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RHS: Wrestling
Solitary Hodag Alive at State
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/21/2013

Rhinelander's Connor Johnson, regional champ at 195lbs to compete at state. ( Photo By Bob Mainhardt )

     After one day of the WIAA state wrestling tournament, one Hodag is in the semifinals and another is out of the tournament.

Connor Johnson earned a major decision and a pin Thursday at the Kohl Center in Madison to wrestle into the semifinals at 195 pounds. Richard Klaver lost his first match, 7-4, and did not get an opportunity to wrestle back.

Johnson, the No. 2 ranked 195-pound wrestler according Wisconsin Wrestling Online, defeated Brett Samson (No. 13, 33-9) of Oconomowoc by a major decision 15-5 to open the day, setting up a matchup with P.J. LeClaire (No. 12, 39-12) of Brookfield East. Johnson didn’t let the match see the end of the first period, finishing it by way of pinfall just one minute and 55 seconds into the first period.

Johnson is now guaranteed to finish in the top six at state. He is the first Hodag to reach the semis and place at state since Eddie Stefonek accomplished both feats in 2007.

Rhinelander assistant wrestling coach Jim Kreitlow said he is excited about the way Johnson wrestled.

“He looked better in his second match,” Kreitlow said. “He had butterflies his first time out winning 15-5, and picked up the tempo with the pin in the second match.”

     Klaver (No. 10), took on Brandon Sprecher (No. 12, 38-9) of Sauk Prairie in his first match of the day. Klaver found himself on top of Sprecher with about 20 seconds remaining in the final period, but Sprecher was able to work his way to an escape to lead 5-4 with seconds remaining.

Klaver shot in on a desperation takedown for the win, but Sprecher ended up on top and took the victory 7-4. Unfortunately for Klaver, Sprecher lost his next match against Kasey Caelwaerts (No. 3, 44-2) of Pulaski 3-1, and Klaver watched his opportunity to wrestle back disappear. Had Sprecher won, Klaver would have received a spot to wrestle back against Caelwaerts.

Kreitlow spoke about Klaver’s loss, as well as his future off the mat.

“Richard might have been a little off today,” Kreitlow said. “He was pretty nervous and he didn’t have his best match losing 7-4. Unfortunately his season is over. It isn’t the way he wanted to finish, but he doesn’t have anything to feel bad about finishing 36-7. We thought he had a good chance of placing but sometimes this is the way it is. We move forward and Richard is a great kid who I know will do good things in his life.”

Johnson wrestled Nick Osowski (No. 4, 42-3) in the semifinals in a match that concluded after deadline. Visit www.rivernewsonline.com for an update on Johnson’s progress.

Hodag Sports Library
01/15/2015 Close win for the Hodags
12/30/2014 Hodags Wrestling Well at the 30th Annual Northern Badger Wrestling Classic
12/30/2014 Hodag Wrestlers Finish Northern Badger Wrestling Classic with class, finish 3rd
12/11/2014 Tigers Beat Hodags in home opener
03/26/2014 Wrestling Wrap Up
03/02/2014 Connor Johnson: 4th place at state
02/28/2014 Johnson Wrestles Well, Advances to Saturday's Competition
02/24/2014 Hodag Wrestling Johnson advances to state
02/17/2014 Hodag Wrestling finishes 5th: 7 advance to sectionals
02/10/2014 Hodags shine with first ever conference championship

Hodag Place 6th at Regionals 02/14/2015 After sweeping the Great Northern Conference a week earlier, the now back-to-back champion Hodags advanced to the WIAA Division 1 Regional which was held at Marshfield High School on Saturday, Februar
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