Merrill grapplers take 2nd at Badger Invite
The No. 2 ranked Merrill High School wrestling team didn’t let the disappointment of having their Thursday home appointment with top ranked Wausau West snowed out hamper their efforts in Madison Saturday at the Badger State Wrestling Invitational, taking second among 19 teams in the field.
The Bluejay’s 194 points was just shy of Sycamore’s 201 for the tournament crown. Edgar with 153 was 3rd, Sparta was 4th at 141, Mineral Point was 5th with 120, Stoughton was 6th with 112.5 points, just edging Waterford in 8th at 112.
The other teams in the field in their order of finish were: Iowa Grant, River Valley, Waukesha South, Campbellsport, Franklin, Kimira, Waunakee, Horicon, Manawa, Madison Lafollette, Waseca and Waukesha West.
The blue and white scored two weight class championships, a second and two thirds to emphasize their claim to the top rankings for the tournament. In all, 13 Merrill wrestlers placed in their weight classes.
Tyler Schmidt won the 220 pound weight class with a 5-0 decision over Sycamore’s Martin Malone and Dave Pophal took the 170 pound crown with a 3-1 decision over River Valley’s Garrett Riek.
Schmidt won a 1-0 decision over Jacob Claybaugh of Waseca in the semi final, pinned Sparta’s Chase Bernett in 3:03 and received a bye in the first match of the championship round. Pophal scored an 11-2 major decision over Greg Skon of Sparta in the quarterfinals, a 9-0 major decision over Zach Schneeberger of Edgar and pinned Franklin’s Marcus Grimm in 3:25 in the opening match of his championship bracket.
Scott Arneson scored a second place finish at 132 pounds. He was pinned in the final round by Ryan Costello of Campbellsport after winning a 9-7 decision over Sparta’s Brock Polhamus in the semifinal, a 1-0 decision over Sycamore’s Colton Burns in the quarterfinal round and receiving a first round bye.
Mason Reinhardt at 160 pounds and Alex King at 195 pounds each finished 3rd in their weight classes.
Reinhardt won his first round match against Daniel Peyer of Franklin, pinned Aaron Knudtson in 5:04 in the quarterfinal before dropping an 11-6 decision in the semifinal to Matt Nowak of Edgar. He bounced back to win the third place match over Sycamore’s Austin Armstrong 10-2. King pinned Dakota Hughes of Mineral Point in 1:32 to open his championship round. He then defeated Franklin’s Kyle Smith 3-2 in the quarterfinal before losing by tech fall to Sycamore’s Jake Davis in the semi. King took the 3rd place match from Iowa Grant’s Derek Peat 4-2.
Garrett Schmelling took a 4th place at 138 pounds, Hunter Welch at 113 pounds, Ben Hintze at 182 pounds and Gabe Nelles at heavyweight took 5th place finishes, Nathan Beyer at 120 pounds and Eric Ball at 145 each finished 6th and Dylan Scheilke at 152 pounds finished 8th.
The Bluejays will host their annual holiday tournament The Northern Exposure this Friday and Saturday at the fieldhouse with action getting underway at 9:30 a.m. each day.