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Wildcat wrestlers grind out title at NRI

Wildcat junior Bennett Cernohous wraps up Somerset's Brody Shipe on his way to a first period pin in a second round match at 106 pounds at the New Richmond Invitational Saturday, Jan. 6. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
Wildcat senior Mitchell Williamson controls Clear Lake's Ashton Duden before pinning him in 1 minute, 58 seconds in a first round match at 285 pounds at the New Richmond Invitational Saturday, Jan. 6. Williamson went 5-0 on the day to capture the 285 pound title. Dave Newman / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

After winning the Division 1 title at the Northern Badger Classic over holiday break, Wildcat wrestling coach Kevin Black said his team needed to remain disciplined and focused as it moved into the new year.

So far so good.

The Cats kicked off 2018 with a 54-30 Big Rivers Conference win over Eau Claire Memorial Thursday, Jan. 4, before placing first at the 10-team New Richmond Invitational Saturday, Jan. 6.

Black said the Wildcats weren't as sharp as he'd like to see, but they found a way to grind out some ugly wins.

"Most of our kids were a little sluggish after break and our dual meet with Memorial on Thursday night also reflected that," he said. "We had some ugly wins on Thursday and Saturday, but our guys figured it out. I don't think we could have counted on them to tough it out in early December."

Saturday's New Richmond Invite came down to the final three matches, and Chance Kamrowski, Garnett Ripley and Mitchell Williamson all came through with pins at 195, 220 and 285 to give the Cats the team title.

River Falls finished with 257 points and Clear Lake was second with 243.5 while Grand Rapids, Minn. was third with 243.

Kamrowski, Williamson, and Nathan Fuller at 152 all won individual titles with Fuller named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.

"He scored 88 match points in five matches and had four pins and technical fall," Black said about Fuller's day. "Chance (Kamrowski) also had a terrific week. I think Northern Badger was good for him in that he saw that he's right there with the best of them. He practiced and competed with a new purpose and looked great."

Ripley finished third at 220 pounds and Bennett Cernohous and Spencer Cernohous took third at 106 and 120 pounds, respectively, while Glen Pendleton was third at 170 and Michael Rebozo was fourth at 126. In all, 12 Wildcats scored at least seven points to lift them to the team title.

"As a team, we went 12-2 in the final placing round, which shows a ton of guts," Black noted. "If we would have dropped one or two of them, Clear Lake would have won the team title. So we're getting better and tougher at the same time."

Two nights earlier the Wildcats got pins from Spencer Cernohous at 120 pounds, Rebozo at 126, Garrett Borth at 145, Luke Killian at 160, Kamrowski at 195, Tyler Kliszc at 220 and Ripley at 285 in their 54-30 BRC win over Eau Claire Memorial.

The Wildcats will visit Chippewa Falls for a conference dual Thursday, Jan. 11.

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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