By Jared Schmeltzer
On Saturday the Merrill wrestling team traveled to Mount Horeb for the Mount Horeb Invitational. Merrill didn’t have a single wrestler finish in first place, however they were still able to pull off the team victory.
Merrill represented well with three wrestlers making it to the finals, however none of them could get the final win. The three to make the finals for the Bluejays were Casey Hoffman, Tanner Depies and Jake Spoehr. Coach Brian Suchocki had high praise for the three.
“Tanner’s work ethic is paying off,” Suchocki said. “In the finals he had a great opportunity but one mistake cost him the match. As a freshman, this was a great learning experience for him and he will be a better wrestler because of it.
“Casey put together a great tournament. We can see some of the technical parts of his wrestling improving. In practice it is a focus and Casey is listening.
“Jake is having a great start to the season.” Suchocki continued. “His experience and commitment to wrestling is showing.”
As a team, Merrill was the best at the tournament taking first place and having 13 wrestlers finish in the top seven, something no other team was able to accomplish. Coach Suchocki points to the amount of pins the team had as the deciding factor.
“Although we did not have a single individual champion every wrestler contributed to the team win. The wrestlers getting pins really was the difference.”
Bluejays dominate Lumberjacks
On Thursday night Merrill traveled to Wausau East to take on the conference foe. Merrill dominated the meet winning by a score of 60-15.
Noah Bolling got Merrill started with a pin coming only 45 seconds into his match. After Merrill received forfeits in the 106 and 113 weight classes, freshman Tanner Depies pinned his opponent in the 120 weight class, only 31 seconds into the match. East was able to get victories in the 126 and 132 weight classes, however Merrill would bounce back in the 138 weight class with Brody Gehrke getting a pin two minutes and 57 seconds into the match. Casey Hoffman would follow Gehrke up with a pin of his own at the 145 weight class, taking him only 57 seconds. East’s final win was in the 152 weight class where they took the 11-5 decision.
Merrill went on to win the rest of the matches, taking the 170 and 195 weight classes by forfeit. Cody Depies took the 170 weight class with a pin, Bradley Leiskau won the 182 weight class by pin and finally Walker Bathke took the 220 weight class also by pin.
The Merrill wrestlers will be back in action Thursday as they host Wausau West at 7 p.m.