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Hudson wrestlers shine at The Dells

Malachi Hoff competing at the Freestyle and Greco-Roman State Championships in Wisconsin Dells with all of the coaches in his corner; from left, Andy Neitzel, Dylan Anderson, Kyle Crain, Chris Hansen, and Jesse Hoff. 1 / 2
Ben Steltzner competing at the Freestyle and Greco-Roman State Championships in Wisconsin Dells while teammates Logan Hatch and Jacob Hansen coach him, along with Hudson alumni Kyle Crain. Photos courtesy of Chris Hansen 2 / 2

Over 1,100 wrestlers between the ages of 9-19 converged on Wisconsin Dells the weekend of May 4-5 to compete at the annual Freestyle and Greco-Roman State Championships.

As always, Hudson was well-represented as one of the largest Freestyle and Greco-Roman community teams in the state. Most of the athletes at this event don't have a community team at all. They compete for a wrestling academy such as Advance out of Madison or the Askren Wrestling Academy out of Milwaukee. Hudson wrestlers are fortunate to be able to train these styles in-house thanks to the work of the Hudson Wrestling Club.

For those who do not know, Freestyle and Greco-Roman are the two styles of wrestling that are in the Olympics. American high schools and colleges wrestle what is called Folkstyle.

Success at this event is hard to come by for two reasons. First, only the most motivated and dedicated wrestlers are still competing in May. Second, there are no divisions; the entire state competes against each other. Still, Hudson always finds remarkable success.

This year, Logan Hatch joined two former Hudson wrestlers—Dylan Anderson and Sawyer Massie --as double champs, meaning, Hatch was the 138-pound Freestyle state champion on Saturday and then won the Greco-Roman state title on Sunday. This is Hatch's third state title as he also won the Greco title when he was in the 14U age division a few years ago.

For the second year in a row, freshman Jacob Hansen made the state finals in both styles. Unfortunately, he fell short both times but did come away as a double-place winner, something he has done several times over the past five years.

Joining Hatch and Hansen as a double place winner was sophomore Ben Steltzner, who placed fourth in both styles. It is worth noting that Steltzner beat a Cadott opponent along the way who was a high school state qualifier back in February. This is Steltzner's first win over a high school state qualifier.

Three other Raider wrestlers made the podium. Sixth-grader Liam Neitzel placed fourth and fifth-grader Evan DeLaForest placed fifth, both in Freestyle. Fifth-grader Malachi Hoff made the podium in Greco-Roman, placing fifth.

In all, Hudson brought home nine medals. Several other wrestlers came close to the awards stand but fell just short. Peter Hansen knocked off several opponents, including one who placed third at high school state. Hank Gierke and Matthew Feia both won several matches also. Isaac Huth, Jacob Fanning and AJ Henn also competed.

The Hudson Freestyle and Greco-Roman program is coached by Dylan Anderson, Kyle Crain, Andy Neitzel, Kurt Beinlich, Jesse Hoff and Chris Hansen.

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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