On a roll
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Marshfield wrestling team begins defense of championship
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD – The Marshfield wrestling team begins defense of its Wisconsin Valley Conference championship from a year ago on Thursday at home against Stevens Point, and comes into the dual match on a roll.
Marshfield won seven-straight duals last week, beating Sparta and Antigo at home on Dec. 7 and going a perfect 5-0 at the Neenah Varsity Duals on Dec. 9, to bring positive momentum into the Valley schedule.
The Tigers rolled past Racine Horlick 70-6, Manitowoc 60-18, and Campbellsport 60-18, and also defeated Two Rivers 42-36 and Neenah 36-30 at the Neenah tournament.
Marshfield won its first Wisconsin Valley Conference title since 1959 and reached the WIAA team sectionals last season, and now are eager to get things rolling in conference action after a positive start to the 2017-18 campaign.
“We take it day-by-day and making sure we’re taking advantage of the opportunity we have,” Marshfield coach Jackson Hein said. “We’re really excited to get back into the (Wisconsin) Valley Conference and get in those scrambles in the dual meets. When Thursday comes for Point, we’ll be ready.”
Along with their two returning state tournament qualifiers, Nolan Hertel (152 pounds) and Sam Mitchell (195), a number of other Tigers are off to great starts.
Caden Pearce (145 pounds) and Bentley Swanebeck-Ostermann (170), both sectional qualifiers last year, Hertel, and freshman Gabe Pugh (113) each were 5-0 at the Neenah meet. Pugh is now 11-0 this season. Alex Brost (220) and Mitchell both went 4-1 at Neenah.
“The biggest thing I look for in our guys is to just go and compete,” Hein said. “I tell them all the time that I could care less if they actually win, if they go out and not afraid to make mistakes, then us coaches can really coach them up. We did that (against Antigo) and made a lot of adjustments from when we were at Stoughton. As a coach, that’s what I like to see, is the improvement.
“I just try to focus on what we’re doing, what we can get better at, and what we’re doing that is good that we can make great.”
Following the meet with Stevens Point, Marshfield will wrestle at the Shawano Invitational on Saturday, compete at Wisconsin Rapids on Dec. 21 in another WVC dual, and close out the calendar year at the Bi-State Classic in La Crosse on Dec. 29-30.