Jeremy Ratliff & Kelly O’Day
Foto News Staff
Twenty teams from around the state, including 9th-ranked Witt-Birn (D2), converged on the MHS Fieldhouse on Saturday for the annual Bluejay Challenge wrestling tournament. When the mats cleared Saturday afternoon the Jays stood in fifth place with 341 points, behind champion Spencer (424.5), Sun Prairie (403), Witt-Birn (399) and Barron (363). Tomahawk turned up a solid 7th with 286.5.
Devon Schultz (22-2) ran the table in the 126 pound class, going 3-0 on the day along with a pair of byes.
Tanner Pettit (20-4, 2 p) placed 2nd in the 152-pound weight class, followed by Christian Kleinschmidt (13-5, 2 p) and Aidan Ball (17-7) with a third place finishes in the 220 and 138 pound classes, respectively.
Brad Leiskau (13-8, 1 p) and Brendan Leder (17-7) placed fourth at 120 and 132, respectively. Others included: Brody Zocher (5th, 182), Isaac Buntrock (5th, 285), Collin Zoellner (6th, 285), Bryanna Block (7th, 113), Ryker Wesbrock (8th, 152), Brody Gehrke (9th, 138), Jake Spoehr (12th, 170).
“This was a big weekend for us, especially having the West dual on Friday night,” commented head coach Brian Suchocki. “It was great to see the kids come out and wrestle very well. We placed nine kids in the top 10 and four in the semi-finals which is great.”
For the Hatchets, Coach Bob Garrou noted, “All our kids got tested a little bit. We didn’t have our full team because it was Marine work-out day and several of my boys want to be Marines.
“I really commend Merrill for running such a good tournament.”
Quinton Wallenfang (19-3, 182, 2 p) and Dane Borchardt (21-1, 220, 2 p) captured titles for the Hatchets. Runner-up Kaleb Kaminski (21-1, 195, 1 p) took his first loss of the year in an ultimate tiebreaker to Witt.-Birn.’s state runner-up August Peplinski (30-0).
“Four overtimes,” Garrou stated. “That’s what we want, to wrestle these types of kids. Kaleb weighed 184 and could have cut to 182, by why do that? They tied. The kid rode Kaleb out for the win.
“Quinton is getting over the injury and surgery from last year. I think a lot of people will know his name by the end of the year.”
Others included: Wyatt Wenninger (4th, 138), Brady Anderson (5th, 126), Matt Turkiewicz (8th, 138), Sara Kouba (12th, 160), Bryce Bishop (13th, 152), Zach Stepanich (13th, 182), and Blake Carstensen (19th, 132).
Team standings — Spencer 424.5, Sun Prairie 403, Wittenberg-Birnamwood 399, Barron 363, Merrill 341, Escanaba 321, Tomahawk 286.5, Lakeland 285.09. Oconto 264, Marathon 242, Amherst 203, La Crosse Aquinas 176, Crandon 175, Southern Door 157.5, Waukesha West 142.5, Almond Bancroft/Pacelli 125, Three Lakes 116, Mosinee 88, Tri-County 58, Elcho 56.
Friday night, arch-nemesis Wausau West rolled into town and left the Jays with a bitter 46-18 loss.
The meet kicked off with a bang as Leder pulled off a hard-fought 13-11 win at 132, followed by back to back wins by Brody Gehrke (138) and Aidan Ball (145).
The Warriors came out swinging in the 152 class with a pin only to have the Jays fire back with a pin by Pettit at 160. Unfortunately, things would begin to come unraveled from there as West swept the 170, 182, 195 and 220 classes by two pins, a forfeit and an 8-3 decision.
Collin Zoellner answered for the Jays with a win at 285, but that would be the last answer of the night for the blue and white as the Warriors picked up the remaining bouts at 106 (forfeit), 113 (decision), 120 (pin) and a near miss at 126 as Schultz fell 5-4.
“We had a big weekend ahead of us and lost a couple close ones,” Suchocki said. “We had a couple forfeits too which always hurt you in a dual. Overall, I think we wrestled a good dual overall. The kids went out and wrestled hard.”
The Hatchets crushed a short-handed Mosinee team 33-12 on Thursday.
“Mosinee is down,” Garrou said. “It’s hard because we didn’t get to wrestle any of our exceptional kids. I think there were a total of five matches. They have a couple of good kids and our kids wrestled them well. Brady Anderson lost 4-3 to a state runner-up.”
Jeremy Ratliff & Kelly O’Day