The Rhinelander High School wrestling team despite not having their full lineup finished 7th out of 14 teams in Division 1 at the Northern Badger Classic in River Falls that concluded Friday. The two-day tournament hosted 42 teams overall and the Hodags were able to send five of their eight entries to the second day placement rounds.
In the rigorous holiday tournament, Rhinelander fared well asked several quality opponents including state ranked wrestlers in every class. RHS was able to rebound after a close loss to Great Northern Conference Medford.
Rhinelander sophomore Tim Fox led the way for the Hodags and had the best finish at the tournament. Fox went 4-2 overall and placed sixth in the 106-pound weight class. To get to the quarterfinals Fox earned a pin and a decision win but would then fall to Luke Theamert of St. Croix Falls and fell in a 2-0 decision.
Then in the placement rounds Fox won close decisions over Nolan Johnson (Luck) and Logan Trautt (Northwestern) to get put in the fifth-place match. Fox then faced Josiah Berg (Boyceville) but lose by technical fall to finish sixth.
Rhinelander would add four more top-11 finishes from there, all coming in the upper weight classes. Walker Hartman (152), senior Eric Grulke (160), Trevor Knapp (220), and Chase Redmond (285) all placed for the Hodags. Grulke and Knapp each finished ninth, Redmond finished 10th, and Hartman came in 11th.
Grulke went 5-2 including three pin wins and two decisions. He fell early in the tournament to Cory Kidder but would turn the table in the consolation rounds and pinned him to advance to the ninth place match. Grulke then downed Dakota Gartmann (Baldwin-Woodville) 11-4 to finish ninth overall.
Knapp finished 4-2 overall with all four wins via pin to also finish ninth for Rhinelander. Starting the tournament with back-to-back pins to advance to the quarterfinals, Knapp then fell in two-straight bouts. In the consolation rounds Knapp finished strong and earned pins against Isaiah Upson (Phillips) and Isaiah Huray (Northwestern) to secure a ninth place finish.
At 285, Redmond finished 4-3 but just narrowly missed advancing to the top rounds to compete for a top-five finish. Redmond fell in a 3-2 decision in the consolation round but came back to earn a 15-4 major decision over Trent Orlowski (Northwestern). And in the ninth place match Redmond again suffered a 3-2 decision against Nathan Berends (St. Croix Central) to finish 10th.
And Hartman finished 3-1 that included three pins on Friday to reach the placement rounds. From there, Hartman fell in his first two matches Saturday before finishing with a 3-0 decision over Brandon Bruneau (Phillips) to place 11th for RHS.
Hugh Wiese (113), Will Swanson (120), and Ben Sinclair (182) were all eliminated after Friday's matches. Sinclair went 2-2, Swanson finished 1-2, and Wiese went 0-2.
Rhinelander will return to their Great Northern Conference schedule on Thursday when they host Tomahawk at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium. Varsity dual matches will begin at 7:00PM.