Five area wrestlers are in Madison for the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Meet, which starts today (Thursday, Feb. 21) at the Kohl Center.
However, Waupaca and Weyauwega-Fremont do not have a wrestler at state for the first time since 2010.
Wrestlers that did advance are New London’s Brett Handschke (170 pounds) in Division 1; Wild Rose/Wautoma’s Bryce Bennot (152) and Taylor Rivers (170) and Clintonville’s Jake Reiter (195) in Division 2; and Manawa’s Casey Johnson (182) in Division 3.
First-round matches that begin today include Handschke (33-13) vs. Franklin’s Myles Devine (36-8), Bennot (33-8) vs. Lomira’s Garrett Keller (38-7), Rivers (38-11) vs. Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg’s Alex Richey (28-10), Reiter (38-7) vs. Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus’ Jack Nelson (27-13) and Johnson (34-5) vs. Laconia’s Dustin Diech (27-17).
State qualifiers advanced out of sectional meets held Feb. 16.
De Pere Sectional: Handschke was the only wrestler out of eight from New London and 10 from Hortonville that made it out of the sectional. He fell to Pulaski’s Anthony Rottier 12-0 in the championship match and defeated Green Bay Preble/Green Bay East’s Danny Nicholson 9-5 in the second-place match.
Seymour Sectional: Waupaca’s Levi Petroske, who placed fifth at state last year at 126, came up short at 152. Luxemburg-Casco’s Dylan Blemke pinned the junior in 4:17 in the third-place match. Two other Comet wrestlers – Austin Gonyou (113) and Guy Tessen (120) – also competed. Reiter advanced to his first trip to state with an 11-6 win over Nekoosa/Port Edwards’ Dylan Bauer in the third-place match. Bennot dropped a 3-1 overtime decision to Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Braxton Potrykus in his championship match, while Luxemburg-Casco’s Jordan Pardowsky pinned Rivers in 1:23 in a second-place match.
Bonduel Sectional: Manawa’s Johnson dropped a 12-0 decision to Edgar’s Luke Nowak in the championship match in Shawano, but came back to hand Shiocton’s Henry Fielding a 3-0 win in the second-place match. Weyauwega-Fremont’s Trevor Potratz had a chance to advance to his second straight trip to state at 145, but Coleman’s Trevor Seewald pinned him in 31 seconds in a third-place match. W-F’s Oliver Radtke (120), Tre Blohm (132) and Brandon Loehrke (170) also competed.
“The northeast Wisconsin sectional is traditionally the toughest in the state and this year was no exception, as all four boys ran into top competition,” W-F coach Tim Potratz said. “All the boys wrestled well for the most part. We just did not have the skill needed to get to the next level. There was no lack of effort on our part and the coaches were proud of the way our boys competed.”
Potratz won his first match 8-3 over a Bonduel wrestler and then lost a 3-2 heartbreaker in the semifinals to Auburndale. He came back to win his wrestleback match 6-4 over a senior from Elcho before falling to Seewald.
Potratz finished 23-5 record on the season. The senior’s 102-33 overall record includes 46 pins and 182 takedowns.
Blohm (22-17), also a senior, lost his first match to a Crandon wrestler and came back with a strong performance against Mishicot in the wrestleback, but fell 7-5. He finished his career with 38 wins, 21 pins and 59 takedowns and wrestled his way to conference and regional finals as a senior, as well as a pair of sectional appearances.
Loehrke (29-14) lost two heartbreakers, 9-7 to Bonduel Loehrke and an overtime loss in his wrestleback match to an Elcho wrestler. “Loehrke wrestled tough at the sectional and made great improvement this season, setting himself up for a super senior year,” Potratz said.
Radtke (32-9) lost his first-round match against Marathon and did not get a wrestleback match. He made the finals in five tournaments this season and led the team in wins.
“He will be looking to take the next step up as junior next year and help Loehrke lead the W-F squad,” Potratz said.