As far as Levi Petroske is concerned, the first day of wrestling practice in November can’t come soon enough.
The Waupaca sophomore placed fifth in Division 2 at 126 pounds over the weekend at the State Individual Wrestling Meet in Madison and is chomping at the bit for another shot at a state title.
Wild Rose’s Zach Sirny, on the other hand, finally has his state championship after an undefeated senior season.
Petroske and Sirny were two of nine area wrestlers that competed at Madison’s Kohl Center.
Petroske made it to the semifinals after winning his first two matches, a 13-7 decision over River Valley’s Austyn Alt in the preliminary round and a pin of Chilton’s Nic Adkins in 5:42 in the quarterfinals.
He then fell to Seymour’s Dylan Drephal in the semifinals 7-1 and lost his first consolation match 5-3 to Ellsworth’s Brent Stockwell, but rebounded with an 11-10 win over Stanley-Boyd/Thorp’s Robert Csukker in the fifth-place match.
“It was all the conditioning we’ve been doing all year and all the late practices,” Petroske said after his win over Alt. “I dug deep and wrestled my hardest. My No. 1 priority was to beat Austyn Alt. Everything was riding on that match. All I could think about was winning.
“The two losses were tough, but I came back and fought for that fifth-place match,” he added. “I was hoping to get a shot at (third-place finisher) Brett Buechler (of Wrightstown). I didn’t, but there’s always next year.”
Petroske received his medal Saturday, Feb. 25, during a break in the championship matches.
“It was a great feeling to be on the podium as a sophomore,” he said. “I’d love to make it down here next year and hopefully be in that No. 1 spot. The highlight of my season was winning my first match at state. The kid was tough and I worked all week just to beat him. It’s a great experience to be down here. I wish I would have made it my freshman year because I love every minute of it.”
Sirny, wrestling for Wild Rose/Wautoma, made it to the Division 2 106-pound finals after finishing second last year and third as a sophomore.
He had a bye in the first round, pinned St. Croix Central’s Adam Lewis in 1:24 in the quarterfinals and advanced to the finals with a 6-1 win over Sparta’s Dylan Winchel in the semifinals. He faced John Olson of Osceola in the finals and capped a 49-0 season with an 11-2 major decision.
“I was focused,” Sirny said. “I wasn’t nervous, which was big. You get that nervous feeling and that’s not the best. This year, I was calm, I knew what I needed to do and I did it. It’s a great way to finish my high school career.”
Sirny dropped down to 106 for the state tournament.
“I wrestled big all year, 120 and 113 and I wasn’t dropping before I had to,” he said. “It was nice to go through the season undefeated, but a state title is what I wanted.”
Sirny would like to take his wrestling skills to college and is considering the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
“I can study the guy all I want, but when I get on the mat, I’m just wrestling,” he said. “I knew if I wrestled how I could that I’d win. A state championship is what I wanted and Wild Rose has never had one. It’s definitely big to get one.”
Weyauwega-Fremont’s two wrestlers at state, Jared Gruetzmacher (Division 2, 126) and Trevor Potratz (145), didn’t fare as well, as they lost their preliminary round matches.
Gruetzmacher fell to eventual third-place finisher Adam Holmquist of Glenwood City 7-1, while Potratz dropped a 16-6 decision to Iowa-Grant’s Jacob Yelinek.
Gruetzmacher finished the season with a 36-8 record that included 19 pins and 41 takedowns. He won four tournaments this season and 11 varsity tournaments during his career at W-F. He won a school-record 144 matches and recorded 73 pins, which ranks fifth on the all-time list.
“The Glenwood City kid was real tough to score on,” coach Tim Potratz said. “He stayed in good position and just controlled the match. Jared battled to the end, as he always does, but could not score.
“Jared’s leadership and toughness will be missed on our team next year,” he said. “He is such a great kid, he earned everything he has accomplished as a W-F wrestler and got to finish his career at the state tournament.”
Trevor Potratz ended his season with a 24-6 record and a team-leading 48 takedowns.
“Trevor competed well in his first match at the state tournament,” coach Potratz said. “He took the kid down twice in the match, but could not handle the strength of the Iowa-Grant wrestler. Going to state as a junior puts him in great position to lead our team next season and gives him the experience needed to hopefully go back and earn a medal at state as a senior.”
Amherst’s Logan Hermsen also lost his first match in Division 3 at 145, as Cashton’s Dillon Flock pinned him in 1:05.
New London’s Kevin Urban never got a chance to take his place on the medal podium, but Hortonville’s Kegan Gennrich did.
Urban is glad his season ended with his first trip to state, even though he lost his Division 1 113-pound preliminary round match to Whitefish Bay’s Joey Davey 7-0. He didn’t get a chance to wrestle for a medal through the wrestleback round, as Davey lost his quarterfinal match.
“I couldn’t get any shots on the guy,” said Urban, who finished his senior season with a 32-14 record. “Most of my points have been on the bottom escaping. I wasn’t able to do anything.”
Urban said his highlight of the season was finishing second at the Pulaski Sectional.
“I really started to believe in myself later in the season,” he said. “That really helped a lot.”
While Urban was a newcomer at state, Gennrich, a University of Wisconsin wrestling recruit, had been there before.
He opened the tournament with a 19-5 major decision over Davey’s teammate, Rashadeem Gray; needed overtime in the quarterfinals for a 10-8 win over Andres Marquez of Racine Horlick; and advanced to his first final with an 11-1 major decision over Wilmot Union’s Matt Gray in the semifinals.
Gennrich then went up against a familiar face in the finals, Jake Raflik of Wisconsin Rapids. Raflik had handed Gennrich his first loss of the season, 3-1, at the Pulaski Sectional after Gennrich defeated Raflik in a regional final in Stevens Point.
Raflik trailed 3-2 late in the match and went up 4-3 with a takedown, but Gennrich came up with a reversal in the final seconds for a 5-4 win.
The win also gave Gennrich the school record for the most victories with 148, one more than VandeHei.
Two of Gennrich’s teammates, Cole Parker (145) and Derek Kuettel (152), also competed.
Parker defeated Jacob Kruse of Mount Horeb/Barneveld 10-2 in the preliminary round and handed Racine Horlick’s Lightning Hernandez a 9-4 defeat in the quarterfinals. He then fell to eventual state runner-up Jared Scharenbrock of Sun Prairie 15-2 and was pinned by Wausau West’s Travis Hettinga in 1:54 in the consolation round before falling to Merrill’s Mason Reinhardt 5-4 in the fifth-place match.
Kuettel was only able to get one match in. He fell to Wilmot Union’s Ryan Gartner 2-0 in the preliminary round and did not get a wrestleback match after Gartner lost his semifinal match.