Six Tomahawk wrestlers will be advancing to sectional competition at Oconto Falls Saturday, after placing in the top two at the regional meet in Mosinee last Saturday.
“I was really happy with the way our kids wrestled,” THS coach Bob Garrou said.
The Hatchets boast three regional champions in Quinton Wallenfang (170), Kaleb Kaminski (182) and Dane Borchardt (220). Brady Anderson (126), Wyatt Wenninger (138) and Ches Olson (228) advance to sectional on the stength of second place finishes at regional.
Defending state champ Borchardt, 39-2 on the season, pinned his semifinal opponent in 1:09 and took the championship match over Witt-Birn’s Mitch Amundson by tech fall.
Kaminski (40-1) pinned his semifinal foe in 1:26. In the final, he stuck Witt-Birn’s Kyle Premeau in :59.
Garrou said he expect Kaminski, who placed third at state last year, and Borchardt to have a good chance at state titles this year.
“(Kaminski) is without a doubt one of the best wrestlers I’ve had the pleasure of coaching,” Garrou said. “Dane had a very good day. He looked like a state champion should.”
Wallenfang won by pin in 1:14 in his semifinal match. He then won by 2-1 decision over top-ranked Alex Peplinski of Witt-Birn in the final.
“Quinton beat the #1 ranked kid in the state,” Garrou said. “He had a really good year and wrestled really well. He’s finally showing that he’s capable of winning state if he can put everything together.”
Anderson won by pin in the semifinal before losing a 6-4 decision to Witt-Birn’s Gavin Czerwonka in the 1st place match. Wrestling back to second place, Anderson pinned Craig Elsen of Nekoosa in 3:24.
“Brady beat a state qualifier in the semis and it came down to the last seconds in the final,” Garrou said.
Wenninger pinned his quarterfinal foe in :13, then won a 6-5 decision in the semifinal bout. He lost the final match to Zach Orquhart of Witt-Birn by 12-6 decision.
“Wyatt is a very good freshman,” Garrou said. “He beat the kid who beat him the week before, and a state qualifier beat him in the final.”
Olson won his semifinal match by pin in 4:30. Olson was then pinned by Cole Warzynski of Almond Bancroft in the 1st place match. While a senior, this is Olson’s first year of varsity wrestling.
“He’s very athletic,” Garrou said. “That’s a real accomplishment for a first year wrestler.”
Third place finishes were turned in by Blake Carstensen (132, 14-18), Jacob Matti (160, 26-16) and Zach Stefanich (195, 24-11). Placing fourth were Matt Turkiewicz (145, 23-18) and Bryce Bishop (152, 19-21).
Wittenberg-Birnamwood took the team title with 249 points, while Tomahawk was second with 189.5.
As a team, Tomahawk ends the season at 14-2 and tied for the conference title with Rhinelander.
“We only had 15 kids on the whole team,” Garrou said, “and that says a lot about these kids. This was probably my most rewarding year as a coach to this point. I’m very happy with this group of kids. Eleven had perfect attendance and nine had perfect grades, I never had to worry about grades or behavior.”