The Reedsburg wrestling team represented its home gym well on Dec. 2 when the Beavers hosted seven area schools for a duels invitational and took second place.
The Beavers went 4-1 on the day, recording dominant wins over Oregon, Westby, and Riverdale. Reedsburg’s lone loss of the day was against eventual champion River Valley, while the closest duel of the contest came against La Crosse where the Beavers won 42-36.
“We had a good day,” coach Rob Bautch said. “With forfeiting at three weights and some inexperience at both the varsity and JV, we weren’t sure how they would respond to a five-match tournament. They definitely were up to the task. We’re happy with a second place finish.”
Reedsburg was certainly tested against La Crosse in the second round of competition, as a back-and-forth duel played out. Brady Fry grabbed the first victory for the Beavers, earning a pin at the 1:02 mark in the 170-pound match. Langston Brown followed with a late pin over Alex Gavrilos in the 182 (4:58), but La Crosse tied the score with two win-by-forfeits and took the lead with pins over Reedsburg’s David Finkel in the 285 (1:06) and Kaiden Otto in the 106 (1:11). Caylee Fry was able to pin La Crosse’s Dakota Gruen in the 113 match (1:31), but the Beavers didn’t have a wrestler for the 120.
Reedsburg tacked on 18 points in the next three matches however, with Caden Fry (1:43), Garrett Schinker (:44), and Mason McMillen (2:18) all winning by pin. La Crosse kept things interesting with a pin over Noah Klingbeil in the 145 (:59) to tie the score 36-36. It all came down to the final two matches, where Reedsburg’s Bryce Bierman and Kaden Reuterskiold were able to come away with close decisions. Bierman went up 4-0 early in his match against Christian Kapanke with a takedown and a reversal, but Kapanke eventually made it 8-5 after a couple of takedowns of his own and a technical foul on Bierman. Kapanke earned a reversal with seconds remaining in the final period, but Bierman broke free of Kapanke to earn an escape at the buzzer to seal the deal, winning the decision 9-7.
Reuterskiold had a similar match in the 160, only this time points were hard to come by. Reuterskiold earned a takedown in the first and a reversal in the second, but his opponent Todd Werner threatened down the stretch, recording a takedown with 20 seconds left but Reuterskiold rode him from there, earning the 4-2 win to give Reedsburg the overall 42-36 victory.
“We did have a close match with La Crosse,” Bautch said. “When you spot your opponent 18 points due to forfeits, it’s often tough to overcome. But the wrestlers did exactly what they needed to get that win. We shuffled our line-up around a bit, freshman Garret Schinker came in and got a big pin for us at 132, Bryce Bierman came away with a close 9-7 win and Kaden Reuterskiold sealed the dual with a close 4-2 win. We always talk about every point mattering in duals for team points. The whole team responded well.”
Reedsburg cruised past Oregon, taking down the Panthers 48-18. The Beavers won six matches by forfeit, with other wins coming from Caden Fry in the 126 (Dec. 6-2), Klingbeil in the 145 (Dec. 7-6), and Brown in the 182 (Fall 5:59). It was a similar story against Riverdale, as the Beavers won six matches by forfeit to win 52-19. Reedsburg wins included Brown in the 182 (Fall 4:26), Caden Fry in the 126 (tech fall 21-6), and McMillen in the 132 (tech fall 18-3).
The other win came against Westby, which had more opponents for Reedsburg to battle as the Beavers won just six points off of win-by-forfeits. Reedsburg still won by a landslide however, taking down the Norsemen 51-21. Wins came from Schinker in the 126 (Fall 1:25), Caden Fry in the 132 (Fall 3:41), McMillen in the 138 (Fall 2:17), Bierman in the 152 (Dec. 2-0), Reuterskiold in the 160 (Fall 2:59), Brady Fry in the 170 (Fall :39), and Brown in the 182 (Fall 3:47).
Reedsburg was only able to muster up three wins against a strong River Valley team, falling 62-18. The Beavers won at the 152 and the 170 by forfeit, while Reuterskiold won by pin over Caden Krueger in the 160 (1:40). Returning state qualifier Mason McMillen and last season’s state runner-up Zach Licht met in the 138, where the match was tied 5-5 before McMillen fell by pin at the 5:40 mark.
“River Valley is a strong team with a lot of depth, which helps them be able to juggle their line-up around,” Bautch said. “(The 138) was the highlight match of the tournament and it didn’t disappoint the fans. Both wrestlers were on their back on some point. It looked like watching a college match with a lot of great scrambling.”
Reuterskiold and Bierman both went 5-0 on the day.
Reedsburg’s home invite came less than 24 hours after a Badger North Conference loss to Waunakee in Reedsburg. The Beavers won three matches, with Caden Fry pinning Kyle Wilcox in the 132 (5:11), McMillen pinning Kael Johnson in the 138 (1:45), and Bierman earning a 5-2 decision over Colton Grindle in the 152.
The Beavers will have their second shot at grabbing a conference duel win on Dec. 8 when they travel to Mount Horeb.