The Manawa Wolves wrestling team traveled to Madison on Saturday, Dec. 22 to compete in the Badger State Invitational.
Manawa wrestlers who competed included: Daryn Claussen, Camden Moser, Jacob Frenche, Justin Wentworth, Garret Griffin, Branden Lindsay, Joe Vande Vrede, Casey Johnson and Cole Thompson. Griffin and Johnson each brought home medals from the 20 team event.
Round one action saw Vande Vrede (182), Frenche (126), Griffin (152) and Johnson (195) all pick up wins for the Wolves and advance to the quarterfinal round. Griffin and Johnson were the only Manawa wrestlers who extended their day after round three, as both advanced to the medal rounds in their respective weight classes.
Griffin, a junior, won by a major decision over his Stoughton opponent, 15-2 in the first round. This set up a rematch of last year’s sectional match against Anthony Lemanski of Edgar. Griffin took down Lemanski in the first period, but was caught in the second period out of position.
Griffin fought back through the consolation round picking up wins of 6-1 over his Iowa-Grant opponent, a fall in 1:50 over his Merrill opponent, and defeating his Madison Lafollette opponent 6-3 in the third place match.
“The Edgar match was difficult to swallow, but we already learned from it and moved on,” said Head Coach Scott Hahn. “Garret showed tremendous adversity in not allowing that match to dictate the rest of his day. He wrestled well the rest of the day against solid competition.”
Junior Casey Johnson took his undefeated record into Madison in an effort to prove he belonged on the podium. By the end of the day, he did not disappoint.
Johnson pinned his Lomira opponent in 1:11, then lost to his River Valley opponent 7-0 in the quarterfinal round. Johnson picked up a forfeit to push him into a match against a Sparta wrestler, which he won 7-3. This placed Casey in the fifth place medal match, where he fell to a strong Franklin wrestler.
Johnson finished in sixth place for the tournament.
“Casey wrestled some tough kids down here,” said Coach Dan Kundinger. “He fought hard in all matches and will learn things from today which will help in the second half of the season.”
The Wolves host the eighth Annual Manawa Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 5. Wrestling starts at 10 a.m. at the Little Wolf High School gymnasium.