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Prairie wrestlers open season with thrilling dual win at Iowa-Grant/Highland before placing second behind Kaukauna at the Howard-Manley Duals Tournament in East Troy

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Porter Kossman waits for the pin to be called as he keeps his Clinton Cougars opponent on his back. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Prairie du Chien’s Jack Simmons eyes up Kaukauna’s Nehemiah Lendobeja early in their match at 285 pounds. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Drew Hird has Oak Creek’s Wyatt Winkler locked up as the ref calls the pinfall in their match at 157 pounds. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Senior Jeremiah Avery looks to move Clinton's Joe Collins into position for the fall during their 175 pound match. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Drake Ingham looks towards the time clock in the corner as he waits for the referee to call his pinfall of Clinton's D'Angelo Vernon. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Bryce Lenzendorf and Oak Creek's Jackson Villarreal get ready for someone to make the first move at the start of their 165 pound match. Villarreal would go on to defeat Lenzendorf by a score of 3 to 2. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Blake Thiry appears to have pinned his opponent Logan Carlson near the end of the Hawks 71-6 win over the Division One Oak Creek Knights. The referee did not see it the same way however, and Thiry had to settle for a 17-2 win via technical fall. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

By Derick Kelly

 

Prairie Wrestling, ranked second in Division 2 by wiwrestle.com, opened up their 2023-24 season on Friday, Dec. 1 by traveling to Iowa-Grant High School to take on the Iowa-Grant/Highland Panthers, ranked third in Division 3, in an early season showdown.

The Hawks jumped out to a 24-6 lead after five matches thanks to pins from Hunter Reid (106), Brady Baumgartner (126), and Mason Hird (132) and a forfeit victory by Brylee Brewer (113). The only loss in the first five matches was at 120 pounds where Lucas Christianson defeated PdC’s Porter Kossman via pinfall in 1:21.

The hosts seemingly took the advice of poet Dylan Thomas to heart by not going away quietly into the good night as they reeled off wins in each of the next seven matches in a row to take a 34-26 dual lead into the final two matches of the match. 

Blake Thiry pulled the Hawks within four with a pin in 2:30 of the Panthers’ Bode Brokopp at 215 pounds before Prairie’s Jack Simmons gave the Hawks a 36-34 victory with a pin in the 285 pound weight class of I-G/H’s Bronson McHone in just 1:49. 

While the Panthers won eight of the 14 matches, they only managed to win three of those matches via pinfall (worth six team points each) and one more by major decision (work four team points). The Hawks on the other hand managed to win via pinfall or forfeit (each worth six team points) in each of their six victories to take home the win.

Following that excitement, the Hawks traveled to East Troy on Saturday for the annual Howard-Manley Duals, a tournament  that was won by Prairie Wrestling last year. 

There was one significant change from last year however as longtime rival Lodi left the tournament and was replaced by Division One powerhouse Kaukauna, the three time defending Division One state champions. Each team was placed into one of two pools alongside five other teams. The first five duals of the day took place in pool play, with the sixth and final match occurring against a team from the other pool based on team placement during pool competition.

The Hawks were placed into pool B and began the day with the Clinton Cougars, a familiar opponent for the Hawks dating back to this year’s football postseason. The Cougars proved to be no match for the Hawks as Prairie defeated Clinton 83-0. Earning wins via pinfall for the Hawks were Hunter Reid (106), Porter Kossman (120), B. Baumgartner (126), M. Hird (132), Drake Ingham (138), Mason Baumgartner (144), Drew Hird (157), Bryce Lenzendorf (165), and Jeremiah Avery (175). J. Simmons (285), Brewer (113), Jack MacEachern (190), and Blake Thiry (220) all earned victories via forfeit, while Jackson Perkins (150) won via technical fall 15-0.

The Hawks ended up sweeping their pool play with wins over Baraboo (63-13), East Troy (61-16), Oak Creek (71-6), and Mukwonago (53-18). Wrestlers for the Hawks to go undefeated in all five duals of pool play were Ingham, Avery, and Thiry.

Finally it was time for the first place match between the winner of pool A - Kaukauna (who shutout three of the five opponents they wrestled in pool play), and the winner of pool B - Prairie du Chien. The Hawks were no match for the Galloping Ghosts though as Kaukauna showed why they have won seven  Division 1 team state championships by handily defeating the Hawks by a score of 46-13. However, the 46 points were the fewest scored by the Ghosts all day. The Hawks were able to pick up three match victories as M. Baumgartner defeated Ramses Aguirre 4-1 at 144 pounds, Thiry beat Sam Weber by a score of 11-0 at 215 pounds, and Mason Hird received a forfeit at 132 pounds to end the night. 

Amazingly, combined with the pool play results (Kaukauna lost just seven total matches across their five pool play matches), the Galloping Ghosts went an astounding 74-10 in matches during the tournament. Prairie du Chien was not too far behind them with a record of 60-24.

Next up for Prairie Wrestling is the 2023 Devils Duals Tournament at the Dells Dome in Wisconsin Dells on Saturday, Dec. 9 starting at 9:00 a.m.

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