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Hudson Raiders place three wrestlers at state

Raider senior Dima Hawksford controls Mukwonago's Kirk Zylke before pinning Zylke in 1 minute, 50 seconds in the fifth place match at 160 pounds at the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament Saturday in Madison. Photo by Sean Scallon1 / 3
Raider junior Eliot Motu had to defeat Oconomowoc's Nick Gomez twice to wrap up fifth place at 220 pounds at the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament in Madison last weekend. Photo by Sean Scallon2 / 3
Raider senior Derek Schindler locks up Brookfield East's John LeClaire before recording a third period pin in the opening round of the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament in Madison last Thursday. Schindler went on to place fifth at 182 pounds, one of three place winners for the Raiders. Photo by Sean Scallon3 / 3

Hudson had three place-winners for just the second time in history at the WIAA State Individual Tournament over the weekend, with seniors Dima Hawksford and Derek Schindler, and junior Eliot Motu all finishing fifth in their respective weight classes.

Along with senior Austin Koski, the Raiders combined to win 12 matches at the state tournament, the most in team history.

"It was a great weekend," Raider coach Chris Hansen said. "There has never been a team in Hudson history to win 12 matches at the state tournament. Remarkably, these guys did that. Three state place-winners is also the most ever, matched only once nearly 15 years ago. This group of four really demonstrated they had goals higher than simply being a state qualifier. When I think back, it took an awfully good kid to beat us this weekend."

Schindler had the longest road to the awards stand, coming back from a loss to eventual state runner-up Ayoola Olapo of Menomonee Falls in the 182 pound quarterfinals to win three of his next four matches to take fifth.

Schindler almost got a takedown near the end of the third period but never had control near the edge of the mat. Ayoola was able to get a takedown in overtime to win, 3-1.

"Derek was so close to scoring so many times in that match, but that is tough to do in Madison," Hansen said. "Once you put two equal kids on the mat, the line between winning and losing is very thin."

Schindler came back to beat Avery Sweeney of Milton and Johan Mrozinsky of Manitowoc Lincoln in the consolation semifinals to earn a spot on the podium. After losing to Quinn Faust of Mount Horeb, he clinched fifth place with a 10-4 decision over Brock Allen of DeForest.

Hawksford won his first two matches at 160 pounds but was stopped short in the semifinals when he was assessed a one point penalty for an illegal hold while leading Ashwaubenon's Mitchel Cole. Cole was injured and couldn't continue and Hawksford lost the match by injury default.

"Sometimes illegal holds are very concrete, such as a full nelson. Other times they are subjective, such as too much force when bringing an opponent to the mat. That is what this was," Hansen said. "A subjective call that the referee gets to make on his own judgment." 

After losing to Alexander Walla of Bay Port in the consolation semifinals, Hawksford went on to pin Kirk Zylke of Mukwonago in the fifth place match.

Motu became the first Raider junior to place at state since current University of Wisconsin Badger Cole Tobin by finishing fifth at 220 pounds. Two of Motu's wins came against Nick Gomez of Oconomowoc, including a 9-3 decision in the fifth place match.

"Motu has a chance now to join a rare club," Hansen noted. "There are just four athletes in Hudson history to be two-time state place winners. He has a long way to go for that to happen, but he did give himself the opportunity."

Koski went 2-2 at 145 pound, with his losses coming at the hands of the eventual state champion and the eventual third place finisher. He pinned Max Mijal of Pulaski in the opening round and earned a 5-3 decision over Avery Hackett of Holmen in a consolation bout.

"Austin Koski did not place but won a very respectable two matches," Hansen said. "It took a great wrestler to beat him. Even though Austin did not place, without question, he wrestled as well as the other three." 

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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