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Host Blugold Wrestlers 11th at Eau Claire Invite
By: Ashley Hofer, Sports Information Student
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (UWECBlugolds.com) - Led by a fourth place finish, the UW-Eau Claire wrestling team finished 11th out of 15 teams competing at the 33rd annual UW-Eau Claire Invitational.
The Blugold wrestlers combined for 20 points during the day’s competition to secure 11th place. Augsburg College won the team competition with a dominating 138 points while UW-Parkside claimed second place with 100.5 points.
Ricky Gonzales (So.-Bluffton, S.C.) was the top Blugold point-earner, wrestling his way to fourth place in the 165 weight class. Though he lost by a 6-4 decision in the first round, Gonzales won four consecutive rounds in the wrestleback bracket by merit of a bye, 6-3 decision, 7-5 decision and opponent injury. Gonzales was eventually eliminated by a 3-1 loss in the final round. The fourth place finish accumulated eight points for the team.
Will Christ (Jr.-Shell Lake, Wis.) added another 5.50 team points from the 174 division. Christ also competed in the consolation bracket and earned a pin – against teammate Ethan Gusek (Fr.-Golden Valley, Minn./Robbinsdale Armstrong) – just 1:43 into the second round. In the 184 class, Matthew Rieckhoff (Fr.-Wausau, Wis./D.C. Everest) also notched a pin over his competitor 2:53 into the first round of the consolation competition to earn 2.50 points.
Joe Pitsch (Jr.-Oshkosh, Wis./North) was the only Blugold to advance in the championship bracket. Competing in the 285 weight division, he claimed his round one victory with a 14-8 decision and then picked up a 9-7 overtime decision in the quarterfinal round. However, the eventual heavyweight champion pinned him in the semifinals and he later lost a close 4-3 match in the consolation semifinals round.
Also earning points for the Blugolds were Steven Fisher (Fr.-Greenfield, Wis.) and Joshua Baier (So.-Inver Grove Heights, Minn./Rosemount), who each tallied one point. Fischer won two consolation rounds with 11-6 and 2-1 decisions in the 141 class. Baier earned his point with a 6-5 decision in the first wrestleback round of the 149 division.
The Blugolds will compete in the last regular season meet of the season next Saturday at the UW-Stevens Point Invite. Competition will get underway at 12 p.m.