Tucker Bender throws his Plymouth opponent to the ground to set up a pin. Bender finished the day 4-0.
Tucker Bender throws his Plymouth opponent to the ground to set up a pin. Bender finished the day 4-0.

   While the third time wasn’t the charm, the Ripon Tiger wrestling team showed improvement against Chilton/Hilbert last week Saturday at the Laconia Duals.

   After losing 60-15 in their first meeting and 54-27 in their second one, the Tigers were edged 37-34.

   They had a chance to tie the dual in the final weight class (285) and force it to come down to a tiebreaker, but were only able to pick up a decision and not a pin.

   Ripon also took a step forward against Plymouth, defeating the conference foe 45-29 after having to win on a tiebreaker against the Panthers earlier this season.

   Its other two duals came against teams it was facing for the first time. It lost to eventual champion Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 54-24 and defeated host Laconia 43-24.

   “The kids coming out and progressing throughout the day — that seems to be one of our strong suits.” Ripon head coach Lee Cotton said. “... Definitely the kids facing Chilton again for the third time knowing that we’ve lost to these guys a couple times this year and every time narrowing that margin definitely shows as a team we’ve improved and we’re going to keep coming up fighting.”

   The fight was on display in the Chilton dual as the Tigers wrestled from behind for most of the time, but refused to give up. Ultimately, they had the chance to tie it at 37 in the final weight class.

Read the full story, which includes information on some of the standout individual finishes, as well as a win over Winneconne, in the Feb. 1, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.