An experienced senior and a record-setting freshman from Waupaca are leading a group of 10 area wrestlers to state.
Senior Levi Petroske and freshman Logan Barnhardt have qualified for the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Meet, which gets under way Thursday, Feb. 27, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Also keeping their season alive are Weyauwega-Fremont senior Brandon Loehrke and junior Oliver Radtke; Manawa seniors Garret Griffin and Cody Johnson; New London freshman Scott Cook, junior Austin Wyngaard and senior Brett Handschke; and Clintonville senior Jake Reiter.
Waupaca, New London and Clintonville wrestlers advanced out of the Division 2 Seymour Sectional, held Feb. 22, while W-F and Manawa wrestlers made it through the Division 3 Bonduel Sectional, held in Shawano.
SEYMOUR – Petroske, Barnhardt and three other Waupaca wrestlers headed to Seymour.
Petroske, who placed fifth at state two years ago as a sophomore, improved to improved to 44-2 on the season and went on to win the 160-pound championship with a 3-1 win over New London’s Austin Wyngaard in the finals. He advanced to the semifinals by pinning Denmark’s Jacob Vogel in 4:18 before handing Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Alex Peplinski, another state qualifier, 15-5.
Barnhardt’s road to state included his first loss of the season. He opened the tournament with a 7-0 win over Seymour’s Bennett Temple at 106, but then fell to eventual champion Paul Bianchi of Two Rivers, 11-7, in the semifinals. He stayed alive in the meet by pinning Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Stetson Potrykus in 2:38, pinned Mosinee’s Josh Ehster in 5:48 in the third-place match and wrapped up second place with a 5-1 win over Wrightstown’s Michael Bannach, who also qualified for state.
Austin Gonyou (113), Guy Tessen (120) and Blake Thoe (285) also competed for Waupaca.
“We sent five guys to sectionals and qualified two wrestlers,” coach Tom Reif said. “Logan placed second after defeating several ranked wrestlers throughout the day. He currently has 47 wins this season, which is the most in school history.”
Petroske also defeated a number of ranked wrestlers, according to Reif.
“Levi currently has 151 career wins and a chance to finish with the most career wins in school history,” he said.
Barnhardt (47-1) will face Mauston’s Chris Ruf (33-10) at 7:15 tonight in the first Division 2 match at state. Petroske (44-2) has a bye in the preliminary round and will take on West Salem’s Brandon Bahr (35-12) or Luck/Frederic/Grantsburg’s Tony Britton (41-4) in the quarterfinals, which get under way at about 11:15 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28.
“Both wrestlers have a great chance to place this weekend if not win it,” Reif said. “They have had great seasons and I believe they will cap it off with a great tournament down in Madison.”
Barnhardt isn’t the only area freshman headed to Madison, as Cook placed third at 126 for the Bulldogs. New London’s Wyngaard took second at 160 and Handschke placed third at 182.
Cook came back through the wrestleback after being pinned in 4:12 by eventual champion Cody Walrath of Freedom. He defeated Luxemburg-Casco’s Eric Peters 11-2 and Oconto Falls’ Nathaniel Trepanier 3-1 in the third-place match before being pinned by Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Bobby Uttecht in 1:40 in the second-place match.
Wyngaard made it to the finals against Petroske with a 4-2 win over Wrightstown’s Brandon Buechler and a 8-5 decision over Peshtigo’s Shane Marquardt. He wrapped up his day with a 3-2 win over Peplinski in the second-place match.
Handschke also made it to the finals with a 5-1 win over Tomahawk’s Henry Helland
Cook (33-13) will open the tournament tonight against Sparta’s John Roddick (40-8), Wyngaard (27-9) has a matchup with Pewaukee’s Jake Paget (37-12) and Handschke (36-10) will wrestle Ellsworth’s Dennis Schultz (22-3).
The Bulldogs’ Anna Malueg (113), Skylar Moderson (132), Gabe Oswald (145), Tommy Thurber (170) and Andrew Clauss (195) also competed in Seymour.
Reiter handed Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s D.J. Ostrowski a 12-4 loss in the first round at 195, but fell to Luxemburg-Casco’s Dan Dorner in the semifinals. He came back through the wrestleback round to pin Little Chute’s Quinn Schultz in 47 seconds and defeat Clauss 18-8.
He will bring a 40-5 record to Madison and open up in the preliminary round tonight against Brandon Brennan (19-6) of Valders.
Clintonville’s Charlie Poppe also competed at 170 at Seymour.
SHAWANO – Radtke and Loehrke advanced by placing third at 132 and 170, respectively.
Radtke defeated Pittsville’s Adam Sturgis 8-6, but dropped a 8-6 match to previously unbeaten Morgan Krueger of Crandon in the semifinals, who went on to place second. Radtke came back through the wrestleback with an 11-6 win over Reedsville’s Isaac Roffers, and had three takedowns in a 9-4 win over Florence’s Andrew Kelly in the third-place match.
“Radtke did a great job of competing all day,” coach Tim Potratz said. “He fell behind in two of his matches, but fought back to win in the third period. He really stepped up to the challenge and got himself to the state tournament. We have never seen him wrestle better.”
Loehrke opened the sectional with a 5-1 win over Crivitz’s Nicholas Chapman, but was pinned in 4:59 by eventual champion Grant Wedephol of Reedsville in the semifinals. He came back through the wrestleback with a 12-5 win over Spencer’s Zach Schneider and a 6-5 win over Elcho’s Joey Johnson, but was pinned by Bonduel’s Jacob Wudtke in 5:53 in the second-place match.
Loehrke came up with a takedown with 20 seconds to go against Johnson, a state qualifier last year.
“Brandon has wrestled tough all season and really earned his trip to state, “Potratz said. “He was physical and aggressive in his matches, scoring nine takedowns in his five matches at the sectional. He has been our team leader all season and he should compete very well at state this weekend.”
Radtke (25-12) will take on Jordan Corcoran of La Crosse Aquinas (26-5) in the preliminary round tonight, while Loehrke (31-9) will square off against Iowa-Grant/Highland’s Brian Halverson (34-14).
Austin Baehnman (126), Andy Pribbernow (152) and Andy Bork (285) also competed at Shawano for the Indians.
“The coaches are very impressed by our five sectional qualifiers,” Potratz said. “They all wrestled very well and we won seven matches as a team in the tournament to place 14th out of 26 teams.”
Baehnman (13-8) lost his first-round match to Shawn Paulson of Florence and did not get a wrestleback.
“Baehnman made great improvement this season and by qualifying for sectionals sets himself up to be a team leader next year,” Potratz said.
Pribbernow (17-12) had the toughest draw of opponents of anybody on the team, as he drew the second- and third-place finishers.
“He ended his W-F wrestling career with a solid senior season as a team leader in the practice room by example of how to work hard for the younger kids on the team,” Potratz said. “He also tied for the team lead in pins with 11.”
Bork (26-11) won his first-round match before losing his next two.
“Bork has been a huge success in his junior season, leading the team in pins with 11 and placing in every tournament he wrestled this year at heavyweight,” Potratz said.
Johnson won the area’s other championship, as he handed Menominee Indian’s Keenan Richmond a 7-3 loss in the finals at 220. His other wins included pins of Crivitz’s Matt Tomaszewski in 3:41 and Coleman’s C.J. Pillaty in 3:02.
Griffin picked up a 10-6 win over Bonduel’s Mitch Sokolski at 160 in Shawano, but was pinned in only 22 seconds by Edgar’s Connor Handrick in the semifinals. He came back through the wrestleback by pinning Florence’s Anthony Kilgis and an 11-3 over Tucker Roesler of Athens in the third-place match.
Johnson has a bye in the first round in Madison and will put his 43-1 record on the line Feb. 28 against Glenwood City’s Donovan Formal (33-9) or Westfield’s Brandon Peter (32-14). Griffin (24-6) will open state tonight against Westfield’s Jay Kaenel (36-8).
Dominic Schuelke (132) and Cole Thompson (285) also wrestled for Manawa at Shawano, as did Amherst’s James Borgen (138) and Jamie Docka (195).