By jeremy ratliff
In the wake of the annual two-day Northern Exposure tournament hosted by MHS last week, the Bluejay grapplers finished 10th (4-3), in an 18-team field.
The guys led off with a 45-28 win over Rice Lake on Wednesday, Dec. 28, then fell to Waukesha-South (44-29) and Mineral Point (70-6).
Following a 50-30 win over Manawa, the Jays fell to New Berlin-West/Eisenhower 53-24 to close out the afternoon.
Thursday culminated with a Rosholt win, 46-24; and a loss to Menomonie, 48-32.
Senior Devon Schultz spearheaded the Bluejay effort with a flawless 7-0 run.
Freshman Alex Gehrke pulled off a solid 6-1 effort along with sophomore Hayden Smith, followed by Smith’s twin brother Holden at 5-2.
Senior Brendan Leder overcame considerable adversity to finish 4-1 in the two-day bout.
“We had a few wrestlers struggling with illness so that hurt us right away,” comments head coach Brian Suchocki. “But I felt we did well in overcoming that. We weren’t on our ‘A game’ overall but we had some kids step up to do a nice job on the mat for us. Devon (Schultz) wrestled very well and went 7-0, Hayden and Holden Smith wrestled very well also as did freshman Alex Gehrke.
“Alex, Hayden and Holden are young and very talented wrestlers. I think they learned a lot from the tournament, as did the entire team. We have a young team overall, mixed with some experience. It’s tough to have some consistency at times, but as always we will continue to focus on one practice, one match at a time and getting better every week.”
The Jays have a busy week ahead with a home WVC bout with Marshfield on Friday, then back to their home mat on Saturday for the annual Bluejay challenge meet.
“This is a grind time of year for the guys,” Suchocki adds. “They are past the midway point in the season, but not yet toward the end. When it’s grind time, It’s about finding a way to get better, keep a positive attitude and wrestling through adversity.”
Friday’s dual meet is set for a 7 p.m. start time at the MHS Field House.