The Tomah High School wrestling team may not have produced a champion at the Dec. 16 Richland Center Invitational, but coach Jeff Von Haden’s squad still made its presence felt.

Nate Boulton and Marques Fritsche finished second, and Tomah had eight other placewinners to take third in the team standings of the 17-school event.

Von Haden appreciated the elite competition and how his wrestlers met the challenge.

“There were a number of tough weight classes,” Von Haden said. “Marques Fritsche and Nate Boulton wrestled tough to get into the finals, where they ran into really good opponents. Overall it was good for the team as 10 of the 12 who competed placed.”

Boulton reached the finals of the 126-pound weight class by scoring a pin and an 8-2 decision before losing 15-3 in the finals against Julian Purney of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau. Boulton improved his record to 14-2.

Fritsche advanced to the finals of the 160 bracket with 14-6 and 10-9 decisions before getting pinned in the finals by Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus’ Patrick Rielly. Fritsche emerged with a 12-4 record.

Dawson Lambert (120) and Travis Von Haden (152) finished third.

Lambert faced three opponents with a combined 33-12 record. He won his third-place match with a 9-4 decision over Baraboo’s Brandon Jesse.

Travis Von Haden also negotiated a tough bracket in which the top two seeds had a combined record of 31-2. He lost to then-undefeated Bryce Bierman of Reedsburg 2-0 in the semifinals before claiming third place with a 7-1 decision over Monty Jennings of Ithaca/Weston.

Seth Carlson, who only recently claimed a varsity spot at 170, won three of four matches to finish fifth. He was pinned in the first round before pinning three straight opponents in the consolation bracket.

Caden Griffin (106), Connor Von Haden (182) and Colby Von Haden (220) finished sixth, and Brayden Bemis (132) finished eighth.

Team scores: Gale-Ettrick-Trempeleau/Melrose-Mindoro 256, Baraboo 211.5, Tomah 188, Reedsburg 170.5, Monroe 159.5, Ithaca/Weston 155.5, Riverdale 148.0, Cochrane-Fountain City 132.5, Mauston 117.0, Wisconsin Dells 99, Hillsboro 94.0, Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus 85, Boscobel 85, Richland Center 82, Belmont/Platteville 80, River Ridge 37, Cashton 24.

Next for the Timberwolves is the Bi-State Classic Dec. 29-30 in La Crosse.

“We are healthy right now heading into Bi-State,” Jeff Von Haden said. “We will field a full team and are looking to gain experience. I am hoping to have a few kids place and everyone to win some matches.”

Tomah’s next home match is Tuesday, Jan. 9 against Holmen, the top-ranked team in Division 1.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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