Wrestlers look to continue successComing off the best season in the 53-year history of Hudson High School wrestling, the 2011-12 Raider squad is poised to add another successful chapter to the program’s rich history.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
Coming off the best season in the 53-year history of Hudson High School wrestling, the 2011-12 Raider squad is poised to add another successful chapter to the program’s rich history.
The Raiders qualified for the WIAA State Team Championships for the first time in school history last season and reached the state’s Final Four. Hudson has won six straight Big Rivers Conference championships and eight of the last nine conference titles and will rely on its depth to replace six key seniors from last year’s team lost to graduation.
“As always, our depth will be a key asset to our success,” head coach Chris Hansen said. “I always feel I need a solid 22 guys to field a competitive varsity line-up of 14 weight classes. I will have no problem finding seven quality junior varsity athletes who can fill in more than adequately when we need them.”
While the Raiders lost three-time state qualifier Nick Larson, two-time state qualifier Gordon Johnson, and all-conference wrestlers Ryan Smith, Will Yang, Alex Waldon and Walker MacSwain to graduation, the cupboard is far from bare.
Senior Tanner Owens will attempt to become Hudson’s first four-time state qualifier while senior Kolya Hawksford is closing in on his 100th career win. Owens has already topped the 100-win mark and both will likely finish their careers in the top-five in all-time wins at Hudson.
In addition to Owens and Hawksford, the Raiders return Austin Koski, Derek Schindler, Nick Nelson and Dima Hawksford, who were all second team all-conference a year ago.
Zach Lohman, CJ Steiner, Eliot Motu and Tim Feia all have considerable varsity experience while the team will look to Mathias Tobin, Nic Johnson, Cal Johnson and Drew Krahenbuhl to fill the holes left by the graduated seniors. Hansen said freshman Mitch Fanning should also crack the lineup.
Hudson opens the 2011-12 season this Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Lakeville North Invitational before jumping right into Big Rivers Conference action Thursday, Dec. 8, at home against Eau Claire Memorial.
Hansen said the Raiders, who are ranked No. 9 in the Crossface preseason rankings, will face a big test in their dual meet at Chippewa Falls Jan. 26.
“Chippewa Falls returns all 14 starters and could easily have 10 seniors in the 14 weight classes,” he said. “I do think it is a two-team race for the BRC title but I also feel we have a lot of improving to do if we want to beat Chippewa Falls.”
Hansen will once again be assisted by coaches Brian Johnson, Adam Kaufman and Jesse Hoff this season.