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Hudson senior Austin Koski controls his opponent on his way to a first place finish at the Lakeville North Invitational last Saturday. The Raiders took first at the 14-team tournament.

Raider wrestlers open strong

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The Hudson varsity wrestling team opened its season in a big way last Saturday by placing first at the 14-team Lakeville North (Minn.) Invitational.

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The Raiders knocked off No. 4-ranked ranked Scott West (Minn.) and No. 13 Lakeville North en route to the title.

"We have always had a dual before this event and that did not occur this year," Raider coach Chris Hansen said. "Even though we won, I really saw a lot of things we need to correct if we expect to beat Menomonie on the 13th. For everything I saw that I am pleased with, I found another thing that needs to be corrected. With that said, the competition was real tough, the kids wrestled hard and we came away with a title. Tough not to be pleased."

Hudson opens Big Rivers Conference competition with a dual at Menomonie Dec. 13.

Hudson was led by seniors Austin Koski and Derek Schindler last Saturday in Lakeville.

After going 3-0 early in the day, Koski found himself in the finals against the No. 1 seed and ninth-ranked wrestler in Minnesota. In a very entertaining match Koski cruised to a 14-point major decision.

Schindler also took home an individual title. In the finals, he was prepared to take on the No. 6 ranked wrestler in Minnesota, but unfortunately that match never took place and Schindler received a rare forfeit to take first.

"Schindler looked great in the brief time he was on the mat today," Hansen said.

Two other Raiders made the finals, both falling short of the title, however both had impressive days as they each knocked off a ranked wrestler on the way.

Dima Hawksford beat the 9th-ranked wrestler in his weight class in Minnesota by 13 points before falling to the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the state. Eliot Motu had a close win over the 6th-ranked wrestler in Minnesota before falling to a top-ranked opponent.

"We wrestled nine different top ten opponents Saturday," Hansen said. "We beat two of them. Definitely quality competition, as always, at this event."

Placing in the top four was freshman Sawyer Massie (3rd), C.J. Steiner (4th) and Max Gierke (4th).

"For Gierke and Massie, it was their first taste of varsity so any success is welcomed," Hansen said. "And to be in the top four in a 14 team event is a great place to start."

Placing fifth was Nick Nelson, Nic Johnson and Mathias Tobin.

"Fifth place is low for these three boys because they are great wrestlers, but a bad draw coupled with a tough bracket can make a great wrestler place fifth and that happened to us three times Saturday," Hansen said. "Truth is, all three wrestled just fine."

Wade Malecha was the Raiders final place-winner, finishing sixth, while Cal Johnson did not place but scored valuable team points.

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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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