7 Blue Devils wrestlers crack top 3 at Ashland invitational

ASHLAND, Wis. — The Blue Devils had an excellent day on the mat Saturday with a fifth place team finish and seven wrestlers cracking the top three at the 2019 Ashland Northland Invite.

Gavin Benz at 120 pounds led the way by winning his weight class after victories in all three of his matches.

Benz got things started by pinning Isaac Hanson of Hayward at 2:53. He went on to beat teammate Steven Niece in round two by pinfall at 49 seconds. Benz ultimately won the 120-pound title by earning a 6-4 decision over Carson Kullhem of Aitkin.

Nolan Campbell (113 pounds) and Carter Crandall (170 pounds) each took the runner-up spots in their respective weight classes.

Campbell opened with a pinfall of Ashland’s Logan Kemetz at 1:57 and followed that up by pining Zach Roach of Hayward in 51 seconds. In round three, Campbell decisioned Tucker Johnson of Superior, 8-1. He then pinned Walker Jones of Aitkin at 3:19 of round four. Campbell’s win streak came to an end in round five against Harry Nemcek of Lakeland when he was pinned at 4:34.

Crandall received a bye in the opening round and went on to pin Brady Herbst of Superior at 1:09 in the second round. Round three saw Crandall wrestle to a 5-3 decision over Aaron Diamond of Ashland. In the championship bracket, Crandall defeated Jack Workman of Aitkin by pinfall at 4:38 to advance to the first-place match. In the championship, Crandall battled Xavier Burgess of Lakeland and was pinned at 3:00.

Four Blue Devils also reached the podium with third place finishes.

At 160 pounds, Teddy Olivanti won his first match against Nathan Anderson of Superior by pinfall at 3:15. Round two saw Olivanti lose to Carter Endrizzi of Aitkin by a 16-3 major decision. However, he followed that up with a pinfall of Ashland’s Eli Schue at 5:25 and a 12-3 major decision over George Best of Hayward. Olivanti closed out the day with a loss by pinfall to Owen Mooers of Proctor at 4:42.

Jacob Burress, a 138-pounder, decisioned Landon Lathrop of Superior, 7-2, to get things off on the right foot. However, Aitkin’s Luke Pelarski pinned Burress in round two at 3:33. Burress rebounded with a pin of Lakeland’s Tyson Coy at the 3:28 mark. Burress would lose by pinfall at 1:55 in the championship bracket against Corey Hagstrom of Ashland before coming back to defeat Jack Grell of Aitkin in the third place match, 5-1.

At 120 pounds, niece also took the bronze position after defeating Aitkin’s Kullhem by fall at 3:24 in the first round. He went on to get pinned by Benz before coming back in the third round to pin Hayward’s Isaac Hanson at 1:13.

Asher Hedblom earned another one of the Devils’ third-place finishes at 106 pounds. Hedblom pinned Lakeland’s Sawyer Duir at 1:47; decisioned Wyatt Johnson of Superior, 7-2; and pinned Drake Marks of Hayward at 1:15 to reach the championship bracket. Hedblom then lost by a 6-4 decision Marshall Larson of Aitkin before coming back to drop Johnson by a 6-2 decision this time to garner third place.

At 126 pounds, Erik Sundquist came home in fifth place after winning three matches and losing two. Sundquist started things off with a loss by fall to Jarod Stricker of Ashland at 1:51. He won his second match over Henry Huber of Superior with an 11-4 decision. However, his third match ended with a 11-2 major decision loss to Nathan Rom of Aitkin. Sundquist finished strong with a pin of Proctor’s Clayton Castleman at 1:47 in the consolation bracket and then grabbed fifth place with a 7-4 decision over Tim Burnett of Lakeland.

The Devils wrestle again Friday at North Branch.

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