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Spartans knock off state-ranked opponent

What's the best way to recover from a loss to state wrestling powerhouse Ellsworth?

How about knocking off another state-ranked opponent by more than 40 points. That's what the Somerset wrestling team did last Thursday, rolling to a 55-12 win at Spring Valley.

Somerset's theme for the week was "aggression" and that showed as the Spartans carried the action to the Spring Valley wrestlers in nearly every match. That started in the opening match, where Roy Hale earned a 3-1 win at 145 pounds. That was followed by a win from Nick Bushinger at 152 pounds. Senior Preston Anez faced one of Spring Valley's best wrestlers at 160 pounds. Anez rose to the challenge, earning a 7-0 win. Somerset head wrestling coach Ali Peterson said Anez has a great deal of patience, paired with trust in his style.

"He's perfectly okay with a 0-0 first period against a tough wrestler. Preston is a beast at riding. He feels very confident he can ride anybody," Peterson said.

The winning continued at 170, where Somerset's Garret Hecht topped another strong Spring Valley opponent, 3-0. The Spartans elected to forfeit at 182 pounds, letting Ethan Wegscheider rest injured ribs.

The wins kept coming at 195 pounds, from senior Peter Lepper.

"Peter hit a gorgeous half and wrenched him right over," Peterson said.

The Spartans added a new team member to wrestle 220 pounds with the addition of senior Brett Vetterkind. He hasn't wrestled since middle school. His first varsity match? Against a state-ranked opponent of course. Vetterkind wasn't fazed, going and putting his opponent to his back. Vetterkind was eventually pinned, but Peterson was enthused about the aggressiveness Vetterkind showed.

The next three matches were forfeits. The action took up at 120 pounds, where Somerset's Tyler Hantsbarger earned a pin. Nick Kearns and Jared Grahovac followed with decisions.

The final match of the night featured Somerset senior Steven Moncada making his season debut. Moncada wanted to fine tune his skills, so he wrestled the full six minutes in earning a 22-8 win.

The Spartans turn their attention to the Northern Badger Invitational this Thursday and Friday at River Falls High School. With the Spartans' strong start to the season, the coaches are confident they can get most of the Spartans seeded to start the 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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