Stratford stops Saints’ path to Madison

Above The Fold Media | For the Leader
Mason Will celebrates a victory.
No sectional title for Saint wrestlers
CUMBERLAND – A fourth consecutive regional title wasn’t followed by a sectional title.
The St. Croix Falls wrestling team had a chance to secure a spot in the WIAA Division 3 state finals in the sectional at Cumberland on Feb. 18, but fellow annual powerhouse Stratford stopped the Saints’ path to Madison.
"Against Stratford, we didn’t wrestle our best,” St. Croix Falls coach Joe Raygor said. "I measure the team’s success on the amount of fight displayed; we simply didn’t fight at a rate that St. Croix Falls needs to display.”
Before ending the team season with a 43-30 loss to Stratford, the Saints earned a spot in that sectional championship match by defeating Boyceville 66-9 in the semifinal.
Mason Will, 120; and Tanner Gaffey, 285; got wins by forfeit for St. Croix Falls, though the Saints dominated a majority of the matches that were held. Kaden Clark, 106, won by pin in 4 minutes, 58 seconds over Emma Gruenhagen; Luke Thaemert, 113, won in 1:28 over Brice Evenson; Sam Glenna, 132, won in 3:10 over Peyton Ponath; Kole Marko, 145, won in 1:23 over Jacob Granley; Graidy Guggisberg, 160, won in 3:18 over Preston Coombs; James Kemp, 170, won in 5:13 over Nick Hillman; Mckinley Erickson, 195, won in 29 seconds over Josh Marzofka; and Kyle Zehm won in 1:26 over Keegan Plemon.
In addition to the multiple wins by pin, the Saints also earned two wins by decision. Zack Clark, 138, won a 6-1 decision over Ira Bialzik and Bennett Bergmann, 152, won a 2-1 decision over Tyler Dormanen.
But against Stratford, avoiding one pin in any of their losses and getting one more win by pin would have made the difference between concluding the season and planning a group trip to Madison for the Saints.
St. Croix Falls got wins by forfeit at 106, 113 and 120, though Stratford nearly accounted for those points with wins in the next three weight divisions. Devyn Rode, 126, lost in 19 seconds to Gavin Drexler; Glenna lost in 35 seconds to Max Schwabe and Clark took a major decision loss from Elijah Lucio.
Marko managed a 6-2 win over Gavin Kirsch and Bergmann won a 5-2 decision over Konner Stuttgen, though both Stratford wrestlers avoided pins, which helped secure the team’s win.
St. Croix Falls was denied a win in the remaining divisions and was unable to gain ground on the scoreboard. Jacob Heiden defeated Guggisberg in 2:44; Hunter Ford won by disqualification over Kemp; Raife Smart won a 4-3 decision over Erickson and Trevor Dennee won in 1:18 over Kyle Zehm.
"We will learn from our mistakes and use those lessons to improve,” Raygor said. "Losses are hard to handle but teach you more in the long run.”

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