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Wrestling: Tigers win title at Trinity tournament

New Richmond's Jake LaVenture (right) locked up with Prescott's Joe Schulte in one of the most competitive bouts in last Thursday's match, with Schulte winning 5-4. Tom Lindfors / RiverTown Multimedia

The team championship at the Trinity Invitational was a two-team battle, with New Richmond and Pine Island, Minn., separated by two points headed into the finals.

The Tigers performed well in the finals, including winning three weight class titles, in earning the championship of Saturday's tournament at River Ridge (Minn.) High School. The Tigers won the 12-team tournament with 175 points. Pine Island ranked second with 163 points and Glenwood City was third with 124.5 points.

Weight class champions for New Richmond were Cayden Henning, Dylan Wachter and Jake LaVenture. Henning won the title at 120 pounds, Wachter at 152 pounds and LaVenture at 182 pounds.

Henning was the third seed at 120 pounds, but he proved he belonged at the top of the class. He pinned his first two opponents, before defeating Monticello, Minn., senior Zach Zavadil 9-0 in the finals.

"Henning had a great day," said New Richmond coach Jeff Swanson, who said it was likely the best wrestling the sophomore has done at the high school level. "He was fundamentally sound, stayed in good position and dominated kids."

Wachter was the top seed at 152 pounds and he overpowered all his opponents. He raised his record to 9-1 with the three wins. All came by pins, including pinning Pine Island's Broghan Kunz in 4:55 of the finals.

LaVenture was in the smallest class of the day, with just three wrestlers competing at 182 pounds. He pinned both of his opponents in the first round to lock up the class championship.

Also reaching the finals were Brandon Dennis and Nathan Fehlen, who took second place in their classes. Tyler Dennis and Christian Moeller were third place finishers for the Tigers.

Saturday's meet had a rough start for the Tigers with senior Dylan Minke going down with a knee injury. Swanson said he's unsure how long Minke will be sidelined.

"We knew we'd have to make up the points," Swanson said, saying he thought Minke would have reached the finals in his class. "The rest of the kids picked it up."

The Tigers also had a good night last Thursday, defeating Prescott 42-24, to raise the Tigers' record in the Middle Border Conference to 2-1.

Swanson said he expected this match to be close, figuring the win would hinge on the 160, 182 and 106 pound weight classes.

The meet started at 160 and the Tigers got immediate good news. With the match tied 5-5 in the final 20 seconds, Moeller was able to take his opponent down directly to his back, getting four points for a 9-5 win. Moeller beat an opponent who had pinned him at the Eau Claire tournament the previous week.

LaVenture hasn't had success against Prescott's Joe Schulte in the past. This time, the 182-pound match was a true battle. LaVenture lost 5-4, but was working for a takedown as time ran out.

At 106 pounds, Matt Harle only gave up three points in a 5-0 loss.

Swanson said he figured Prescott was counting pins in all three of those classes. Instead, Prescott only came out three points ahead in those pivotal bouts.

The Tigers got the job done where they needed to get the team win. Nathan Fehlen, Trevor Hildebrandt, Tyler Dennis and Wachter all won with pins and Brandon Dennis earned a decision win at 132 pounds.

Swanson said the smart efforts by the Tigers in losses were just as important as the individual wins in this team victory.

"Each kid had a job to do and each kid got the job done," he said.

The Tigers don't compete again until Dec. 29-30 when they wrestle at the Bi-State Classic in La Crosse.

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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