Subscribe | E-Editions | River News 75 | Super Shopper - FREE | About Us | Contact Us | FREE Classified Items Under $50
The Northwoods River News | Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Flanders Realty Group

home : sports : high school sports
January 18, 2020

12/10/2019 7:32:00 AM
Hodag wrestlers finish 7th at Wausau West Duals

Jeremy Mayo
Sports Editor

The Rhinelander High School wrestling team took its lumps Saturday at the Wausau West Duals and coach Paul Ellenbecker was OK with that.

Rhinelander won its final match of the day, edging Sauk Prairie 42-34, to finish seventh in the eight-team multi-dual meet in Wausau.

The Hodags faced some heavy hitters in the tournament, losing to Wittenberg-Birnamwood (48-33), Stevens Point (54-21) and Holmen (54-26) in pool play before falling to Wausau West (54-6) in the semifinals of the consolation bracket.

"This is probably the best this tournament has been in a long time," coach Ellenbecker said. "Wittenberg's up, Wausau West is up, Medford's very good, Stevens Point has their best team they've had in a while. We were really kind of overmatched with numbers and experience but I was very happy we could get a win at the end.

"This is a year about growth and getting better and that's what we did today. We got better and we competed against top-notch competition. I'm super excited about taking seventh place, which I never thought I'd say, but I'm really proud of our guys, how we competed and how we got better."

Some of Rhinelander's newer wrestlers stepped up. Sophomore Cole Lehman picked a good time for his first varsity win. His first-period pin of Dylan Breunig in the penultimate match against Sauk Prairie clinched the dual meet victory for the Hodags.

"It was good to see Cole, who just joined us, he was 0-4 wrestling a bunch of state qualifiers earlier on, really super tough kids," Ellenbecker said. "To battle back and get us a big win when we needed it so we could win a dual meet, I'm really proud of the effort he put in all day."

Walker Hartman continued his strong start to the season, going undefeated on the day.

"Walker had kind of an easy day for him," Ellenbecker said. "I think he had one close match against Wausau West, but other than that he took care of everybody that he had pretty easily. Walker's really coming on as a junior leader of our team. He's a kid that doesn't back down from anyone. He had a little tighter match against Wausau West than we would have liked, but he's just coming into his own now. He's a very experienced wrestler. He knows how to win matches and is getting that confidence going, a little bit of swagger, which is going to help him down the road."

Tim Fox went 4-1 for Rhinelander in the light weights while the Hodags had a quartet of wrestlers finish 3-2 - Ben Sinclair, Trevor Knapp, Cayden Neri and Josh Gardner. In particular, Ellenbecker highlighted the days of Neri and Gardner - a senior who joined the team this year after wrestling earlier in his youth.

"He's been a great addition to our room," Ellenbecker said of Gardner. "He's wrestling 138 for us and that's a very tough weight class around the state. The competition today was intense and the matches he lost, he wrestled really tough kids and did a good job. He's been great in our room and we're super happy to have him.

"Cayden Neri is just such a good athlete and I'm excited to see how Cayden does the next couple years - not only just wrestling but football and as an athlete period. He's one of the best athletes in our school and he's one of the few tough kids that can really handle the sport ... It's fun to watch him battle. He got so much better every single match. The sky's the limit for him."

The Hodags open the Great Northern Conference dual meet schedule on the road Thursday at defending conference champion Medford, which was also in attendance on Saturday. Though the Hodags did not see their conference rival head-to-head, Ellenbecker said he knows what his team will be up against Thursday night at Raider Hall.

"They are definitely the cream of the crop in our conference," he said. "This is the year they've been waiting for a long time. They have a really good senior class and they were really impressive today. They knocked off some good teams. We're going to have our hands full. We're going to have to wrestle really well and have some breaks go our way to compete with them. They're legit one of the better teams in Division 2 this year."

Jeremy Mayo may be reached at

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, and meet the comment guidelines (see "Comment Guidelines" at right). There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number and email address is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search
search sponsored by

Subscription Login

Today's Circulars
Print-N-Save Coupons
Order photo reprints

Advertising Information

Community Connections
Submit to Newspaper...

Ced Vig's books for sale
Kris Gilbertson's 'I Recall...'

Sports Facebook
RN Sports on Twitter

Reader Poll

Who will win the NFC Championship Game?

Please select one:
Green Bay by 8 or more
Green Bay by 7 or fewer
San Francisco by 7 or fewer
San Francisco by 8 or more

View Results

Facebook | All Things | Wisconsin Lottery | The Lakeland Times - affiliate | Winter Road Conditions | Snow/Trail Conditions

The Northwoods River News | Walker Communications, LLC
232 S. Courtney Street, Rhinelander, WI 54501 | Office (715) 365-6397 | Fax (715) 365-6361

Corporate billing office: The Lakeland Times / Lakeland Printing Inc. | P.O. Box 790, Minocqua, WI 54548 | (715) 356-5236 | Fax (715) 358-2121
Members of the Wisconsin Newspaper Association, Wisconsin Community Papers, Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce, Minocqua Area Chamber of Commerce

Site Design and Content | Copyright 2020 1up!

Software © 1998-2020 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved