The Manawa Wolves wrestling team traveled to Wittenberg on Saturday, Feb. 8 and left satisfied as a team, but hoping for more individually.
Manawa entered the CWC Wrestling Tournament ranked sixth in the conference and finished in fourth place. The Wolves finished with 109 team points, just a few wins shy of third place.
Wittenberg finished the day with seven champions, while Bonduel had four. Shiocton, Almond-Bancroft/Pacelli, and the Wolves each had one champion.
Dominic Schuelke worked the 126 pound weight class for the Wolves. Schuelke had high hopes of a championship but finished the day 1-2 with a pin and in fourth place.
“Dominic didn’t wrestle his best today. I think he can beat both of those kids come sectionals. A good week of preparation and he will be right back on track for the long run,” Coach Dan Kundinger said.
Daryn Claussen manned the 132 pound class and proved his fit. He reached the Conference Finals for the first time in his short career. Claussen eventually lost to Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Bobby Uttecht in the finals. Clauseen went 2-1 on the day and finished in second place.
“Daryn wrestled well today and all year really deserved that finish. He has put in the time and I hope the rest of the season is as fruitful as Saturday was for him,” said Coach Shae Coyle.
Justin Wentworth was the Wolf of choice at the 138 pound weight class and found just how much kids can improve as the year moves forward. Justin wrestled to a 1-2 record and recorded a pin.
“I know Justin would really like to have the Rosholt match back. We beat that kid earlier this season and I don’t think he is better than Justin. We will get another shot at him this next weekend in Shiocton,” said Head Coach Brad Johnson.
Remington Reeck found himself wrestling at 145 pounds for the Wolves after wrestling in the 126 pound class for most of the season. Reeck found out what 20 pounds can do to an athlete. Reeck finished the day 1-2 and in fourth place. He lost to the eventual champ from Bonduel and then a worthy opponent from Menominee.
“Not much to say for Reeck. He was at a huge disadvantage today and did the best he could with the opportunity given. He just wants a varsity spot and I give him credit for that,” Kundinger said.
Ben Beyer battled at the 152 pound class for the Wolves and found some success going 2-1 and finishing in fifth place. Ben was tied 5-5 after the first period in his first match but was caught out of position and his hopes of staying in the winner’s bracket were put to rest. In his fifth place match Ben found himself down 6-4 early in the second period. After multiple scrambles his opponents lead had increased before Ben put his opponent in an unforgiving hold that sealed the victory with a pin.
“Ben has worked his tail off all year and deserves every win he gets. I really believe he could have been in the top four but you don’t get a second chance at the conference tournament. We are proud of the way he never gave up today,” Johnson said.
Garret Griffin was the Wolf of choice at 160 pounds and worked his way to a 2-1 record on the day. Garret won his first round match but fell late to semifinal foe, Mitch Sokolski of Bonduel. In his third place match he man handled his opponent to an 8-2 victory.
“I know Griffin is disappointed in not winning the championship today but he has to just keep his chin up and take it one match at a time as he shoots for his next goal,” Coyle said.
Jake Kaczorowski found himself three wins compared to a lone loss on the day in the 195 pound bracket. Kaczorowski lost his first bout but recorded two successive pins and then a 3-1 win in overtime to seal fifth place.
“That was a fun day for Jake. The strides he makes match after match are just unbelievable. It’s not going unnoticed either. We are having coaches come ask us what year he is and how long he has been wrestling. Hard work is paying off for Jake,” Kundinger said.
Casey Johnson was able to join the club and secure that first elusive conference title in the 220 pound weight class. Johnson’s day went much the way it was planned receiving a bye, recording a pin, and securing the championship with a dominating performance in the finals with a 10-1 win. He will compete next weekend for his third regional championship in a row.
“Any time you win a conference title it is considered a successful day. We are really happy and proud of him for what he was able to accomplish this season within our conference. Hopefully the rest of the ride can be as fun as these last 38 matches for him,” Coyle said.
Cole Thompson was the Wolf of choice at the 285 pound class. Thompson worked to a 1-2 record and a fourth place finish. He beat a familiar foe that was ranked in state from Menominee but was unable to beat Division II ranked Cole Warzynski. He then lost to Andy Bork of Weyauwega in the third place match.
“Days like today are hard. When you aren’t quite wrestling your best it’s just a really empty feeling. I know that’s what Cole is feeling right now. The good news is his season isn’t over. He has another chance at 2 of 3 this weekend,” Kundinger said.
“We didn’t wrestle our best as a team but when you look at the final standings it looks as though we got the job done. We are going to work hard this week so the trend continues next weekend at regionals. Our goal is to send seven kids to sectionals so we will really have to bring it,” Coach Johnson said.
The Wolves will travel Shiocton on Saturday, Feb. 15 for regionals.