Six area high schools are sending nine wrestlers to the State Individual Wrestling Meet, which kicks off today (Thursday, Feb. 23) and runs through Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Waupaca’s Levi Petroske and Wild Rose/Wautoma’s Zach Sirny placed third at 126 pounds and first at 106, respectively, Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Division 2 Waupaca Sectional; Weyauwega-Fremont’s Jared Gruetzmacher (132) and Trevor Potratz (145) placed third and second, respectively, at the Division 3 Auburndale Sectional; and Amherst’s Logan Hermsen (145) placed third in Auburndale.
Meanwhile, New London’s Kevin Urban placed second at 113 pounds at a Division 1 sectional in Pulaski, while Hortonville’s Kegan Gennrich (160) placed first and teammates Cole Parker and Derek Kuettel finished second at 145 and 152, respectively.
Division 2 Waupaca Sectional
WAUPACA – Luxemburg-Casco, Oconto Falls and Freedom qualified 21 wrestlers between the three programs to take up half of the 42 available spots.
Petroske had to come back through the wrestleback round. He advanced to the semifinals with a 10-4 win over Little Chute’s Matt Vandenberg, but then dropped a 5-4 decision to Seymour’s Dylan Drephal after Drephal came up with a takedown in the final 20 seconds of the match.
Petroske stayed alive with a 5-4 decision over Two River’s Payton Shillcox and wrapped up third place with a 12-6 win over Oconto Falls’ Jared Pawlak.
Sirny won two of his three matches by pin. He took care of Fox Valley Lutheran’s A.J. Olsen in 40 seconds in the quarterfinals, picked up an 8-3 win over Two Rivers’ Ty Pelot in the semifinals and pinned Freedom’s Cody Walrath in 1:21 in the finals.
Waupaca’s Connor Avery had to settle for fourth place at 138. He beat Southern Door’s Colin Schubert 6-4 in the quarterfinals before dropping a 3-1 decision to Seymour’s Alex Schramm, the eventual champion, in the semifinals. Avery then handed FVL’s Chase Maxwell a 13-3 defeat in the wrestleback round, but fell to L-C’s Austin Woracheck 6-3.
The season also ended for Waupaca’s Joe Selsing (132) and Seth Deuman (220). Selsing lost his quarterfinal match 7-2 to Mitchell Friedman of Oconto Falls and fell 12-1 to Wrightstown’s Alex Maes in the consolation round.
Deuman pinned Omro’s Sean Mlodzik in 3:06 in the quarterfinals, but Freedom’s Reed Ambrosious pinned him in 5:29 in the semifinals. L-C’s Luke Destiche then pinned Deuman in 1:04 in the consolation round.
Four other Wild Rose/Wautoma wrestlers also competed – Bryce Bennot (145), Tyler Kasuboski (160), Nick Berg (170) and Matt Paeth (182) – also competed, but did not advance.
Clintonville’s Jake Reiter also did not move on at 195. He needed only 41 seconds to pin Little Chute’s Greg Schultz in the quarterfinals, but dropped a 6-2 decision in the semifinals to Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Levi Jozwiak. Reiter took on L-C’s Ethan Peters in the wrestleback around, but fell 3-1.
Division 3 Auburndale Sectional
AUBURNDALE – Gruetzmacher, Potratz and Hermsen joined 14 other area wrestlers from W-F, Manawa, Amherst and Plainfield Tri-County/Almond-Bancroft at the sectional.
Gruetzmacher came back after dropping a 2-1 decision to Brillion’s Jackson Brice in the quarterfinals. He advanced in the consolation round after Marathon’s Mike Lemanski dropped out with an injury and pinned Crandon’s Carter Shampo in 5:23.
“That’s a match that had not one but two bad calls go against Gruetzmacher,” coach Tim Potratz said. “The setback did not stop the determined senior from coming all the way back through the wrestlebacks and qualify for state by first defeating a wrestler from Marathon and then pinning a tough Crandon wrestler in his final match. In a career that has seen Gruetzmacher win 13 tournament championships and more matches than any wrestler in the history of Weyauwega-Fremont wrestling, a trip to the state tournament was the biggest goal so far on his list of achievements.”
Potratz and Hermsen won their quarterfinal matches at 145.
Potratz beat Edgar’s Kody Guden 6-2, but eventual champion Mitch Champagne of Coleman pinned him in 1:35 in the semifinals. Potratz came back in the consolation round with a 12-3 win over Zac Jones of Florence, a 10-1 win over Mishicot’s Mason Cracraft and an 8-6 win over Hermsen.
“He has battled injuries all season, but has hit his stride at just the right time,” Potratz said of his son. “He came back to win three elimination matches in a row and used a solid defense to shut down his opponents’ offense and a very aggressive attack on his feet.”
Hermsen pinned Auburndale’s Robert Wiskerchen in 1:36 in the quarterfinals and advanced to the finals with an 8-2 win over Cracraft in the semifinals. Champagne pinned Hermsen in 3:01 in the finals before he fell to Potratz in the second-place match.
The season ended for W-F’s Oliver Radtke (113), Tre Blohm (126) and Jordan Haase (170) with quarterfinals losses. Mishicot’s Weston Cracraft pinned Radtke in 4:43, Edgar’s Brandon Manecke pinned Blohm in 4:31 and Haase fell 10-4 to Stratford’s Derek Dehlinger.
All three had solid seasons, according to Potratz.
“Radtke had a very solid rookie season that included winning a regional tournament championship last week,” he said. “Blohm was one of the most improved wrestlers on the team this year in his first season as a full-time varsity wrestler. Haase won a regional championship last week and was winning his first match at sectionals before falling behind late in the match. All three of those boys wrestled well in their first trip to the sectional tournament.”
The season also ended for Manawa’s Garret Griffin (152) and Casey Johnson (195). Griffin lost his quarterfinals match 8-0 to Coleman’s Jake Engels and his first consolation match 8-2 to Edgar’s Anthony Lemanski. Johnson pinned Crandon’s John Dennee in 1:11 in the quarterfinals, but was pinned by eventual champion Issac Nowak in 1:06 in the semifinals. Johnson came back in the consolation round with a 6-5 win over Edgar’s Wes Dittman, but his day ended with a 12-0 loss to Pittsville’s Olie Voight.
Amherst’s Eddie Johnson (106), Jason Ligman (120), Josh Powers (138), Garth Groshek (160), Ryan Desotell (170), Joe Miller (220) and Nick Emery (285) also competed, as did PT-C/A-B’s Jacob Vallery (113) and Russell Carey (152).
Coach Potratz is heading back to state after coaching Casey Haase to a state championship last year.
“Both wrestlers had their backs up against the wall after losing early in the tournament and really performed well under pressure to win those tough wrestleback matches and go to state,” he said. “They have worked very hard at this sport and deserve to be where they are.”
Division 1 Pulaski Sectional
PULASKI – Urban picked up a 6-4 overtime win over Hortonville’s Cameron Luker in the wrestleback round to earn his trip to state.
He pinned Shawano’s Dylan Singer in 1:02 and handed Menasha’s Zach Vosters a 9-0 defeat in the semifinals before dropping a 14-10 decision to Green Bay Preble/East’s Steven Cygan in the finals.
Four other New London wrestlers also competed. Eventual 132-pound champion Alex Blaney of Bay Port pinned Austin Wyngaard in 53 seconds, Brett Handschke (160) lost to Pulaski’s Alex Caelwaerts 4-0 in the quarterfinals; Ashwaubenon’s Mitchell Cole pinned Austin Postel (170) in 4:41; and Andrew Ritchie (220) defeated Ashwaubenon’s Joe Southern 13-2 in the quarterfinals, dropped a 5-4 decision to De Pere’s Isaiah Hayes in the semifinals and defeated Hortonville’s Walker Gorges 7-2 in the consolation round to finish third overall.
Gennrich pinned David Meisner of Shawano in 2:35 in the quarterfinals and pinned Preble/East’s Casey Nelson in 1:27 to get to the finals, where he fell in overtime 3-1 to Jake Raflik of Wisconsin Rapids. Gennrich then had to wrestle Caelwaerts to finish second and move on. He pinned the Pulaski wrestler in 1:19.
Seven other Hortonville wrestlers also competed: Carson Thern (106), Luker (113), Caleb Smith (120), Nate Rynish (138), Gunnar Ploch (195), Gorges (220) and Cole Schuh (285).
“The dream of every kid that signs up to play a sport is to someday be good enough to go to the state tournament in that sport,” Potratz said. “The ultimate goal for every athlete that competes all the way through to the high school level is to go to state. When the sport they sign up for is wrestling and you compete in Wisconsin, that is a tough goal to reach because Wisconsin is one of the best wrestling states in the country.”
Here’s a rundown of the first matches for area wrestlers at state:
113: Kevin Urban (32-12), New London, vs. Joey Davey (25-8), Whitefish Bay.
145: Cole Parker (38-8), Hortonville, vs. Jacob Kruse (37-5), Mount Horeb/Barneveld.
152: Derek Kuettel (27-4), Hortonville, vs. Ryan Gartner (35-2), Wilmot Union.
160: Kegan Gennrich (38-1), Hortonville, vs. Rashadeem Gray (36-11), Whitefish Bay.
106: Zach Sirny (43-0), Wild Rose/Wautoma, has a bye in the first round and will wrestle Adam Lewis (39-7), St. Croix Central, or Austin Schwarz (29-10), Delavan-Darien, in the quarterfinals Feb. 24.
126: Levi Petroske (35-8), Waupaca, vs. Austyn Alt (36-5), River Valley.
132: Jared Gruetzmacher (36-7), Weyauwega-Fremont, vs. Adam Holmquist (45-1), Glenwood City.
145: Trevor Potratz (24-5), Weyauwega-Fremont, vs. Jacob Yelinek (36-14), Iowa-Grant; Logan Hermsen (32-9), Amherst, vs. Dillon Flock