When and where: Feb. 8 at the Heart of the North Conference Tournament in Cameron.
Outcome: St. Croix Falls finished in first place with 218.5 team points. Northwestern placed second with 205 points followed by Ashland in third with 145 points. The Saints had five individual champions including Luke Thaemert (106), Mason Will (120), Zack Clark (138), Kyle Zehm (220), and Tanner Gaffey (285).
Summary: “The Heart of the North decides conference champ only by the individual tournament for teams and individuals,” St. Croix Falls coach Joe Raygor said. “So the team that wins the tournament is the conference champ and the individuals who place first are all-conference. The runners-up are second team all-conference and the third place finishers are honorable mention. We had some adversity to overcome having two varsity wrestlers out for sickness. The team pushed and scored bonus points in key matches that kept us in the team race to make a late push in the finals.”
Highlights: “Zack Clark and Kyle Zehm had huge head to head match ups against Northwestern that helped us secure the team trophy,” Raygor said. “Clark beat a Northwestern wrestler who had beaten him twice this year prior. The ability to make small adjustments and continue to develop his offense was the difference in the match. Kyle Zehm impressed in the top position applying a steady pressure on top that eventually made the difference against his opponent. Zehm’s offense right now is flourishing. Tanner Gaffey had a great match against a fourth in the state ranked heavyweight Wade Stanger. Composure and keeping position was the difference maker in that match. Tanner is currently ranked #1 in the state and enters his post season tournaments with an undefeated record. Luke Thaemert had a special moment securing his 130th win on his way to winning the conference title. With that amount of wins he’s secured his place on the ‘Wall of Fame’ in the wrestling room forever. Luke has had a wonderful career up to this point and is looking to cap his senior year with a big finish.”
Comments: “Overall our program goal is always to win the conference tournament every year but it’s not our focus,” Raygor said. “Our focus lies in the post season and that starts this coming week. In SCF we want to have State champions and have the team competing in Madison.”