The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Blugolds warming up for conference tournament

    The UW-Eau Claire wrestling team has struggled to fill its roster all year long, and this past weekend was no different.

    With freshmen Josh Holforty and Curt Polzin out due to the flu, along with freshman Lance Valiquette out with an injury, the Blugolds were as short-handed as they’ve been all season.

    “We’re pretty beat up and sick right now,” coach Don Parker said. “Having three starters out of your lineup hurts a lot in this sport.”

    Friday night the Blugolds were forced to forfeit three matches in their dual meet with Itasca College as they fell by a score of 28-19.

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    Despite the team loss, freshman Ted Sikowski, sophomore Mike Stremer, and senior Derek Sikora all earned victories on the night.

    “It’s been tough for us as a team,” Sikora said. “The guys we have in there all have a lot of wins. We just can’t fill all the weights.”

    With no time for rest, the ‘Golds got up bright and early Saturday morning and hosted 10 teams in the Blugold Invitational at McPhee.

    After a long day of wrestling, the ‘Golds came away with a pair of second place finishes, one coming from Sikora at 165 pounds and the other from senior Larry Moen at 197 pounds.

    Junior Tony D’Antuono was the next highest finisher for the Blugolds with fourth place at 141 pounds.

    As a team, Eau Claire finished seventh out of 10 at Saturday’s invite, but Parker said he sees no reason for concern.

    Individual Records

    135 pounds
    Shane Brady (11-18)

    141 pounds
    Tony D’ Antuono (10-12)

    149 pounds
    Dave Vanevenhoven (7-6)
    Toby Roatch (3-2)

    157 pounds
    Curt Polzin (2-15)
    Ben Schams (1-10)

    165 pounds
    Derek Sikora (22-3)

    174 pounds
    Lance Valiquette (17-9)
    Ted Sikowski (1-14)

    184 pounds
    Mike Stremer (7-19)
    Justin Peterson (1-5)

    197 pounds
    Larry Moen (10-8)
    Josh Holforty (21-4)
    Justin McAuly (3-4

    Heavyweight
    Drew Bingner (16-12)
    Mark Frick (1-9)
    Larry Moen (2-4)

    “The weekend went pretty much as predicted,” he said. “We got some guys out right now, but they’ll be back for the conference tournament in two weeks and that’s where we’ll make our mark.”

    The conference tournament is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 20, at Lawrence University in Appleton. There, 16 wrestlers from the WIAC will either earn their way to nationals with an individual conference championship, or be selected as one of the six wild card slots.

    Sikora, the defending WIAC champion and last year’s third place national finisher, offers the best opportunity for a birth in the nationals for the Blugolds.

    Parker said Holforty also has a good chance to make nationals.

    With a 22-4 record, the only thing Holforty lacks, Parker said, is a victory over a ranked opponent.

    “For Josh to make it, first he’ll have to overcome the flu and then he’ll have to put together a solid day of wrestling at conference,” Parker said.

    “The last couple years we’ve had a couple guys that I feel should have earned one of the six wild cards but they didn’t, so even with the record he has, Josh still might have to win conference to make it to nationals,” he said.

    The Blugolds will have their final warmup for the conference tournament this weekend, when they’ll travel to Stevens Point to take on the Pointers in a dual meet on Saturday.

    With many wrestlers jockeying for seed position at the conference tournament, Parker said his wrestlers will be ready to compete against a solid Stevens Point squad Saturday.

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    Blugolds warming up for conference tournament