Merrill grapplers cry ?Timber!? to East

Thought to be a vastly improved wrestling team in 2010-11, Wausau East still needed an upset win and controversial pin to score a dozen points in Thursday’s 42-12 loss at Merrill.
“It was just good, solid wrestling, nothing flashy,” MHS coach Scott Arneson said. “There were a lot of six-minute matches with good, solid technique. We just showed team balance.
“(The Lumberjacks) are steadily improving each year. Josh Ernst is their new coach and I coached with him through Northern Exposure in the summer. Then you’ve got Joe Levickis, an (MHS) alumni coach, on the other side. It was fun, a healthy competition. I enjoy coaching against those guys.”
The Bluejays raced up 11 wins to three losses, including pins from Tyler Schmidt (189, 3:30) and Grant Collins (285, 2:39), a tech fall from Ray Paul (145, 16-0), and a major decision from Kassidy Block (112, 15-6). These were the first varsity matches for both Schmidt, a freshman and multiple time age-group state champ, and Block. Block used solid technique to overcome superior strength from her foe, Tanner Mickelsen.
“That’s got to be the first time in school history a girl wrestled a varsity match, much less winning a varsity match,” Arneson said. “She said that’s the first time she wrestled a six-minute match. It’s just awesome for the sport. Girls wrestling is big in the U.S. People don’t realize the opportunities out there.
“For Kassidy and Tyler, the first time wrestling varsity is usually pretty crazy. It was nice to see them get well-deserved wins.”
The Jays scored several near-majors from Kyle Swan (160, 7-0), Dylan Burkam (17, 11-4), Noah Lassa (215, 8-1), and Michael Ball (140, 9-2).
“We’ve changed things in practice and shortened things up,” Arneson said. “The kids seem to have responded so we’ll stick to it.”
Other wins came from Justin Bloch (152, 6-4), Garrett Schmelling (19, 4-2) and Marcus Reinhardt (125, 1-0).
Wyatt Booth (103) was upset 8-6 by Nicky Diny after falling behind 5-0 in the first period. Jack Osness (135) was edged 6-4, and Matt Reinhardt (130) was pinned in 3:15 in a heated match with Alex Bessette.

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