DuPlayee back in state title hunt
The Hatchet grapplers strolled straight into a dogfight in Saturday’s WIAA Waupaca Sectional.
Senior Payton DuPlayee, a state runner-up last year, earned a chance to improve on that showing when he solidly captured the 195-pound class.
Junior Austin Bellile took a opening loss at 182 pounds, and after moving ahead with a major decision, was bounced from the series with his fourth-place finish. Freshman Nate Flohr was eliminated with a first-round defeat.
“It was an amazing sectional,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “It was loaded. The 160 class had three state champions, 182 had three state qualifiers and 195 had three state qualifiers.”
DuPlayee (48-1) pinned his first foe in 1:24, turned in a 14-2 major decision in the semis, then defeated Witt./Birn.’s Levi Jozwiak (38-10) by a 7-4 tally to take the championship.
“Payton was really aggressive,” Garrou said. “He’s big for his weight class now that he’s down to 195, and he wrestled great. I’d like to see him build on his second-place finish from last year and win it.”
Bellile (24-2) had entered the meet undefeated, but dropped an 8-6 match to Freedom’s 36-5 Ben Beyer. He reached the third-place match with a pin in :58, but there he fell 11-6 to Luxemburg/Casco’s 37-14 Jordan Pardowsky.
“Austin was winning 6-3 to a state champ (Beyer) but then he slipped up a bit and took his first loss of the year,” Garrou said. “He took it really hard and couldn’t bounce back. The (Prdowsky) kid that beat him had been beat by probably six people Austin had pinned. We’d like to have that day back. I almost wish he had gotten his first loss earlier in the year like Payton. That way you get it out of the way and you can forget about it.
“Hopefully that makes Austin really hungry for next year, because Austin is a great wrestler. I really thought he’d be in that mix for a state championship. Being hurt didn’t help him. He had almost 30 matches less than Payton. If it wasn’t his knee, it was a bad staph infection. He was really sick and missed nine practices there.”
Flohr (31-14) lost an 8-2 bout to Sturgeon Bay’s Cole Nebel to end his first sectional event.
“Nate now knows what it takes, and I think he’s going to do whatever it takes to get better,” Garrou said. “Nate is a really good kid and will work hard. He needed them to show him what it’s about.”
Tomahawk ended up 9th of 24 teams in the unofficial sectional standings. Oconto Falls edged Lux/Casco 113-108 for the title, followed by Freedom (62.5), Seymour (43.5) and Two Rivers (38.5).