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Grapplers finish third at Auburndale Invite

A year ago at this same time, the Abbotsford/ Colby wrestling co-op took home the Auburndale Invite team title. That team was led by a strong contingent of seniors who have since graduated.

This year’s squad doesn’t have that same amount of experience, but they do have that same level of talent and committment, and this year’s co-op nearly pulled off another tournament victory, finishing third out of 14 scoring teams on Saturday in Auburndale.

The La Crosse Logan/Central co-op won the event with 230.5 points, followed by Chequamegon with 221 and then came Abby/Colby with 208 points.

The co-op had five wrestlers vying for first place in their respective weight classes, and when the day was dusted, three wrestlers stood victorious atop the podium.

Junior River Halopka earned his second tournament title in the 126 weight class, moving through his competition with three victories, two by pinfall and one by major decision to earn 25 team points.

Brandon Vicente captured his second title as well, taking home the 170 weight class with a dominant effort that saw him earn two wins via pinfall and one by a 10-5 decision for an additional 24 points.

Capturing the co-op’s third and final weight class was sophomore Carter Grewe. Grewe was making his triumphant return to the mats after taking time away due to rehabbing from a football injury.

Grewe has slashed weight this season, and after competing in the 220 weight class a year ago, is now in the 195 pound division. Grewe wasted no time in establishing dominance, taking all three victories by way of pins, and earning 26 team points.

Two more wrestlers would take part in a championship match, but finished just shy of gold. Andrew Jeske was second in the 182 weight class, winning two matches by pinfall, but suffered a pin in the championship match.

Devin Thums was second in the 220 weight class, earning a victory by bye and then another by pin before falling just shy of a title, but notched 18 points for Abby/Colby.

David Vicente just missed out on qualifying for the championship match in the 152 weight class, falling 3-2 in the semifinals, but quickly recovered for a 10-5 decision to take third.

Grady Steinman made it to the top five, placing fifth in the 106 weight class after going 2-2 on the day, with a pin in the quarterfinals and a pin in the fifth place match. Steinman earned 11 points for Abby/Colby.

Jose Rodriguez went 2-3 in the 120 weight class to finish sixth, losing by a narrow 7-6 decision in the fifth place bout. Angel Diaz earned one victory by pinfall as he placed sixth in the 195 weight class.

Talon Severson also competed in the 152 weight class, and was the lone matman to place seventh for the co-op, finishing his day with a victory via pin and another by injury default.

Three more wrestlers placed inside the top ten for Abby/Colby. Angel Maganda was ninth in the 195 weight class, losing his first match of the day, but came roaring back with three straight victories, all through pins to go 3-1 on the day.

Xavier Digman made it to the ninth place match after losing a 9-8 decision in his opener, but then won the next three matches, with his last coming over teammmate and newcomer Joe Hawthorne through pin.

As a result, Hawthorne, in his first taste of competitive action, placed tenth on the day in the 160 weight class, but made a strong impression in his debut as a wrestler. Hawthorne dropped a close 7-6 decision against a grappler from Cornell/ Gilman, but won his next match by pinfall in just over 90 seconds, and took another with a 15-7 major decision.

The final wrestler of the day was Ryan Lampi, who placed 14th on the day in the 160, dropping all three of his matches.

The wrestling co-op will be back in action this weekend, travelling back to Eau Claire for the Eau Claire Memorial Invite on Saturday, Dec. 28.