Falcons pin down ‘Golds

The UW-Eau Claire wrestling team entered Wednesday’s match against UW-La Crosse with high hopes to overcome a close loss to UW-Whitewater Friday. After losing 24-17 Friday, the ‘Golds competition didn’t get any easier with the second-ranked Eagles in town.

The Blugolds came into the match against the Eagles knowing they were going to have their hands full. The ‘Golds lost the dual 30-16, and dropped to 1-6 in dual meets and 0-2 in the WIAC.

Senior Derek Sikora, who ranks second in the 165-pound Div. III weight class, led the way for the Blugolds winning his match 13-1. Sikora said he doesn’t feel a lot of pressure despite the individual ranking.

“A lot of guys are trying to make a name and do well for themselves,” he said. “No one really focuses on the rankings. It’s just not something the guys dwell on.”

Sikora pointed out a few more wrestlers on the team that had good nights.

“Our 149 wrestler, Pat (Senzig) wrestled outstanding, probably one of the best matches of the year,” he said.

Junior Lance Valiquette and sophomore Joey Miller both pinned their opponents for the ‘Golds.

Sikora also said the 197-pound wrestler, sophomore Josh Holforty, took his first win of the season.

“He wrestled 100 times better than he has all year,” Sikora said.

Holforty said coming into the match he knew it was going to be tough, but the team would have a good attitude no matter what the outcome.

“I tell the guys, we always have to bring attitude,” Holforty said. “No matter who you wrestle, you take it to them, you get after them. It makes it more fun when they are ranked pretty high.”

Holforty won his match 5-3 in overtime, which meant a little more to him than just normal win.

“I wrestled the same guy last year,” he said. “Personally, I’m not at the level I want to be at, but the match went well. I still have a long ways to go and it was closer than I would have liked, but it was nice to get the victory.”

Holforty and Sikora both said they were pleased with the team’s overall performance.

“The team has a long ways to go, we still need to work a lot on our conditioning,” Holforty said. “Mentally, we need to get stronger, but I was happy to see guys stepping it up and taking initiative.”

The team will travel this Saturday to Dubuque, Iowa for a meet at the University of Dubuque-Buena Vista and compete against four other schools.

“(There are) a lot of good teams, it will be a good test to see who is going to step up,” Holforty said. “It will be nice to see where we are at. It’s going to be great.”