It was a successful return to the mat for the Scott West Panthers.
The Panthers wrestling, for the first time in 2020, earned three dual meet victories and a third place tournament finish.
Scott West finished with 183 points to finish in third place at the Rick Lawinger Invitational at River Valley High School in Spring Green, Wisconsin.
Waunakee captured first place with 208.5 points and Chilton/Hilbert was second with 184.5 points.
The Panthers had four individual champions in the tournament with Zach Tracy, Landon Church, Jace Demmers, and Hunter Struffert earning tournament titles.
“Zach, Jace and Hunter have been leading our team in performance throughout the year,” co-head coach Darren Ripley said. “It was good to see Landon wrestle well and win his first varsity tournament as a Scott West Panther.”
Tracy was the first Panther to win the title as he won the 106 pound title with a 13-0 major decision against teammate Matt Randolph.
Church won the 113-pound title with a pin and a 5-0 decision.
At 160 pounds, Demmers had a pin and a technical fall on his way to the title.
Struffert had two pins and a 2-0 decision to earn the 220 pound title.
Other place winners for the Panthers were: Adam Kelvington sixth, Tory Pumper third, Leo Siekman third, Ashton Holbrook fourth, Luke Fogarty second, Hunter Kvasnicka sixth, John Jack Wiese third, Colin Fahey third, and Gavin Fahey third.
Before embarking on the trip to Wisconsin for the tournament, Scott West went 3-0 at Woodbury last Thursday night.
The Panthers opened the night with a 54-20 win against East Ridge and a 42-24 win against Park of Cottage Grove.
The final match of the night pitted Scott West against Woodbury, Class 3A’s No. 11-ranked team.
The Panthers got off to a great start before the Royals came storming back before Scott West clinched the 41-30 win with a victory at heavyweight.
“We had to clear the benches so to speak in putting together the three lineups that would bring us the team wins throughout the night,” Ripley said. “We are really excited about the way our seventh and eighth grade wrestlers went out and competed tonight and in particular seventh-graders Tristan Holbrook and Dylan Thomas as both would pick up their first Scott West varsity wins.”
Scott West would jump out to a 35-9 lead before Woodbury won four matches in a row to cut the lead to 35-30 with one match left.
Struffert clinched the win for the Panthers with a pin at heavyweight for a 41-30 win.
The match started with Tracy earning a 6-0 win at 106 pounds against No. 8-ranked Alex Braun.
Church followed with a technical fall at 113 pounds and Kelvington earned a pin at 120 for a 14-0 Panthers lead.
“It was good to see both of our lightweight wrestlers get out and get after it here,” Ripley said. “We knew that we would need to score as many bonus points as possible and Landon and Adam both delivered on that.”
Woodbury cut it to 14-5 after 126 pounds but Thomas answered with a pin for the Panthers at 132 pounds.
“We inserted Dylan into the line up and they decided to change their line up accordingly,” Ripley said. “They maybe did not realize what they were getting into because we really like the make up of Dylan’s wrestling and the way he approaches it.”
After a major decision by Woodbury at 138, Scott West ripped off three straight wins from Fogarty, Blake Riemer and Demmers to push the lead to 35-9 after the 160 pound match.
“Our core has to be strong if we are going to be a good team,” Ripley said. “Our middle core is Luke, Blake and Jace and they were strong and good for us tonight right here in this three match stretch.”
Woodbury wouldn’t give in though and cut the lead to 35-30 with four straight wins from 170 to 220 pounds before Struffert clinch the win for the Panthers at heavyweight.
Scott West will welcome Class 3A’s No. 5-ranked Northfield to Jordan Middle School on Thursday.
They will wrestle St. Peter and Tri-City United on Friday night in St. Peter before competing in the Eastview Invitational on Saturday.