Chippewa Falls Cardinals snap Raider wrestlers’ BRC streakThe match between the only two remaining undefeated conference teams lived up to expectations, but in the end Chippewa Falls held on for a 30-26 victory on its home mat to hand the Raiders their first BRC loss since 2004.
By: Bob Burrows, Hudson Star-Observer
Big Rivers Conference wrestling fans have had last Thursday’s regular season finale between Hudson and Chippewa Falls circled on their calendars since the beginning of the season.
The match between the only two remaining undefeated conference teams lived up to expectations, but in the end Chippewa Falls held on for a 30-26 victory on its home mat to hand the Raiders their first BRC loss since 2004 and snap their six-year BRC title run.
The loss left the Raiders with a record of 5-1 in BRC duals while Chippewa Falls finished at 6-0.
Hudson reeled off four straight victories from 160 to 195 pounds to take a 23-7 lead, but the Cardinals won five of the final six matches to escape with the win.
“We knew our back was against the wall,” Hudson coach Chris Hansen said. “In hindsight, I think we did the best we could. We had a chance to win and that is all I can ask as a coach.”
Tied 7-7 after four matches, Kolya Hawksford gave the Raiders a three-point lead with a 6-2 decision over Cody Petska at 160 pounds. Tanner Owens followed with a 6-4 decision over Raymond Hibbs at 170 and Dima Hawksford earned a 12-2 major decision over Parker Levine at 182.
When Derek Schindler pinned Mathew Young at 3 minutes, 15 seconds of the 195 pound match the Raiders took a 23-7 lead. But Chippewa Falls won five of the next six matches with two pins, two major decisions and a decision to go ahead 30-23. Yuri Bronson’s 5-3 decision over Mike Gauger in the last match of the night at 126 pounds made the final 30-26.
The Cardinals won the opening match at 132 with a major decision before Austin Koski earned a 14-6 major decision over Mackinzie Nutzmann at 138 and Nic Johnson posted a 6-2 decision over Jory Kubisiak at 145 to give the Raiders an early 7-4 lead.
Sophomore Nic Johnson had the biggest win on the night when he beat senior Jory Kubisiak,” Hansen said. “That win gave us a chance. We fell short but without that win, we never stood a chance.”
Despite the loss, Hansen said he believes the Raiders are in a great spot for the future, point out Hudson put just two seniors on the mat last Thursday night.
“We have a lot of talent returning, probably the most in the BRC,” he said. “I think we will be right back in the thick of things next season and that is real important as a program.”
The Raiders will now set their sights on this Saturday’s (Feb. 4) Big Rivers Conference/Dunn-St. Croix Conference Challenge in River Falls.
“This weekend’s Big Rivers/Dunn-St. Croix Challenge looks to be the best challenge in the tournament’s 10-year history,” Hansen said. “Hudson, Chippewa Falls, St. Croix Central and Spring Valley all look to have an equal chance of coming out on top.”
Action begins at 10 a.m. at River Falls High School.