All seven Comets place

Cameron was only able to suit seven wrestlers for the Lakeland Conference Tournament held Saturday, Feb. 2, at Gilman, but all four earned medals. Pictured are: row one (from left), Cole Romsos (1st at 126 pounds), Tanner Gerber (1st at 106), Remington Ladd (1st at 120); row two, Derek Huppert (3rd at 145), Aiden Torok (4th at 132), Ashtyn Waite (3rd at 152) and Caleb Gillett (4th at 138).

A shorthanded Cameron wrestling team competed Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Lakeland Conference Tournament in Gilman. Despite suiting only seven wrestlers, the Comets won three individual titles and placed third out of 10 teams.

“We were 14 points behind second place Shell Lake,” coach David Gerber said. “We lost a few wrestlers to injury and also had two out with illness. Placing third with only seven wrestlers was a nice accomplishment. All seven who competed placed fourth or higher.”

St. Croix Falls took first place team honors by a wide margin, 321 points to 164 for second place Shell Lake.

Cameron dominated the lighter brackets, with Tanner Gerber, Remington Ladd and Cole Romsos winning conference titles at 106, 120 and 126 pounds, respectively.

“Tanner was also selected as the 2019 Lakeland Conference Outstanding Wrestler, which is voted on by the coaches,” the coach said. “This is the first time in conference history that a freshman has been chosen as the Outstanding Wrestler. Tanner’s performance in the championship match probably won him the award.”

After two byes, Gerber (38-1 season record) pinned Brooks Kraus of Cornell/Gilman/Lake Holcombe to advance to the 106-pound title bout.

“Tanner’s opponent, Luke Thaemert of St. Croix Falls (26-6), is a tough wrestler,” coach Gerber said. “Tanner beat him two weeks ago in the St. Croix Falls Invitational, 5-4. Tanner was a little more prepared for him this match.

“Tanner took a 2-0 lead into the second period, then scored a reversal and two 3-point near falls to end the second period 10-0. In the third period, Tanner scored a takedown and put Thaemert to his back to end the match with a pin 18 seconds into the period.

“It was an impressive win against a talented opponent. Tanner is wrestling the best he has all season. Every time he competes he looks a little better.”

Ladd (34-6) also had an impressive tournament, winning by technical fall in the semifinals and then major decision in the championship round.

“Remington never gave up a point on Saturday,” Gerber said. “His day started with a first period bye, then he won with a 16-0 tech fall over Logan Czech of Luck.

“Remington followed that up with a convincing 12-0 major decision in the championship match against Graidy Guggisberg of St. Croix Falls. Remington is becoming a more aggressive wrestler. He’s putting up a lot of points in his matches.

“It was nice to see him still working hard and scoring late in the matches, even when he had big leads. Remington keeps the pressure on his opponents for the full 6 minutes.”

Romsos (22-13) allowed just one point in his title run.

“Cole wrestled his best tournament of the season,” the coach said. “After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, he won with a 16-1 tech fall in the semifinals.

“Cole then defeated Shell Lake’s Cade Hanson 7-0 in the championship bout. Cole has been improving steadily throughout the season, but he took a big step forward in this tournament. He’s a hard worker who puts in a lot of extra time. It’s nice to see him being rewarded for all the extra effort. If he can keep wrestling at this high of a level, he will have success in the postseason.”

Derek Huppert (21-11) placed third at 145.

“Derek went 4-1 on the day, with his only loss coming in the semifinals,” Gerber said. “This is a nice finish for a freshman in a tough weight class. Derek will be one of the top seeds in next week’s regional.”

At 152, freshman Ashtyn Waite (15-20) also placed third with four wins and a loss.

“Ashtyn is a tough kid,” the coach said. “He had a few opponents who were more experienced them him, but he just keeps battling and finds ways to win. He’s going to win a lot of matches in his high school career.”

The Comets had two wrestlers finish in fourth place.

“At 132, Aiden Torok placed fourth, winning three matches and losing two,” the coach said. “Aiden has probably shown the most improvement on the team. He got off to a slow start this season after finishing last season with a 7-12 record. He currently has a 23-16 record.

“Freshman Caleb Gillet (6-7) also won a fourth place medal at 138. Caleb has worked his way onto the varsity after competing the first part of the season on JV. Caleb worked hard to get to the varsity level and it’s nice to see him having success. He’ll be one of our main guys in the middle of the line-up for the next several years.”

The Comets will now open the WIAA tournament series with a trip to the Div. 3 Cumberland Regional. Wrestling will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9. The top two finishers in each weight class will advance to the Feb. 16 Independence Sectional.