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No wins, but Panthers get team victory

How's this for a unique win for the St. Croix Central wrestling team?

The Panthers didn't score an individual win, but were still able to defeat Luck-Frederic-Grantsburg 36-34 in the final round of the Osceola Invitational on Saturday, Dec. 16.

How's that? LFG only had six wrestlers for Saturday's match and all six of their wrestlers were winners. Five of those matches ended in pins. St. Croix Central freshman Tadon Holzer saved the team victory for the Panthers by only losing in a 13-5 decision. By giving up four team points instead of six, Holzer assured the Panthers of their first team victory of the season. That's because Central accepted six forfeits, giving them a 36-34 win over the co-op team.

The obstacle of being young is tough on the Panthers. That was compounded last week by several of the wrestlers being sick, meaning they were short-handed for the tournament on Saturday and for the dual match against Baldwin-Woodville last Thursday.

In Thursday's match, the Panthers lost to B-W, 51-15. The Panthers were able to string together two pins in the upper weights. Oliver Olsen earned his first varsity victory with a pin in the 220-pound class. Nathan Berends followed with a pin in the 285-pound bout. Senior Frank Holter earned the Panthers' third win of the night with a 6-3 decision over Landen Lorentson at 138 pounds.

That was the start of a long weekend for the Panthers. Saturday started with the Panthers losing to a vastly improved River Falls team, 65-12. Central's wins came on a pin from Holter, a 10-4 decision for senior Derek Rock at 182 pounds and a 5-1 decision by senior George Vondriska at 160 pounds.

Two pins and two forfeits netted the Panthers 24 points in the next round, a 58-24 loss to Cumberland. Holzer and Holter picked up the pins for the Panthers in that match.

The next match resulted in a first for Panther coach Brad Holzer. He's never lost 84-0 until Saturday, when the Panthers were steamrolled by Clear Lake.

That was followed by a 63-16 loss to Osceola. Holter and Holzer were winners, and sophomore Braeden Bloom notched his first win of the season with a pin at 145 pounds.

The day ended with Central's unique win against Luck-Frederic-Grantsburg.

The Panthers don't compete again until the Northern Badger Invitational, which will be held at River Falls High School on Dec. 28-29. Coach Holzer said the break comes at an opportune time, giving the young Panthers some time to build upon what they've learned. Holzer said the team will work to sharpen its basics, and also to work on chain wrestling.

"We get the A move, but we can't chain it into B and C," Holzer explained.

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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