Raider wrestlers still undefeated
The sixth-ranked Hudson wrestling team ran its season record to 11-0 in dual meets and won another tournament championship Saturday at the Hudson Invitational. That capped off an impressive week as Hudson also improved to a league-leading 4-0 record in the Big River Conference with a 76-3 win Thursday at Rice Lake.
Hudson opened Saturday's Invite with a 71-6 drubbing of Baldwin-Woodville in the opening round. In round two the Raiders faced Sauk Rapids-Rice (Minn.) for the first time in history and came away with a convincing 51-13 victory.
"Sauk Rapids-Rice surprised us with how tough they were," Hudson coach Chris Hansen said. "We won by a lot but much of that was due to a match-up that seemed to favor us in every weight class. I think when you compare common opponents, you'll see a real tough Sauk Rapids team."
The third round pitted Hutchinson against the Raiders. Hutchinson is an honorable mention team in Minnesota in Class AA. Hudson was able to advance to the championship by the score of 45-16.
The much anticipated championship dual played out just as expected with local power-house Ellsworth winning their pool to set up the Hudson/Ellsworth final. Ellsworth is ranked No. 2 in the state and is the defending state champion in Division 2. Hudson won this dual by one point the last two years.
"Two teams cannot get any closer than the two of us," Hansen said.
The dual started at 103 pounds and Hudson was set to record an upset but Ellsworth came from behind in the third period to go up 3-0 in the dual.
The Raiders were also underdogs at 112 but Hansen said he felt the Raiders had a chance, but once again, Ellsworth snuck away another decision and went up 6-0 in the dual.
"At that point, I felt we were in trouble, Hansen said. "When a dual is projected to be a tie, you need to win an upset match to win the dual and we let the first two go the other way."
That changed at 119 pounds, however, as Gordon Johnson won in overtime over Ellsworth's Sam Huppert. Huppert is ranked No. 1 in the state and has placed second in the state the previous two seasons.
"That was a real nice win for Gordon," Hansen said. The problem is we were expecting it so it didn't seem like a momentum shift."
Tanner Owens followed Johnson with a tight 3-2 decision and after four matches it was all tied at 6-6.
The 130 pound match proved to be a big match for the Raiders even though it was a defeat. Ellsworth's No. 5 ranked DJ Yarwood was only able to secure a decision against Hudson freshman Austin Koski. Ellsworth needed bonus points in that match but came away with just the three points for a decision.
At 135 pounds, Hudson's Koyla Hawksford did what Ellsworth was not able to do, score a bonus point. Hawksford won 14-2 and scored four points for the team making the team score 10-9 after six complete.
Finally at 140 pounds, Hudson got the upset they were waiting for when Ryan Smith won 6-4 in a match that Ellsworth needed to win. Ellsworth followed with a win of their own at 145. Then it was right back to Hudson at 152 as Phil Bates won a 6-3 decision.
Nick Larson used double overtime to defeat No. 8 ranked Noah McLay and with 10 matches complete, Hudson held a 19-12 lead.
Ellsworth again trimmed the lead at 171 with a decision to make the score 19-15 but it was three straight wins by the Raiders to close out the dual. Art Vinzant, Nathan Eby and Clayton Truhler all won to secure to 31-15 victory.
"This is the first time Hudson has ever beat Ellsworth in three straight seasons," Hansen said. "And 16 points is also the largest margin of victory Hudson has ever had against the Panthers in 51 years."
Stillwater finished third at the invite and Sauk Rapids-Rice was fourth. Hutchinson placed fifth followed by River Falls, Somerset and Baldwin-Woodville.
The Raiders return to action with a BRC dual Thursday (Jan. 14) at home against Eau Claire North for Parents Night.