The Rhinelander High School wrestling team hosted a Great Northern Conference dual and would fall to Tomahawk 39-30 on Thursday. Despite the Hodags winning 7 of the 10 contested matches they didn’t have enough depth in their lineup to get the job done and fell short to the Hatchets at the Jim Miazga Community Gymnasium.
Rhinelander handed Tomahawk 24 of their 39 points on the night including the opening three bouts where RHS forfeited at 132, 138 and 145. The Hatchets would take the early 18-0 advantage before rallying back in the next four matches.
The Hodags pulled back within two points after winning the next four bouts. Walker Hartman put Rhinelander on the board with a 13-0 major decision win over Marcus Matti at 152. Senior Eric Grukle used an escaped and takedown in the third period to defeat senior Wyatt Wenninger who was ranked 9th in 160 in Division 2. Grukle used late momentum to earn a 3-1 decision to upset Wenninger.
Freshman Gavin Ostermann would follow at 170, pinning Ryan Skees at 1:35. Ben Sinclair of the Hodags continued the run and used a third-period escape at 182 to defeat Kade Wenninger 6-5.
Tomahawk would then respond winning at 195 when Connor Lund was pinned in at 3:06 by Erik Decker. But the Hodags picked up another win at the 220 bout when Trevor Knapp earned a pin over Austin Leinen in just 39 seconds.
Toni Matti of the Hatchets would earn a 3-1 win at 285 over Chase Redmond after an escape and takedown in the third period. It also gave Tomahawk a 27-22 lead in the dual.
But that is where the tables turned when the lightweight matches came up and Rhinelander was unable to fill their lineup, which proved to be the difference down the stretch.
Rhinelander would take their only lead of the night with only two matches left after a pair of wins at 106 and 113. First, Tim Fox controlled the bout at 106 against Blake Felser where he earned a technical fall in the second period to tie the match up 27-27.
Hugh Wiese would give the Hodags' a 30-27 edge in the dual after recording at 2-1 decision over Gage Robinson at 113. Wiese battled through all three-periods highlighted by an escaped in the final period to pull ahead by one.
A forfeit for Rhinelander at 120, credited to Lance Knight of Tomahawk would give the Hatchets a three-point advantage going into the final bout. Tomahawk's Luke Knight, who is currently ranked 12th in Division 2 at 126 was paired up against Will Swanson. Knight got an early take down and secured a pin at 1:47 as the Hatchets earned a nine-point dual win.
Rhinelander fell to 0-2 in the Great Northern Conference standings and will be back in action Saturday when they take part in the Bluejay Challenge in Merrill.