament

New Richmond’s Caleb Neumann (left) has his opponent locked tightly in a hold, seconds before Neumann earned the pin in Monday’s win over Baldwin-Woodville. 1 / 2
New Richmond freshman Zack Mundth (right) tries to maintain control of his opponent during the 106-pound match against Baldwin-Woodville on Monday.2 / 2

The New Richmond wrestling team was hoping to make an impact in the team competition at this Saturday’s 2014 Middle Border Conference Wrestling Tournament.

The Tigers were building those hopes upon having a full lineup available for Saturday. That doesn’t appear likely. The Tigers will likely be missing several starters when they compete in the MBC meet, which begins at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday at Osceola High School.

Even with the short-handed lineup, the Tigers are the favorites to finish third in the MBC tournament, based upon their 5-2 finish in the MBC dual meet season. The Tigers finished their MBC duals on Monday with a 46-28 home mat win over Baldwin-Woodville. The Tigers were winners at Durand last Thursday, 54-24.

Tiger coach Mark Neumann said the question marks leading into Saturday make it hard to gauge what impact the team will have.

“I thought we’d be a fly in the ointment,” Neumann said, in hopes the Tigers could contend against Ellsworth and Amery. “If we had everyone in there and had a good day, I could see us getting five or six to finals.”

The Tigers will likely be without their top options at 182 and 220 because of injuries. Freshman Bryce Younger is also a question mark because it’s unknown whether he’ll be available after a family funeral.

Coach Neumann said the Tigers can still concentrate on their individual goals if they don’t have the opportunity to compete evenly with the MBC frontrunners.

The regular season finished Monday with the home meet against Baldwin-Woodville. It took some time for the Tigers to get rolling in this match. B-W forfeited to three of the Tigers’ top wrestlers, Seth Leavens, Shane Blackman and Derek Dowd. Though the Tigers led 18-16 after the first seven matches, they hadn’t really accomplished anything.

That changed in the upper half of the lineup, starting with John Keifer at 152 pounds. Keifer continued to be unbeaten in MBC matches, beating Bo Orton 10-0. Caleb Neumann followed with one of his best recent matches, earning a pin in the 160-pound class. Senior Dom Ficociello overpowered his opponent for a pin in the 170-pound class.

In the upper weights, the Tigers got pins from Kevin Kern and Jake Rose.

Last Thursday’s win at Durand was a good test for the Tigers. Durand is turning its program around and the Panthers supplied ample opposition for the Tigers.

“Durand has a lot of kids out. It’s good to see their program on the rise,” Coach Neumann said.

The Tigers were able to get pins from Rose, Younger, Blackman, Garret Hildebrandt and Keifer. Leavens won by technical fall and Dowd and Neumann earned decision victories.

One of the best matches of the night was Dowd against Hunter Adler, Durand’s best wrestler, in the 145-pound bout. Dowd was able to earn a 6-2 win.

“We wrestled pretty tough,” Coach Neumann said. “Everyone went out pretty business-like and got it done.”

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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