By Jeremy Ratliff
Saturday’s WIAA Individual Wrestling Regional meet hosted by Wausau West, turned out to be a day of triumph for the Bluejay varsity wrestlers, as six wrestlers qualified to move on to next week’s sectional meet at D.C. Everest High School.
Spearheading the Jays’ effort was senior Tanner Pettit (35-4) who claimed the regional championship in the 152 pound class.
Following a first-round bye, Pettit wasted no time in pinning Marshfield’s Sam Mitchell (18-17) in a matter of 1:12. In the championship bout, Pettit topped Wausau West’s Alex Hein (20-12) by 18-4 major decision.
Ninth ranked (D1)Devon Schultz (120/36-4), Christian Kleinschmidt (220/26-7) and Collin Zoellner (285/20-9) garnered second place finishes.
Schultz won his first match by injury default just 47 seconds into his first match with Antigo’s Benjamin Stimac, and then fell by 11-0 major decision to West’s Vellko Kochiu in his second match. Schultz rebounded in the 2nd place bout over Everest’s Kyle VanGalder by 17-3 major decision.
Kleinschmidt scored a quick pin (1:37) over Marshfield’s Sam Haessly to kick off his quest for a sectional berth, then followed up with another pin (2:45) over Antigo’s Marcus Spencer to advance to the championship bout with 9th ranked (D1) Berkley Corvino of D.C. Everest (41-7).
Unfortunately Corvino would get the upper hand and score a pin in just under two minutes.
Kleinschmidt would persevere in his 2nd place re-match with Spencer following a win by rule violation.
Zoellner also punched his ticket to the Everest Sectional meet via win by rule in his 2nd place bout over Point’s Brandon Patoka (14-10).
Following a 7-0 decision over Rhinelander’s Mike Wagner, Zoellner pinned Patoka (1:36) then lost by pin to West’s Brady Lenz before re-matching Patoka in the 2nd place match.
Aidan Ball (138/29-10) punched his pass to Sectionals with a 3rd place finish on the day, as did Brendan Leder (126/26-13) finishing 4th.
“It was obviously a great feeling to send this many guys to sectionals,” head coach Brian Suchocki said. “I was very happy with how well the entire team competed. Tanner went into regional meet wrestling competing at a very high level down the stretch. His performance will serve as a big boost for him headed into sectionals.
“Brendan Leder’s semi-final match was pretty exciting. He wrestled top seeded (8th ranked D1) Chance Bailey from Stevens Point and caught some bad breaks with scoring. But Brendan battled back to tie it up and go into overtime. He may have lost by a takedown, but the match showed Brendan is able to compete with anyone.”
Saturday’s sectional meet kicks off at 10:30 a.m. at D.C. Everest High School in Schofield.
By Jeremy Ratliff