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Injury takes down New Richmond's Shane Blackman at state wrestling tournament

New Richmond junior Shane Blackman turns his opening opponent for back points during the Division 1 state wrestling championships in Madison.

An injury struck down Shane Blackman's hopes of earning a medal in the WIAA Division 1 State Wrestling Championships.

Blackman injured a knee and an ankle in the final moments of the second period of his second round match in the Division 1 113-pound bracket at the Kohl Center in Madison on Friday. Blackman tried to continue wrestling, but had little strength in the injured leg. He lost his second round match 6-2 and was defeated by technical fall in his opening wrestleback bout on Saturday.

Blackman had opened the tournament on Thursday with an impressive 5-0 win over Kaukauna sophomore Bailey VanHandel. Blackman scored a takedown late in the first period. Almost immediately at the start of the second period, Blackman was able to turn VanHandel for three back points. Blackman spent the rest of the match in a tough ride, rarely letting VanHandel get back to his base.

That moved Blackman into a second round match against Stoughton freshman Collin Kraus. Blackman got the only takedown of the first period, leading 2-1 heading into the second period. Kraus began the period in the down position and was able to work for an escape.

Late in the period, Blackman had one of Kraus' legs lifted into the air. He spent more than 20 seconds trying get a takedown before Kraus was able to scramble off the mat with 10 seconds left in the period. On the restart, Kraus dove in, with his shoulder into Blackman's midsection. Blackman's leg was pinned beneath the two wrestlers as they hit the mat. Kraus was awarded the takedown as the clock ran out, while Blackman remained on the mat, holding his leg in pain.

Blackman was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee and a high ankle sprain.

"He was in a lot of pain," said Tiger coach Mark Neumann. "He had pain shooting down the leg from his knee to his ankle."

Neumann said Blackman won't need surgery for the injury, but will need to be inactive for a month to allow the injuries to heal.

Blackman limped out to the center of the mat for the third period, taking the down position. Unable to push off the injured leg, he wasn't able to escape from Kraus. Kraus was able to get two back points in the last 10 seconds of the match to make the final score 6-2.

Blackman wanted to try competing in Saturday's wrestlebacks, but there was little strength in the leg 12 hours after the injury. He lost to Sauk Prairie's Eddie Smith 17-2.

Kraus went on to take third place in the tournament. The wrestler who beat Kraus in the semifinals, Waukesha South senior Bill Prochniewski, won the state championship.

"A healthy Shane, maybe we're looking at a state champion," Neumann said. "If there's any justice, he'll win state next year."

This was Blackman's third trip to the state tournament. He put in substantial time in the off-season to improve his technique, including spending a month at a J Robinson wrestling camp at the University of Minnesota.