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Bi-State proves too much for Tigers

Tiger senior Dylan Wachter (top), shown in a match earlier this season, was one of the team's top finishers at the Bi-State Classic. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia

There have been years where the New Richmond wrestling team has fared quite well at the Bi-State Classic.

This wasn't one of them.

The Tigers were unable to have a single wrestler placing among the top 12 wrestlers at Bi-State, which was held Friday and Saturday, Dec. 29-30 at La Crosse.

There were 61 teams competing at the tournament, so the competition was steep. That knowledge didn't help the Tigers, who came away discouraged from the major holiday tournament.

"It was the worst we wrestled all year and it was not the time to do it," said Tiger coach Jeff Swanson.

Tyler Dennis and Dylan Wachter were the only Tigers who advanced to the second day of the tournament.

The depth of talent in the tournament was the main reason the Tigers weren't able to get any wrestler above 15th place in the tournament. Swanson used the 120-weight class as an example, because there were 13 returning state qualifiers in that bracket. All three of the top-ranked teams in the state, Holmen, Luxemburg-Casco and Stratford, were among the teams competing in the tournament.

Record-wise, the Tigers didn't fare that badly, with six wrestlers finishing 2-2. That included Brandon Dennis, Tyler Dennis, Wachter, Nathan Fehlen, Travis Messer and Ryan Muller.

Swanson said the coaching staff had a long meeting after the tournament. The main subject was on how to get the Tigers over the hump to win the close matches they'll need to win to advance in the WIAA tournaments later in the season.

"When you get that really good competition (like Bi-State) it highlights the things we need to work on," Swanson said.

The Tigers will face challenging competition twice this week. The Tigers wrestle at Somerset on Thursday in a Middle Border Conference dual meet. The Tigers will be at home on Saturday to host the annual New Richmond Invitational. Swanson said the tournament field should be strong, with the addition of Spring Valley and Grand Rapids, Minn., along with the return of Osceola.

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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