A lot of work goes into each practice. A ton of work goes into every season. When a high school senior wrestler competes in the last match of his career it is obviously an emotional affair. Osceola senior Nick Carlson competed for his final time as a Chieftain at the WIAA Sectional meet in Neillsville last week. Carlson wrestled very well and earned third place in a very tough tournament.
“Not sure where to start,” Osceola Coach Nate Demulling said. “Our last senior still wrestling competed in his last match (last Saturday). Last matches are tough, no matter when they happen. As coaches we get to know the wrestlers well over four years and it’s always sad to see their career’s end. (Saturday) was a little bitter as any other year a third place finish would mean a trip to the State tournament, a goal of all wrestlers. Nick left everything on the mat and that’s something to be really proud of.”
Carlson began his tournament with a matchup against a senior from Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro high school. He dominated the match from the start, eventually getting a pin with nine seconds left to go in the third period setting up a match with Brayden Albee of Eau Claire Regis/Altoona. The two wrestlers were evenly matched with regulation ending in a tie setting up an overtime session to determine the winner.
“It was gritty,” Demulling noted. “The match was still tied after the first one minute of overtime. It then went into the second overtime which consists of two 30 second periods. He was down by two in the second 30 second period and chose down. He earned an escape for one point. His opponent had been warned for stalling earlier so Nick set the tempo high and took multiple shots. He didn’t get the takedown but did force his opponent into giving up a stalling point, and tied the match. In the third and final overtime, Nick received the choice of position as he had scored first and took the down position. He earned the escape to win the contest.”
The win in the semi-finals earned Carlson another match against Kale Hopke of Amery, a wrestler that he has competed against several times in the past. Hopke was able to defeat Carlson for the top spot and because the wrestler Hopke defeated in the semis took third, it that forced a wrestle back to see who would be the true second place.
Carlson’s wrestle back also went into overtime with the winner earning a trip to State.
“He shot multiple times during regulation but didn’t get a takedown or even force a stalling warning on his opponent,” Demulling said. “This match went into the second overtime after a scoreless first OT. Nick wasn’t able to hold on and lost.”
Carlson made a big impact on the OHS wrestling program. He had well over 100 career wins, even with this season shortened due to Covid. He was a two-time MBC champion and qualified for Sectionals multiple times and placed high in numerous tournaments throughout his career.
“He and our other seniors will be missed next year,” Demulling said.
“This is not how I wanted my season and career to end, but I left every ounce of me out on the mat, and that’s all that matters,” Carlson said as he looked back at his Sectional performance. “Wrestling has taught me a lot throughout the years and I was blessed to have great teammates and coaches. Wrestling truly is one of the hardest sports out there and I’m glad I was able to compete to the best of my ability since kindergarten.”