Wrestlers reflect on another successful seasonThe Hudson High School wrestling team capped off the 2011 season with its annual awards banquet at the Valley House last week. With over 150 people in attendance, the program bid farewell to an incredibly successful group of seniors.
The Hudson High School wrestling team capped off the 2011 season with its annual awards banquet at the Valley House last week. With over 150 people in attendance, the program bid farewell to an incredibly successful group of seniors.
“The nine seniors on this squad have really created a lot of special moments over the past four years,” head coach Chris Hansen said. “We won’t replace these guys, we’ll just do our best to use their example.”
The season highlight was the team qualifying for a trip to Madison where they reached the state’s final four before falling to the eventual state champions, Wisconsin Rapids. It was the first wrestling team in Hudson history to reach team state.
The team also won its sixth consecutive Big Rivers Championship. The Raiders have not lost in the conference since 2004.
Three athletes qualified for the individual state tournament, including Nick Larson who placed fourth in his third trip to state. Tanner Owens also has reached Madison three times and Gordon Johnson qualified for his second trip.
“I am really proud of how our team handled our schedule strength,” Hansen said. “That is 100 percent on the shoulders of our three captains, Ryan Smith, Nick Larson and Gordon Johnson.”
Hudson dualed a remarkable three teams ranked in the top 40 in the entire country (Simley, Minn., ranked No.6; Wisconsin Rapids, ranked No. 10; and Scott West, Minn., ranked No. 39) plus the annual dual with Ellsworth, who won the Wisconsin Division 2 state title.
“We also dualed the state’s No. 2-ranked Wausau West and Holmen, who won their team sectional championship,” Hansen noted. “We are one of just a handful of teams who compete in two different Christmas tournaments also. As a coach, there is a real danger with a schedule like this but these guys handled it perfectly.”
Larson’s 157 career wins place him No. 1 in Hudson history while Gordon Johnson’s 142 wins make him No. 2, tied with Kyle Crain (Class of 2010). Those two, along with Ryan Smith, are the only three boys in Hudson history to be a starter on four regional championship teams and four conference championship teams.
Next year’s squad loses a lot but returns a lot also. Tanner Owens and Kolya Hawksford will lead another strong Raider squad that includes at least 10 athletes with significant varsity experience.
“People don’t realize that our regional team had seven freshmen and sophomores on it,” Hansen said.
Larson received his second team MVP award, along with being named first team all-conference for the third time. Larson also received the most dedicated wrestler award and the most takedowns award by setting a new school record.
Johnson also became first team all-conference for the third time and won the Senior of the Year award. He also led the team in nearfall points.
Derek Schindler received the award for Most Improved during the season and had the most pins and most reversals. He was also the Sophomore of the Year, while Alex Waldon received the award for most improved from last year to this year. Waldon went from junior varsity to having an above .500 record on varsity.
The Coaches Award went to senior Will Yang, who exemplified the concept of “team first.”
Owens and Hawksford shared the junior of the year award. Along with Larson and Johnson, Owens became a first team all-conference selection for the 3rd time while Hawksford became first team all-conference for the second time.
The Freshman of the Year award went to C.J. Steiner while the Junior Varsity MVP went to Nic Johnson.