Four area wrestlers – Waupaca’s Levi Petroske and Connor Avery and Weyauwega-Fremont’s Jared Gruetzmacher and Trevor Potratz – won individual championships Saturday, Feb. 4, at their respective conference meets.
Petroske and Avery won at 126 and 138 pounds, respectively, at the Eastern Valley Conference Meet in Freedom, while Gruetzmacher (132) and Potratz (145) placed first at the Central Wisconsin Conference Meet in Shiocton.
Eastern Valley Conference Meet
FREEDOM – The host Irish ran away with the tournament and overall conference championships.
Waupaca finished fourth in the final standings behind Freedom, Little Chute and Winneconne. Team scores from the meet were Freedom, 272.5, Little Chute, 200.5, Winneconne, 164.5, Waupaca, 146.5, Berlin, 74; Fox Valley Lutheran, 68.5; Clintonville, 66; and Ripon, 63.5 Petroske picked up a 14-4 win over Little Chute’s Matt Vandenberg in the 126 finals, while Avery won his title after Little Chute’s Brady Spierings was injured early in the match.
Two other Comets also made it to the finals. Joe Selsing dropped a 3-2 decision to Freedom’s Chad Verhasselt at 132, while Seth Deuman fell to Freedom’s Reed Ambrosius 4-2 in overtime.
Five other Waupaca wrestlers placed. Ben Leonard took fourth at 106, Austin Gonyou was fifth at 113, Kelly Lind was third at 120, Mitch Molder placed fifth at 145 and Logan Feldt was third at 285.
“All in all, the team wrestled extremely well,” coach Ben Selsing said. “We had a great week of practice and I kept telling them it’s going to pay off. That says something about how hard we’ve been working. We had six guys that beat somebody today that had beaten them earlier this year.”
The conference meet was the first time the Comets had returned to the mat since a 72-12 loss to Winneconne in the final EVC dual.
“We didn’t have a lot of our leaders wrestling in that dual,” Selsing said. “They didn’t like the outcome and I give a lot of the credit to them. They picked it up. We seem to be peaking at the right time. Hopefully, we can get a bunch of guys through.
“The big thing I noticed today is we have to get in better condition,” he added. “We have to score as many points as we can score. We have to have the mindset that we can attack for six minutes if that’s what it takes. Hopefully, we can fine-tune that and pull out some wins in the last couple minutes of matches.”
The Comets will head to Mosinee Saturday, Feb. 11, for a Division 2 regional. Wrestlers will have to place first or second to advance to the Waupaca Sectional, scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 18.
“We can’t take anybody lightly,” Selsing said. “Whoever steps out there, we have to show up ready to wrestle. Otherwise, it won’t matter if they’re good or not.”
The Waupaca Sectional should include several wrestlers from perennial powers Freedom, Oconto Falls, Luxemburg-Casco and Wrightstown,
“I would definitely say it’s the toughest sectional in the state,” Selsing said. “If you get out of that one, you definitely should be on the podium at state. It’s a battle. You’re going to see some great kids getting beat and staying home.”
Petroske, Selsing, Avery and Deuman each have a shot at advancing to state, according to coach Selsing.
“We have little things that we can change and fix to make better,” he said. “The two guys that lost, in my opinion, the biggest reason we lost is we ran out of gas. All four of them can make it. It’s a matter of how hard they’re going to work between now and next Saturday.”
Central Wisconsin Conference Meet
SHIOCTON – Wittenberg-Birnamwood wrapped up the CWC championship by winning the meet, while W-F placed fourth.
Team scores were W-B, 234; Bonduel, 209; Shiocton, 153; W-F, 125; Amherst, 112; Rosholt, 93; Menominee Indian, 79; Manawa, 57; and Plainfield Tri-County/Almond-Bancroft, 51.
Bonduel and Shiocton finished second and third in the final standings, respectively, with Amherst and W-F tying for fourth.
Gruetzmacher won his third conference championship with a pair of pins and a 2-0 win over PT-C/A-B’s Joe Woyak in the finals to improve to 31-6 on the season. Meanwhile, Potratz improved to 17-3 with a come-from-behind 6-5 win over Amherst’s Logan Hermsen in the finals.
He scored a takedown and a two-point nearfall in the final 30 seconds.
“We were in sixth place and struggling after a poor first round of wrestling, but fought back and wrestled better each round the rest of the day to move up to fourth place as a team,” coach Tim Potratz said. “The Central Wisconsin Conference is as tough as it has been in a long time this year, which made for some real exciting wrestling action for everyone involved.”
W-F also came up with a second-place finisher, a third, a fourth and three fifths.
Oliver Radtke (21-14) placed second at 113 after falling to W-B’s Ben Vosters 11-0 in the finals; Allen Bentle (26-9) placed third at 285; Jackson Stearns (22-13) placed fourth at 195; and Tre Blohm (14-13), Brandon Loehrke (20-15) and Jordan Haase (12-15) placed fifth at 126, 152 and 170, respectively.
“The two senior big men (Bentle and Stearns) have been rock-solid leaders all season,” Potratz said. “All the boys on the team did a great job of coming back from a slow start in the tournament and competing hard all the way to the finish.
“Wrestling is a tough sport physically and mentally,” he added. “These kids showed that they have a lot of heart to fight back when things weren’t going their way and finish strong.”
The road to the state tournament for all wrestlers begins Saturday, Feb. 11.
W-F will host a Division 3 regional that will also include Amherst, Manawa, Rosholt, Shiocton and Tri-County/Almond-Bancroft at 10:15 a.m., while Waupaca will join Mosinee, Nekoosa/Port Edwards, Tomahawk, Wild Rose/Wautoma and Wittenberg-Birnamwood at the Division 2 Mosinee Regional at 10 a.m.
Waupaca will host a Division 2 sectional starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18. The top two wrestlers from the Mosinee, Berlin, Seymour and Southern Door regionals will compete.
W-F wrestlers that advance out of their regional will advance to the Auburndale Sectional at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 18, along with qualifiers from the Three Lakes, Athens and Mishicot regionals.
The top three sectional finishers in divisions 2 and 3 will advance to the State Individual Wrestling Meet, scheduled for Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 23-25, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Here’s a rundown of area wrestling teams and their Feb. 11 regional schedules:
Division 1: New London at Stevens Point Regional, 11 a.m.
Division 2: Waupaca, Wild Rose/Wautoma at Mosinee Regional, 10 a.m.;
Clintonville at Seymour Regional, 11 a.m.
Division 3: Weyauwega-Fremont, Amherst, Manawa, Plainfield
Tri-County/Almond-Bancroft at Weyauwega-Fremont Regional, 10:15 a.m.