Manawa advanced four wrestlers to compete in the WIAA Sectionals Saturday, Feb. 16 at Shawano High School.
The team portion of their season is complete, as the Wolves finished third in the WIAA Regional with 150 points. This was without two wrestlers who were out with injuries in Camden Moser (120 lbs.) and Garret Griffin (152 lbs.).
“Our guys wrestled really well. They were full of emotion and carried it through the entire day,” said Head Coach Scott Hahn. “At this time of the year your season is on the line. Sometimes it is difficult to rebound in the consolations or third place matches, but our guys proved to the entire wrestling community how hard they have worked all season. We are very proud of how they wrestled today.”
Justin Wentworth (132 lbs.) set the tone for Manawa. Wentworth scored a takedown with about seven seconds left in the match against his Menominee Indian opponent to advance to the semi-finals. Wentworth finished fourth.
“This match was back and forth the whole six minutes. Justin finished on a counter to the other guys shot for an emotional win. I believe this got us rolling for the day,” said Coach Dan Kundinger.
Freshman Josiah Melton finished fifth in the regional. Melton, who was out with an injury until after Christmas, won his fifth place match 12-10. Melton was down 10-7, then took down Christian Sanchez of Tri-County and turned him to his back to score a near fall in the last 20 seconds of the match. Melton held on for the win.
“Josiah did not cash in his season he knew it was important to end the season with a win, and he set out to do that. He will be back strong next year,” said Coach Brad Johnson.
Senior Nick Johnson finished his short career as a Wolves wrestler, but not without making a mark in the team scoring for Manawa. In the quarterfinals, Johnson squared off with Neiko Kaquatosh from Menominee Indian. Johnson was taken down in the first period and put to his back, then escaped and took Kaquatosh down to his back, putting the score at 7-4 after period one. Johnson chose down in the second period, escaped and put Kaquatosh to his back, picking up the fall with five seconds left in the period.
“Another exciting match which put points on the board for us and put Nicky in the semi-finals,” Hahn said. “He is resilient and found a way to win this match. I am proud of him being with us this season.”
Johnson finished fourth.
Branden Lindsay moved up two weight classes to 195, and still scored points for his team. Branden lost in the quarterfinals, but came back through and finished his season with a ten second pin over his Tri-County opponent in the fifth place match. Lindsay has meant a lot to his team this season
“Lindsay has worked hard and likes to compete. He has learned a lot and we can’t wait to have him back next season. He will sneak up on some people his senior year,” said Garret Griffin, one of the team captains.
Cole Thompson finished sixth in the tournament. Thompson lost to a Menominee Indian wrestler in the quarterfinals, but not without a battle in the circle. Thompson took him down and rode out the first period, almost turning him a couple of times. The Menominee Indian wrestler then chose down in period two, reversed Thompson, and pinned him. Thompson’s effort and attitude inspire his coaches every day.
Coach Johnson reflected on Thompson, “Coley works hard every single day in the practice room. He is always trying to get better and never stops. This off-season will be huge for him, he has come a long way this year.”
Junior Joe VandeVrede advanced to the finals before falling in the wrestleback round to finish third. He pinned his Amherst opponent in the semi-finals to advance to the finals where he ran into number one ranked Zach Riel of Shiocton. VandeVrede would have a wrestleback, and couldn’t quite rebound from the loss in the finals to win that match. Joe finished his season at 25-8, and is already looking forward to next season.
“Joe took his wrestling to another level this year. He wants to win and knows third is not where he wants to be. He competes every day and there is no doubt in my mind his off-season will be full of motivation for next season,” Kundinger said.
Joey finished third in the regional.
Daryn Claussen (120 lbs.) will compete in his first sectional. Claussen advanced to the finals with a pin over a Menominee Indian wrestler in 3:07. In the finals, Claussen wrestled Oliver Radtke of Wegauwega-Fremont. Claussen made Radtke work, but ended up losing the match. No wrestleback meant that Claussen advanced to next weekend.
“Daryn has been doing good things and has stepped up his technique the last few weeks. Advancing to the sectionals as a freshman is always impressive,” Brad Johnson said.
Senior Jacob Frenche, after only two years of wrestling, qualified for sectionals at 126 lbs. Frenche scored four takedowns in the first period then pinned Josiah Fasula of Amherst in the quarterfinals. Frenche needed two periods to pin his Wegauwega-Fremont opponent in the semi-finals and advance to the finals.
Frenche lost in the finals to his of Menominee Indian opponent, but bounced back in the wrestleback round to defeat Jervarious Bates of Tri-County.
“This was one of Jacob’s goals, qualifying for sectionals,” Hahn said. “He is very comfortable with what he does on the mat and always keeps moving. He has come a long way this season.”
Freshman Dominic Schuelke also qualified for his first sectional tournament. Schuelke (138 lbs.), defeated Tyler Hart of Wegauwega-Fremont in the semi-finals 7-0. In the finals, Hart wrestled Joe Moses of Menominee Indian. Moses was leading 5-3 and after slamming Schuelke twice in the match, Schuelke could not continue after the second slam due to injury.
“Dom will be fine, but he was hurting,” Hahn said. “Dominic is a competitor. When the trainer declared him not able to continue due to injury he shook his head no, he wanted to finish the match. This is the attitude and fire we love to see out of him. There was no way he could continue at that point.”
Schuelke finished as the champion.
Casey Johnson qualified for his third WIAA Sectionals in three years.
Johnson, a junior, moved down a weight class to complete in the 182 lbs. division. Johnson pinned James Pecore from Menominee Indian in the semi-finals, setting up a finals round with Henry Fielding from Shiocton. Fielding is ranked in the state, and this final proved to be a reason why. A scoreless first period saw Johnson choose down in period two.
He escaped to go up 1-0, and that score stayed the same into period three. Johnson rode Fielding in the third period and Henry couldn’t score.
Johnson won the championship match 1-0.
“Casey was looking forward to this match. This was two good kids going at it. They will meet again in sectionals I am guessing,” Hahn said.
WIAA Sectional Match-Ups
120 lbs.- Daryn Claussen, Manawa, 22-15 vs. Phil Sersch, Stratford, 33-7, 11
126 lbs. – Jacob Frenche, Manawa, 20-19 vs. Luke Finnel, Mishicot, 44-2, 12
138 lbs. – Dominic Schuelke, Manawa, 19-16 vs. Trevor Bielen, Marathon 27-12, 12
182 lbs. – Casey Johnson, Manawa, 31-4 vs. Danny Tomaszewski, Crivitz, 25-7, 11
The WIAA Sectionals will be held at Shawano High School, Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10 a.m.