By Nick Beversdorf
Saturday’s sectional meet at D.C. Everest proved to be a challenge for six Merrill wrestlers, as only two will advance to the WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament this Thursday.
Devon Schultz (120, 38-5) placed second at the sectional meet in his weight class, starting the first round with an 11-0 major decision victory against Chase Bergeron of Chippewa Falls. In the second round, he beat Logan Hatch of Hudson with a pin in 1:20. He lost the final round by a 3-0 decision to Vellko Kochiu of Wausau West.
Tanner Pettit (152, 37-5) followed a similar path to second place for his weight class, winning his first round with a quick 24 second pin against Sam Thompson of Menominee. In the second round he beat Dawson Eilts of Eau Claire North with a technical fall of 16-0 at 4:33. In the final round Tanner lost to Ryan McDevitt of Hudson by a 6-2 decision.
“Tanner and Devon both wrestled very well,” head coach Brian Suchoki commented. “They showed their skills at sectionals and will bring them to state.”
Merrill wrestlers who qualified for sectionals but did not make the cut for state include Brendan Leder (126, 26-14), Aidan Ball (138, 29-11), Christian Kleinschmidt (220, 26-8) and Collin Zoellner (285, 20-10), all of whom lost in the first round. Brendan lost by a pin at 5.28, Aidan by a 4-1 decision, Christian by a pin and Collin by a 3-0 decision.
“Christian fell into a back and forth with his oppenent,” said Suchoki, “but he fought hard the whole time.”
Suchoki also notes that four of the six boys are seniors and won’t be coming back.
“Four of our guys are seniors but Brendon got his taste of the playoffs and will be back next year along with Devon,” Suchoki said.
As 2nd place qualifiers, Schultz will face off against Tyler Hansen (32-5) of Kenosha Bradford/Reuther and Pettit will meet Shane Gantz (31-4) of Waukesha West in the first round.
“Both of them are looking forward to state,” added Suchoki. “Devon has been to state before while Tanner has already faced his first round opponent (Shane) before at the Bluejay Challenge.”
The matches will begin Thursday at 3 p.m. at the Kohl Center in Madison.
By Nick Beversdorf