The Manawa Wolves wrestling team traveled to Shiocton, Saturday, Feb. 15 for the Regional Tournament. They walked away with four qualifiers. Manawa was able to qualify wrestlers at 132, 160, 220, and 285 pound weight classes.
Dominic Schuelke operated the 132 pound weight class and at the end of the day found himself in second place and qualified for sectionals. Schuelke started the day with a bye and then a pin in 1:27 before losing to Weyauwega’s Oliver Radtke in an extremely tight 8-4 finals match.
Schuelke will face Anthony Marten from Stratford in the first round of the sectional tournament. Marten is a senior with a 23-4 record.
“Dominic has his eyes on the prize and today was just another stepping stone for him. He can’t afford to give up five points on a cheap move in sectionals. We are expecting him to make a big push for Madison on Saturday,” said Coach Dan Kundinger. Garret Griffin manned the 160 pound class for the Wolves and won his first Regional Chamionship while advancing to sectionals. Griffin’s day started with a bye and a pin in 3:42. In the finals he dominated his opponent with a pin in 1:32. Griffin will face familiar foe Mitch Sokolski from Bonduel in the first round of sectional action. Griffin is 1-1 verse him this year and looks to avenge his loss at conference. Griffin will enter Saturday with a 21-5 record verses Sokolski’s 31-10 record.
“Griffin has put himself in the perfect position to reach his coveted goal of qualifying for the state tournament. It is make or break for him and he is really starting to turn up the heat as he continues to find his groove,” said Coach Shae Coyle.
Casey Johnson was the Wolf of choice in the 220 pound weight class and he didn’t disappoint. After receiving a bye he recorded a 49 second pin in the semifinals and a pin in 5:20 in the finals. Johnson was able to dispose of Menominee’s Keenan Richmond in the finals for the fourth time this year. Johnson will move onto sectionals with a 40-1 record and face Matt Tomaszewski from Crivitz who sports a 22-13.
“Casey wrestled very well today. He has the pedal to the medal right now and it showed. He is committed to getting back to state and putting on a show once he gets there. He has a lot to prove and is motivated to do so. This is the point in the year where each kid here on out is better than the last you faced. If he wrestles like that is the case, these next few weeks should be a blast,” Coyle said.
Cole Thompson manned the 285 pound weight class and began to return to form. Thompson finished the day with a 2-1 record and in second place, advancing him to sectionals for the first time in his career. He received a bye in the first round and a 7-2 win in the second round. In the finals, he wrestled familiar foe Andy Bork from Weyauwega. Thompson lost a tight 8-6 match. Thompson moves to sectionals with a 28-12 record and will face James Lassa from Pittsville who holds a 19-0 record.
“Cole wrestled in control all of today except 30 seconds of the first period in the finals and it cost him five points and the match. If Cole can just improve each practice the rest of the way he will control his destiny. Cole has a few things he is really good at and he needs to stick with those things because it is crunch time,” said Head Coach Brad Johnson.
Remington Reeck saw his first wrestling season come to an end after finishing in fourth place following a 1-2 performance. Reeck pinned his first opponent of the day after mounting a 14 point lead. He ran into eventual champ Kyle Winker in the second round. In the third place match Reeck entered the third period down by five. He battled to a three point lead but eventually lost 14-16.
“That’s a hard loss to swallow and end your season on. I know we shouldn’t be disappointed after the season he put together being a first year wrestler but the heart he puts in and the little mistakes he made were the difference from possibly taking second to taking fourth. He just needs to persevere and bust his butt to come back tough as nails next year,” Coach Johnson said.
Justin Wentworth was the Wolf of choice in the 138 pound class and found himself finishing in fourth place with a 1-2 record. His day started with a pin in 3:11 but the success ended there as he ran into the number one kid in the state from Shiocton, Austin Riehl, and familiar foe Vlad Evensen from Rosholt.
“Year two is finally under his belt. We expected a lot from Justin this year which really wasn’t fair as a second year wrestler but I would say all-in-all he performed well for us and we are proud of the strides he made this year and are excited for the growth going into next year,” Coyle said.
Ben Beyer was another one of the first year Wolves that saw his season come to an end. Beyer battled to a 2-1 record in the 145 pound class and a third place finish. In the first round he found himself down 14-7 early in the third period. After rattling off nine straight points he was able to pin his opponent in 5:49. In the second round Beyer faced the number one seed. Beyer sent his opponent to his back in what would have been an unforgiving hold had he not been technical falled seconds before that. Beyer went to the third place match where he battled to a 14-13 victory.
“It can’t get much crazier than that. Ben is literally one move away from beating each and every kid in that bracket. We are extremely proud of his growth this season and can’t wait to discover what he has in store for another three years as Wolves wrestler,” Coach Johnson said.
In the 152 pound class Manawa’s Daryn Claussen found success but not on the scoreboard. One week after wrestling at 132 pounds at the conference tournament Claussen was forced to wrestle at 152. Giving up nearly 20 pounds he lost 12-0 to Shiocton’s state ranked Garret Gunderson. In his third place match he lost to Menominee’s Forrest Webster 5-0.
“Daryn absolutely rose to the occasion today and worked his tail off today and I believe if he wrestled this way all season he would have had probably six less losses. I hope this motivates and propels him into the offseason so his season never ends in disappointment again,” Kundinger said.
Andy Bristow made his return to the mat for the Wolves in the 170 pound weight class. Bristow saw his senior campaign end after two rounds.
“Andy’s career was short but sweet. He didn’t find the success he worked so hard for but he found many other great things both from within himself and within his teammates. He brought so much to this team and his teammates and we couldn’t be prouder of the sacrifices he gave to this team. We hope he can be an example for anyone thinking about joining this team while having little to no experience,” Johnson said.
Jake Kaczorowski owned the 195 pound weight class for the Wolves and didn’t experience the day he was used too. He received a bye in the first round. In the second round he was tied in the second period at zero with Jamie Docka of Amherst, but got caught in an unforgiving hold, ending his finals hopes. In his third place match Kaczorowski battled Rosholt’s Cole Bembenek who he has beaten twice already this year. This time he came up on the short end of a 4-3 score.
“That third place match was the true definition of out working your opponent but still losing. I don’t recall one move that kid tried that whole entire match. Jake physically beat that kid but you don’t always get the calls. None-the-less we are so proud of Jake and what he was able to accomplish as a first year wrestler. We are stoked to have him back next year after he attends a few camps and continues to get stronger,” Kundinger said.
Schuelke, Griffin, Johnson, and Thompson will head to sectionals, Saturday, Feb. 22 in Shawano. Matches start at 10:30 a.m.