Wrestlers fourth at BRC/DSC Challenge
Junior Austin Johnson won the 130 pound title and juniors Brad Hetchler and Cam Loomis and senior Sam Johnson each placed second in their respective weight classes to lead the Wildcat wrestling team to a fourth place finish at the 12-team Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Challenge Saturday in Menomonie.
Johnson defeated Justin Konwinski of Chippewa Falls, 4-2, in overtime to claim the 130 pound championship.
"Austin wrestled smart in the finals," assistant coach Brady Cudd said. "He has had a challenging season, but seems to be coming around at just the right time."
Austin Johnson received a bye in the first round and posted a 12-0 major decision over Ben Lange of Eau Claire Memorial in the quarterfinals. He took an 8-3 decision over Kolya Hawksford of Hudson in the semis before taking Konwinski in overtime for the title.
Sam Johnson also went to overtime in the 189 pound title match. He got there by pinning Jake Andress of Mondovi in 19 seconds and Luke Bowe of Chippewa Falls in 2:18, but lost to undefeated Jack Duerst of Boyceville, 5-3, in overtime to take second place.
"Sam Johnson wrestled a very talented opponent in his finals match," Cudd said. "And although he came up a little short, I think he finally realized he can wrestle with anybody in the country."
Hetchler reached the championship bout at 125 pounds with a 10-4 decision over Robert Trealoff of Spring Valley/Elmwood in the quarterfinals and a 6-3 decision over Kyle Leidholm of Chippewa Falls in the semis. He lost an 8-4 decision to Tyler Boumeester of Hudson in the finals.
At 135 pounds, Loomis pinned Brian Fesenmaier of Spring Valley/Elmwood in 2:37 in the quarterfinals and took a 15-5 major decision from Zach Lato of Chippewa Falls in the semis before losing to Zach Gillis of St. Croix Central, 13-7, in the championship match.
Logan Cudd placed third at 119 pounds and Josh Kinneman finished third at 171 to boost the Cats' team score.
After losing a close 7-6 decision to Michael Yarrington of Chippewa Falls in the semifinals, Cudd came back to post a 16-7 major decision over Boyceville's Larice Henderson in his third place match. Kinneman pinned Caleb Thompson of Boyceville in 1:25 of his third place match after being pinned by Hudson's Art Vinzant in 1:59 in the semifinals.
Trevor Ross took fourth place at 215 and Adam Figi was fifth at 145 while Alex Anderson finished fifth at 285 and Peter Wolff was seventh at 103.
Hudson won the team title with 243 points followed by Boyceville with 223, Chippewa Falls with 193 and River Falls with 175.
Cudd said he expects a strong showing this Saturday for the WIAA regional at Eau Claire North.
"Hudson will be tough to beat, but with a solid performance we might be able to catch Chippewa Falls," he said. "New Richmond will also be in the mix and we should have some fairly exciting matches with their better kids. We will have 12 participants at the regional tournament, and I think all 12 of those guys will be advancing to the sectional."
The top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the sectional tournament next Saturday, Feb. 21, in Marshfield.