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WRESTLING

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muscles and let out a huge yell in excitement. He spoke about his victory, the emotional aspect of it and what it was like to be back wrestling at the Northern Badger after a year off due to the pandemic.

“It’s been, I’ve had an emotional few months, losing to Waunakee, I guess it was just nice to blow off some steam and it was exciting hearing the crowd,” Massa said. “I’ve made a lot of friends here in Wisconsin and a lot of them are here to watch. It was a good moment, and I will definitely remember that one for a long time. The experience of going over to hug my friends in the stands after my match was definitely a highlight of my life.”

While Massa has many athletic accomplishments under his belt, he’s always quick to deflect praise. He gave a lot of credit to Mitchell Williamson, a junior college wrestling national champion in the heavyweight bracket. Williamson is from River Falls and came back to train with Massa and prepare him for his match at 285. Massa spoke about that additional training with a national champion.

“I had a junior national champion train with me this week,” Massa said after his tournament victory. “He definitely helped. It’s all in my support group, it’s not just me.”

For Massa, there is some uncertainty in his future regarding what weight class he will compete in once the playoffs begin. After the meet, he stated that he will be deferring to his coaches, as they know best, and will tell him to wrestle where is best for the team and Massa.

Spring Valley/Elmwood, Prescott results While River Falls had success at the Northern Badger Wrestling Classic, other local teams – much smaller schools – had issues with some of the high-level competition at one of the biggest wrestling tournaments in Wisconsin. For Spring Valley/Elmwood, it was a 28th place finish that provided learning opportunities for a young team from a smaller school to compete against some of the best wrestlers in the state. After the tournament, Spring Valley/Elmwood head coach Gable Frandsen spoke about the tournament.

“My expectation was for each competing athlete to put in 100% effort, which each of them did,” Frandsen said after the tournament. He also spoke about some of the highlights for his team. “Tristen Neisinger placed seventh at 132. Max Schmitt placed ninth at 160. SVE wrestling faced quality competition and gained some great experience at the Northern Badger Wrestling Classic.”

Perhaps some of the reasons that schools like Spring Valley/ Elmwood and Prescott didn’t have as much success in terms of team results is because of forfeits. For Prescott, the Cardinals only competed in six of the 14 possible brackets. Immediately, that’s a significant disadvantage.

Benn Olson of Prescott advanced out of the first round of the 106-pound bracket via bye. In the second round, he secured a pinfall in 52 seconds over Dylan Saeger of Altoona. Olson’s tournament ended in the third round against Jonas Longsdorf of River Falls, who pinned Olson in just under three minutes.

Regardless of finishing results, River Falls, Prescott and Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestling all gained important experience at the 36th Annual Northern Badger Wrestling Classic that will help them improve and develop for more opportunities later in the season.

January 4, 2022