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Wrestlers rock the Dells

Wildcat junior Adam Figi holds on to win a 6-5 decision over Chippewa Falls' Matt Ingebretson in a Big Rivers Conference dual at the high school Thursday night. After losing to the Cardinals Thursday, the Cats responded by taking first place at the Wisconsin Dells Dual Tournament Saturday. Bob Burrows photo

The Wildcat wrestling team bounced back from a Big Rivers Conference loss to Chippewa Falls Thursday to take first place Saturday at the Wisconsin Dells Dual Tournament.

Six Wildcats went undefeated at The Dells to help the Cats post a 5-0 team record.

"We were really flat on Thursday night against Chippewa Falls," co-head coach Brady Cudd said about the Cats' 46-21 loss to the Cardinals. "On Saturday we wrestled much better. Our younger guys are starting to figure out how intense and focused they need to be during a match."

One of those younger guys -- freshman Nathan Kinneman -- won all five of his matches at 1-3 pounds Saturday, posting four pins in the process including a come-from-behind victory over Austin Vesely of Portage to help the Cats to a 46-24 win.

"He came back from a 5-0 deficit against Portage, took the lead with under a minute left, and ended with a pin as time was running out," Cudd said. "It was a big win for him."

Senior Cam Loomis moved up a weight class against Cumberland's Isiah Erickson and took a 4-2 overtime decision to help the Cats to a 58-13 win.

"He really stepped up, wrestled a solid match, and came out with a win," Cudd said.

Loomis also went 5-0 on the day with two major decisions, two pins and the overtime decision.

Sophomore Briar Tepp at 112 pounds, senior Josh Kinneman at 171, and junior Matt Linehan at 215, also all went 5-0 on the day while senior Peter Wolff was 4-0. Junior Adam Figi won four of his five matches at 160 pounds and senior Alex Boddy was 3-1 at 140 while junior Nick Johnson finished 3-2 at 285.

In addition to the dual wins over Portage and Cumberland, the Wildcats also defeated Middleton 58-12, New Richmond 43-24 and the Wausau West Varsity Reserve 48-27 to take first place in the final team standings.

Co-head coach Joe Cudd said the team took 20 varsity and JV wrestlers to the tournament, and all of them were given an opportunity to wrestle at the varsity level.

"We had very solid performances from our starters and outstanding individual improvements across the collective team," he said. "The team's successful performance this weekend following Thursday's match shows how strong our team's character is and how they are determined to continually improve."

Things started off well Thursday against Chippewa Falls with Austin Johnson pinning Austin Lemay at 1:24 in the first bout of the night at 152 pounds. Figi followed with a 6-5 decision over Matt Ingebretson at 160 pounds to give the Cats a 9-0 lead but River Falls didn't win again until Logan Cudd pinned Michael Gauger in 1:40 at 130 pounds to make the score 34-15 in favor of the Cardinals.

Loomis pinned Cody Petska in 53 seconds in the last match of the night at 145 pounds to make the final score 46-21.

The Cats will travel to defending BRC champion Hudson Thursday at 7 p.m.