Waupaca’s wrestling team won’t have far to travel for the first round of the state tournament.
Waupaca High School will host a Division 2 regional Saturday, Feb. 9, with matches slated to get under way at 10 a.m.
The tournament will also include teams from Berlin, Fox Valley Lutheran, Little Chute, Omro, Wautoma/Wild Rose and Winneconne. Sectional qualifiers will advance with wrestlers from the Oconto Falls, Wittenberg-Birnamwood and Two Rivers regionals to the Seymour Sectional, set for Saturday, Feb. 16, at Seymour High School. The State Individual Wrestling Tournament is set for Feb. 21-23 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
In the meantime, there’s still plenty of wrestling on the mats as the regular season winds down.
“I’m not sure if it’s an advantage, but it’s nice to be home,” coach Tom Reif said. “It’s comfortable for the guys, but we have a lot of preparation to do before that. We’ll see what we can do. Hopefully, it’s one of our better days, but there’s a lot of work to do on the wrestling mat before we worry about regionals.”
The Comets placed eighth Jan. 12 at the 10-team Cutler Bulldog Classic in New London and split their last two Eastern Valley Conference duals. Waupaca handed Fox Valley Lutheran a 47-22 loss Jan. 10, but fell to Ripon 52-16 Jan. 8.
Bulldog Cutler Classic
NEW LONDON – Levi Petroske placed second at 145 for Waupaca’s top finish after falling to Coleman’s Trevor Seewald 18-8 in the championship match.
Also placing for Waupaca were Anthony Friese, third at 152; Caleb Hobson, fifth at 220; Mitchell Rotta, sixth at 160; Eric Bolwerk, Guy Tessen and Blake Thoe, seventh at 106, 120 and 285, respectively; and Mike Hagen, ninth at 170.
Tem scores were Coleman, 282.5; Oshkosh North, 243; Little Chute, 226; Menasha, 206; New London, 188; Sturgeon Bay, 128; New Holstein, 94; Waupaca, 81; Weyauwega-Fremont, 72; and Appleton East 69.
Waupaca 47, FVL 22
WAUPACA – Ethan Riley pinned Luke Witt in 47 seconds at 132 pounds, Joe Balicki pinned Ben Coulthurst in 1:29 at 170 and Petroske picked up a 20-5 technical fall over Hayden Thern at 145.
The Comets picked up their 30 other points on forfeits at 113, 120, 152, 220 and 285.
FVL’s points came on A.J. Olson’s 5-2 win over Bolwerk at 106, Dan Brink’s 11-0 win over Alex Gotto at 126, Chase Maxwell’s pin of Miguel Barazza in 4:40 at 138, Jake Coulthurst’s 3-0 win over Friese at 160 and Ethan Schneider’s pin of Hagen at 182.
Ripon 52, Waupaca 16
WAUPACA – The Tigers won nine of 12 contested matches.
Waupaca’s points came on Petroske’s pin over Shawn Timm in 1:42 at 145, Rotta’s 13-2 major decision over Chase Niederkorn at 152 and Jason Ellie’s pin of Matt Brueggemann in 3:50 at 170.
Ripon’s wins included Tyler Resop’s 15-0 technical fall over Gotto at 126, Marshall Bauman’s 7-4 win over Riley at 132, Bradley Krahn’s 6-4 overtime win over Barazza at 138, Ben Pulvermacher’s 9-5 win over Friese at 152, Zachary Kutz’s 15-0 technical fall over Hagen at 182, Trevor Bender’s pin of Hobson in 3:09 at 220, Dylan Klosterman’s pin of Thoe in 1:39 at 285, Nicholas Retzlaff’s 6-0 win over Bolwerk at 106 and Ian Schraufnagel’s pin of Austin Turrubiates in 4:33 at 113.
The Comets also forfeited to Brandon Swanke at 120 and Brady Jacobson at 195.
“We have a lot of young guys that are getting a lot of valuable time at the varsity level,” Reif said. “We have about nine or 10 freshman that are getting a lot better, which is good to see.
“Then we have our other guys like Levi and Anthony that continue to get better,” he added. “They’re winning a lot of big matches for us and showing a lot of leadership. Overall, the season’s been a pretty good success, but we have about a month left in the season. We just have to keep working.”
Friese is in his first season with the Comets after transferring from Alaska, where he competed at state.
“He wrestled up (a weight class against FVL) just to get a match,” Reif said. “He’s going to drop down to 145 for regionals, sectionals and state. He’s just trying to get matches and get as much competition as he possibly can.”
Petroske has also wrestled at 145 for most of the season, but will drop to 138 for the postseason.
Waupaca will wrap up the EVC dual schedule at home against Berlin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 24, before ending the regular season Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Laconia Invitational in Rosendale.