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Wrestling: Raiders ready for regional

Hudson junior Bryce Hunsberger keeps East Ridge's Will Hones in a headlock as he checks the clock in the first period of their bout at 126 pounds Thursday, Jan. 31, in Woodbury. Hunsberger posted a third period pin for the Raider's first points of the night in their 42-36 victory.

Hudson wrestling coach Chris Hansen didn't want to read too much into his team's 42-36 victory over East Ridge in the Raider's final dual match of the season Thursday night, Jan. 31, in Woodbury, but he did see some things he liked.

“East Ridge is ranked No. 12 in Class AAA in Minnesota so this was a real nice win,” he said. “Neither team was at full strength so it is hard to gain any insight from that but still a nice win.”

One highlight was freshman Jacob Hansen's come-from-behind win against East Ridge junior Ethan Pittman at 170 pounds. Hansen fell behind 6-0 but used a seven-point third period to pull out an 8-7 victory.

“Without that win, we tie the dual 39-39, so that come from behind victory was crucial,” Coach Hansen said.

Hansen said he was also impressed with junior Bryce Hunsberger, who earned the Raider's first points with a pin in the fourth bout of the night at 126 pounds.

“That really got our team going,” Hansen said. “It was a nice spark.”

Joey Sullivan also got a pin at 145 pounds and Hank Gierke and Ben Steltzner earned pins at 182 and 195. Logan Hatch posted a technical fall at 138 and Peter Hansen picked up a major decision at 160 while Hudson received a forfeit at 220 to round out the scoring.

Next up for the Raiders is the WIAA Division 1 Regional Tournament Saturday, Feb. 9, in Chippewa Falls. Hudson will be joined by fellow Big Rivers Conference members River Falls, Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire Memorial, and Eau Claire North, along with Superior and New Richmond, with spots in the individual and team sectionals on the line. Hansen said he expects the Raiders to battle BRC champion River Falls for the regional title.

“Our regional will be real close between Hudson and River Falls,” he said. “You really cannot predict the winner at this point. It is as close as we have ever been going into the regional.”

The regional champion will advance to the team sectional Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Wausau East, while the top four finishers in each weight class will advance to the individual sectional Saturday, Feb. 16, in Menomonie

The WIAA State Individual Tournament will be held Feb. 21-23 at the Kohl Center in Madison while the state team tournament is March 1-2 at the UW-Madison Fieldhouse.

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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