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Wrestlers claim four titles at BRC/DSC meet

<i>Bob Burrows photo</i> Wildcat sophomore Nathan Kinneman battles Justin Weyandt of Chippewa Falls in the 103-pound finals at the Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix County Conference Challenge Saturday at the high school. Kinneman lost a close 6-4 decision to place second and help the Wildcats to a third place team finish.

The Wildcat wrestling team crowned four individual champions while the team finished third overall at the 12-team Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Challenge Saturday, Feb. 5 at the high school gym.

Logan Cudd, Adam Figi, Tyson Bystrom and Nick Johnson all earned individual titles while Nathan Kinneman and Matt Linehan reached the finals in their respective weight classes and finished second.

Zach Radkey-Pechacek added a fifth place finish and Briar Tepp and Justin Brown both finished sixth while Eric Dartsch, Riley Larson place seventh.

The Cats finished third in the final team standings with 189.5 points. Hudson won the team title with 232 followed by Boyceville with 195.

Johnson's pinned defending state champion Cody Hegeman at 3:49 of the championship match at 285 pounds to claim his title. Hegeman had defeated Johnson four straight times but Johnson earned the victory this time.

"Nick's match was the last match of the tournament, and it was an awesome way to finish," Wildcat coach Brady Cudd said.

Logan Cudd continued to dominate his opponents on his way to claiming the 125-pound title. He posted two straight pins before earning a 10-1 major decision over Adam Holmquist of Glenwood City in the championship bout.

"We have been working with all the kids on getting to their offense early in the match," Brady Cudd said. "In the finals, Logan scored his first takedown eight seconds into the match."

Figi won his third straight tournament title by defeating Matt Smith of St. Croix Central, 3-2, in the finals at 160 pounds, while Bystrom defeated Marcus Malecek of St. Croix Central, 4-2, in overtime, to win the title at 189 pounds.

"Tyson Bystrom had a great day," Cudd said. "He has been up and down this season, and has battled some injuries. He showed up excited and ready to wrestle, and really performed well."

Kinneman used a pin and overtime decision to reach the 103-pound finals for the first time before losing to Justin Weyandt of Chippewa Falls, 6-4.

"He looks really solid at 103, and should have a great finish to his season," Cudd said.

Linehan lost a 4-0 decision to Grant Schindler of Chippewa Falls in the 215-pound finals to even his record against Schindler at 1-1.

"I would imagine that they will see each other at least once more this season," Cudd said.

Cudd said he was impressed with Radkey-Pechacek's performance while going 4-1 to finish fifth at 112 pounds.

"The season can really wear on freshmen, so it's impressive to see his continued improvement," the coach said.

The Wildcats will join Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire Memorial, Eau Claire North, Menomonie, New Richmond, Hudson and Superior at the WIAA Division 1 Regional Tournament Saturday, Feb. 12, in New Richmond. Matches begin at 10 a.m. at New Richmond High School.

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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