The Rhinelander High School wrestling team kicked off their 2017-2018 season with a convincing home win on parents' night against Crandon. The Hodags' won six of the eight contested matches on the night and collected five forfeit wins to cruise to a 63-9 non-conference victory at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
Rhinelander had four wrestlers win their matches on pines, and the remaining two contested matches won by technical fall and a major decision. Tim Fox (106), Tyler Olson (132), Walker Hartman (145), and Alec Kurtz (195) all recorded pins for RHS.
Fox only need 3:18 to pin freshman Hutson Kane at 106, and held an 11-0 advantage before the fall. Wrestling up a weight class at 132, Olson opened the match and fell behind 2-0 to Jakob Hoyt of the Cardinals but turned the tables to pin Hoyt at 3:42 in the second period.
In his varsity debut at 145, Hartman also trailed early on to Bradley Shepherd after the first period. But Hartman finished strong and was able to pin Shepherd with only 19 seconds left in the second.
Kurtz, one of Rhinelander's top returning wrestlers who qualified for WIAA State last season only need 55 seconds at 195 pounds to pin Dylan Bukovic of Crandon.
After finishing fourth at state last season, Jacob DeMeyer started his season off with an 18-2 technical fall victory only 13 seconds into the third at 160-pound match against Breed Shepard. DeMeyer built an early lead and would take a 15-2 advantage in the second period before earning the technical fall.
At 152, Eric Grulke charted a 13-3 major decision win for the Hodags. Grulke raced out to a 11-0 lead over Riley Anderson of the Cardinals after the first two periods. But Anderson nearly battled back with a near pin in the third. But Grulke scored the reversal and would earn the major decision.
The two losses the Hodags' suffered were at 170 and 182. Crandon’s Ty Flannery won a 1-0 decision over Scott Fox. And John Doane of the Cardinals pinned Ben Sinclair at 182 pounds. Both teams did not have a wrestler in the 138-pound class.
Isabella Anderson (113), Will Swanson (120), Reuben Guzik (126), Colton Krueger (220), and Chase Redmond (285) all earned forfeit wins for Rhinelander.
Rhinelander will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Pulaski for their first invitational of the season.