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Wrestlers send 10 to sectional

Wildcat freshman Nathan Kinneman puts the squeeze on Eau Claire Memorial's Garrett Hulke to pin Hulke in 1:29 of the third place match at 103 pounds at the WIAA Division 1 wrestling regional Saturday at the high school. Kinneman is one of 10 Wildcats who advanced to this Saturday's sectional tournament in Merrill. Bob Burrows photo

Ten Wildcat wrestlers, including champions Logan Cudd and Cam Loomis, advanced to Saturday's WIAA sectional tournament in Merrill following top-four finishes in their respective weight classes at last Saturday's regional tournament in River Falls.

The Cats finished third in the team standings, behind three-time regional champion Hudson and Chippewa Falls.

Cudd needed just a little over two minutes to win the regional title at 119 pounds. After earning a bye in the quarterfinals, he pinned Nick Kirchoff of Superior in 1:14 in the semifinals, then pinned Casey Schuh of New Richmond in 52 seconds in the first place match.

Loomis also received a bye in the quarterfinals before posting a 17-2 technical fall over Tim Baker of Eau Claire North and a 13-6 decision over Phil Bates of Hudson to win the 140 pound title.

"It is good to see Cam and Logan wrestling the best they have all year with minimal mistakes," coach Joe Cudd said.

Adam Figi at 152 pounds, Josh Kinneman at 171 and Tyson Bystrom at 189 all reached the finals in their respective weight classes before finishing second to also qualify for this weekend's sectional.

Figi's day included a 3-1 overtime win over Eric Peissig of Menomonie in the semifinals while Kinneman and Bystrom secured their second place finishes by winning wrestle-backs.

Nathan Kinneman also advanced with a third place finish at 103 pounds and Peter Wolff took third at 112 to move on, while Austin Johnson qualified with a third place finish at 135. Matt Linehan, at 215, and Nick Johnson at 285, each took fourth to advance to the sectional round.

"As a team, we showed a lot of courage," Cudd said. "Josh and Tyson defended their second places with wrestle-backs, and Matt and Nick had to wrestle to win and defend their fourth place spots."

Riley Larson came up just short in his bid to advance by finishing fifth at 160 pounds while Michael Wolff at 112 and Erik Dartsch at 130 each went 0-2.

"We had inexperienced guys in Michael, Erik and Riley that proved they are part of this team by competing and giving everything they had," Cudd said.

Saturday's sectional tournament gets underway at 10 a.m. at Merrill High School. The top two wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the WIAA State Individual Tournament Feb. 25-27 at Kohl Center in Madison.

"It is going to be an exciting weekend to see what this team is capable of when they wrestle their best," Cudd said.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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