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Wrestlers open the season strong

Hudson’s C.J. Steiner works over Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal’s Zach Friemoth in the 132 pound match on his way to earning a 13-6 victory last Thursday night at the high school. (Submitted photo)1 / 3
Hudson’s Mitch Fanning works on pinning Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal’s Kyle Gurney in the 113 pound match during the Raider wrestling team’s season opener last Thursday at the high school. Fanning recoded a pin in 1 minute, 15 seconds to help the Raiders to a 55-9 victory. (Submitted photo)2 / 3
Hudson’s Mathias Tobin tries to get Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal’s Anthony Peplinsky on his back in their heavyweight match last Thursday at the high school. Tobin pinned Peplinsky in 5 minutes, 2 seconds. (Submitted photo) 3 / 3

After opening the season with a 55-9 victory over Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal last Thursday at the high school gym, the Raider wrestling team went on to finish third at the 15-team Lakeville North (Minn.) Invitational Saturday in Lakeville.

The Raiders will face a big early season test when they take on defending Big Rivers Conference champion Menomonie this Thursday at the high school beginning at 7 p.m.

“Thursday's dual with Menomonie will go a long way in determining the Big Rivers Conference championship,” Raider coach Chris Hansen said.

Hansen said he likes the way his team has started the season, noting only a first-round injury to one of the team’s seniors prevented Hudson from finishing second at the always tough Lakeville North Invite.

The Raiders opened the season by recording five pins in the first even matches last Thursday against Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal on their way to a 55-9 victory. After Neillsville earned a decision in the night’s opening match at 170 pounds, Trent Goplin, Max Gierke, Eliot Motu and Mathias Tobin posted four consecutive pins from 182 to 285 to stake Hudson to a 24-3 lead.

Two matches later Mitch Fanning earned a pin at 113 pounds to extend the Raider lead to 30-6. Hudson picked up forfeits at 120 and 126 and C.J. Steiner and Yuri Bronson earned decisions at 132 and 138 before Nic Johnson scored a major decision at 152 and Cal Johnson closed the match with a decision at 160.

“Neillsville was a great nonconference dual for us,” Hansen said. “Although the score was lopsided, Neillsville battled hard up and down the line-up. as we knew they would.”

Hansen said he was pleased with the way the Raiders’ first-year wrestlers, including Goplin, 106-pounder Drew Klabon and 170-pounder Dylan Anderson performed.

“I was very happy with how they handled the pressure,” he said.

Saturday, Hudson finished third behind Minnesota’s ninth-ranked team, Scott West, and No. 11 Lakeville North at the 15-team Lakeville North Invite. Scott West took the team title with 239 points and Lakeville North was second with 159 while Hudson was third with 150.5. 

“As expected, Saturday's tournament at Lakeville was strong as ever,” Hansen said. Thirteen of the 14 weight classes had a top 10 ranked wrestler as the champion, and several weights had three or four ranked wrestlers.”

Sawyer Massie was the lone Raider to reach the finals. Unfortunately he went up against No. 2-ranked Zach Siegle of Scott West and lost a 10-0 decision.

Tim Feia, Cal Johnson, Gierke and Tobin each placed third in their respective weight classes and Klabon placed fourth while Fanning, Matt Koski, Anderson and Motu all took fifth.

“Aside from Massie, I was real pleased with Mathias Tobin and Max Gierke,” Hansen said. “Both guys wrestled hard and were real sharp. Both guys upset a higher seed in the third place bout.”

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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