Saints finish 18-1 in dual matches
Stratford 47, St. Croix Falls 12
Marty Seeger|Staff writer
MADISON – The St. Croix Falls wrestling season came to an end at the UW Field House in Madison on Saturday, March 3, against a Stratford Tigers team that is arguably one of the state’s best in history. The Tigers ended up repeating as Division 3 state champions with a 45-13 win over Fennimore later in the day. The Saints, who were competing for the first time in school history at team state, didn’t end their year without a fight.
“Our kids wrestled hard against Stratford,” said coach Dan Clark. “They are a very good team, one of the best in the history in the state. Earlier this year they beat Stoughton who were the eventual Division 1 champions this year. We knew it was an uphill battle to stay with
them. They are just that good.”
The Saints still came away with four wins in the dual which included senior Clay Carney, who started the match at 160 pounds, and defeated Devin Dennee by a 3-1 decision in overtime.
Senior Luke Clark went into his match at 170 to face Kaelen Schmitt, who was a second-place finisher at state. Clark won the match by a 5-2 decision.
Noah Horn wrestled for the Saints at 182 and was pinned in three minutes, 42 seconds by Trevor Dennee.
At 195, Brandon Bastin gave Aiden Hoffman a battle but Bastin lost by a 7-6 decision. In the next match at 220, Dylan Schoenherr won a major decision over Caleb Gearhart, but Saints freshman Tanner Gaffey got the Saints back on the winning side with a 1-0 victory over Hector Rojas.
The dual shifted to the lightweights with Saints junior Luke Thaemert taking on Manny Drexler at 106. Thaemert avoided the pin in the 12-2 loss by major decision.
St. Croix Falls would lose the next three matches as Karter Stuttgen defeated Graidy Guggisberg by an 8-2 decision at 113, Max Schwabe pinned Zack Clark in 1:47 at 120 pounds, and A.J. Schoenfuss pinned Logan Yira in 3:08 at 126 pounds.
Bennett Bergmann got the Saints their fourth win of the dual at 132, with a 4-1 decision over Kix Grabow. At 138, Jeremy Schoenherr pinned Josey Wilson in 2:27, and the final match was a loss as Jake Drexler defeated Garrett Bergmann by a 12-6 decision to effectively end the Saints season.
“It has been a great year going 18-1 in duals on the season. I am very proud of these kids and what they have accomplished this year,” said Clark. “The thing that I am most proud of is that each of the 14 varsity wrestlers has come through our program since they were young. A rare thing in high school athletics in today’s culture. With open enrollment many teams are put together by taking kids from other schools. That is not the case with this team. Each of these kids and their parents have worked together for many years to reach this point. They have all worked, bled, cried and laughed together and for each other for years.”
St. Croix Falls will graduate six seniors off their record-setting roster, with a combined 550 victories.
“They have been great leaders and taken the program to new places. This team had many underclassmen start this year and contribute, we had four or five freshmen wrestling varsity all year so the future looks bright. We will take a couple weeks to enjoy the success as it has been well deserved then we will get back to work in the weight room to continue to get better for next year. It was awesome to see all the people at Madison this weekend supporting our kids. I am always amazed how high school athletics can bring communities together. A great year that I will never forget, and I look forward to a bright future.”