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Rau is Bi-State champion; three more Raiders get top-10 spots


Jake Rau powered his way to an impressive weight class championship, while Dane Higgins, Zeke Sigmund and Emett Grunwald also placed for the Medford Raiders at the 38th annual Bi-State Wrestling Classic, hosted Friday and Saturday by Holmen High School.

Rau improved to 17-1 for the season by pinning five straight opponents while taking the 220-pound championship in the prestigious holiday tournament held at the La Crosse Center.

Higgins reached the 138-pound semifinals before settling for fourth place, Sigmund got to the 145-pound quarterfinals and wound up seventh and Grunwald got to the round of 16 at 152 pounds and, after losing, fought his way back to ninth place.

The Raiders finished fourth out of 25 Division 2 teams and 11th overall out of 70 teams with 162 team points.

Rau was the top seed in the 45-man 220-pound bracket and emphatically bounced back from his first loss of the season suffered Dec. 19 at Neillsville.

After drawing a first-round bye, Rau needed just 57 seconds to pin Brighton Judd of Dodgeville and 44 seconds to stick Ryan Rambo of Hudson to get to the quarterfinals. A pin in 3:51 over Baraboo’s Tyson Fry (12-4) put Rau in the semifinals, where he outlasted 14-2 Tyler Nachtigal of Winona Cotter, Minn., in 5:29. Fry came into the tournament ranked fifth in Division 1.

In a championship matchup of area standouts, Rau, ranked fourth in Division 2, got the opening he was looking for and pinned Connor Westfall (14-3) of Athens, who was ranked fourth in Division 3, in a time of 4:57.

Higgins won five of seven matches to improve to 12-4 for the season.

Four straight wins to start the tournament put him in the final four in the 138-pound weight class. He opened with a 49-second pin over Isaha Williams of Adams- Friendship, a 17-2 technical fall over Jackson Soja of the Cuba City Co-op that was achieved in 5:14, a 6-4 win over Maddox O’Reilly, a solid 15-6 wrestler out of Goodhue, Minn., and a 7-4 win over 19-5 Max Schmidt of Richland Center.

The streak ended for Higgins in the semifi nals, where 21-0 Jessie Tijerina of Portage, who was the third-ranked 145-pounder in Division 2 entering the weekend, pinned him in 1:54. Tijerina then beat Stratford’s Max Schwabe 5-2 in the title bout. Higgins got a tough 3-2 win over Ryan Cripe of Lakeville South (22-6), Minn. in the consolation semifi nal before dropping a 7-2 decision in the third-place match to Marshfield’s 22-3 Gabe Pugh, who was ranked ninth in Division 1. Higgins entered the tournament ranked third at 138 pounds in Division 2.

Sigmund started the tournament with three straight wins. He rolled to a 16-1 technical fall over Carter Napiwocki of Wausau West in 4:38, pinned Monty Jennings of Ithaca-Weston in 3:41 and shut out 12-3 Mason Enderlein of Eastview, Minn. to reach the 145-pound quarterfinals.

His run toward the title ended with an 11-3 loss to 20-1 Lowell Arnold of Portage, who came in as Division 2’s fourthranked 152-pounder. Sigmund rebounded with a 7-0 win over Boscobel’s Braiden Pickett. An 11-4 loss to 12-3 Seth Goetzinger of Chatfield, Minn. sent Sigmund, who came in ranked seventh in Division 2, to the seventh-place match, which he won in 1:26 by injury default over Stratford’s 22-3 Konner Stuttgen.

Grunwald went 6-2 in his ninth-place performance at 152 pounds. He started with two pins, beating Jack Rogers of La Crosse Logan-Central in 3:46 and 10-4 Logan Clary of Ithaca-Weston in 3:18. But Freddy Lehrke of D.C. Everest knocked him out of title contention with a hardfought 3-2 decision in the round of 16 to send Grunwald to the consolation bracket.

Grunwald (15-5) beat Jason Sedbrook of Iowa-Grant/Highland 6-2 and Cole Poncelet of Zumbrota-Mazeppa, Minn. 2-1 to get to the consolation quarterfinals, but a 6-4 loss to Lodi’s Colton Nicolay meant ninth was the best the Raider junior could do. That’s what he got with a 3-2 win over Stratford’s 20-4 Jacob Heiden, who is ranked fifth in Division 3, and a 5-2 win over Eau Claire North’s Ethan Johnson, who is 18-6.

Grunwald entered the weekend ranked ninth in his weight class in Division 2.

Jake Brunner and Dalton Krug each won three matches over the weekend.

Brunner went 3-2 at 160 pounds. After pinning Mount Horeb’s Dylan Baccam in 2:43, Brunner (12-5) lost a close 6-5 decision to Tomah’s Sam Linzmeier (15-6). In the consolation bracket, Brunner pinned Mauston’s Dravan Robinson in 53 seconds and Holmen’s Damek Olson in 2:27 before losing 12-5 to Spencer Kraus of Athens, who went to state last year for Cornell-Gilman.

At 195 pounds, Krug lost 12-6 to Stratford’s Raife Smart in his opening match, but he got on a nice run with three straight consolation pins. Krug (12-6) stuck Bryce Gregory of the Cuba City Coop in 50 seconds, Adam Murphy of Vero- na in 1:35 and Jarod Stroud of South St. Paul in 4:19 before his tournament ended when he was pinned in 3:39 by Will Stone of Lakeville South.

Clay Bowe (12-5) went 2-2 at 182 pounds, starting with wins of 10-6 over West Allis Central’s Boyington Kassa and by pin in 4:41 over Eastview’s Connor Meixell. Eventual finalist Trevor Dennee of Stratford, who is 22-1 and was ranked second in Division 3 at 195 pounds, pinned Bowe in 1:43, then Bowe was pinned by 16-4 Gabe Tupper of Zumbrota-Mazeppa.

Ty Sova also went 2-2 at 106 pounds, starting with a pin in 1:00 over Verona’s Blake Herburger and a 9-8 decision over Athens’ Brooks Kraus. But Goodhue’s Lucas Bortz beat him 6-1 and Sova was eliminated with a 12-0 loss to Wausau West’s Gabriel Galang.

Eric Rehbein picked up a couple of consolation wins at 126 pounds. After a loss by injury default to Chatfield’s Kail Schott, he beat Lincoln Manning of Ithaca- Weston 8-1 and Portage’s Garret Crawford 4-1. Luke Shefchik of Luxemburg-Casco (18-8) eliminated Rehbein with a 10-6 win.

Hayden Johnson at 170 pounds, Kayden Dassow at 138 pounds, Blake Schilling at 120 pounds and Matthew Gebert at 113 pounds all went 0-2 in contested matches.

Stillwater, Minn. was the tournament’s highest-scoring team with 366.5 points, easily beating Holmen (251.5) for the Division 1 title. Marshfield was third in the division with 226.5 points. Luxemburg- Casco won the Division 2 title with 222.5 points, holding off Prairie du Chien (213.5) and the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Co-op (194.5). Stratford won the Division 3 championship with 282.5 points, easily beating Chatfield (153.5) and La Crosse Aquinas (132.5).