The surging Tomahawk wrestling team cranked out a pivotal conference dual win over Rhinelander on Thursday, working a 41-25 triumph in the match-up of the sole 3-0 GNC teams.
“We wrestled pretty well, about as good as we have all year,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “We were aggressive. We won matches we wouldn’t have earlier in the year. Rhinelander won conference last year and only lost two kids, while we graduated 20.”
The top end of the Hatchet line-up started the match, racking up a 23-0 lead with wins to Quinton Wallenfang (170, 5-0), Zach Stefanich (182, forf.), Kaleb Kaminski (195, MD 21-9), Dane Borchardt (220, TF 16-1) and Ches Olson (285, TF 19-4).
A major decision at 106 over Morgan Waye and forfeits at 113 and 120 cut it to 23-16. But Tomahawk ran off three straight to put the match just out of reach at 35-16, with Brady Anderson (120, 10-6), Wyatt Wenninger (132, 3:06) and Blake Carstensen (138, 2:49).
“Momentum is so hard to slow down,” Garrou said. “Our kids were fired up.”
The Hodags made it 35-25 with points over Matt Turkiewicz (145, 5-1) and Bryce Bishop (152, 2:49), but a forfeit to Jacob Matti at 160 ended it.
The Hatchets ended up fourth in Saturday’s 10-team tournament, but they were just 25 points from the title and 8.5 out of the runner-up spot.
Four boys – Anderson (now 23-6), Wallenfang (28-3), Kaminski (30-1) and Wrestler of the Meet Borchardt (29-2) – grabbed titles. Wenninger (23-7) and Turkiewicz (20-12) ranked third, and Carstensen (12-10) and Stefanich (18-8) finished fourth. Bishop (18-14) and Matti (19-13) placed fifth, and Hans Leck (182, 3-10) was seventh.
“We had the flu a bit,” Garrou said. “We were 25 points out of the lead. With the whole team, I think we had a real good chance at it. Dane beat the #3 kid in the state, we had four kids win it and a bunch of kids took third or fourth. We’re right where we need to be.”
Borchardt defeated Ripon’s Ryan Socha 3-1 in the 220-pound championship match.
Team scores-Ripon 205.5, Waukesha South 189, Markesan 186.5, Tomahawk 180.5, Nekoosa 173, Winnebago Lutheran 140, Rio/Fall River/Cambria-Fries/Pardeeville 101, Kenosha St. Joseph 91.5, Columbus 65, St. Johns Northwestern 49.
Tomahawk will host Lakeland (2-2) on Thursday to close the conference dual season.
“We need to take care of business,” Garrou said. “We’re certainly not overlooking them.”