Bellile wraps up career with fourth-place state finish
Austin Bellile represented Tomahawk’s lone shot at a podium finish in this year’s WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament, and he was able to pull off the fourth-place medal at 182 pounds.
“Austin didn’t have the best wrestling experience that he could have, but when all is said and done, fourth place at state is a huge accomplishment,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “I’m really proud of him.
“He’s such a great kid, a 4.0 student and fine example for our program. Our young kids can’t find a better person to look up to than Austin Bellile.”
Bellile (48-3) received a bye in the first round of the D2 event due to his sectional championship earned in Seymour the previous Saturday, then opened the state meet with Friday’s 10-5 win over Melrose-Mindoro/G.E.T. 35-8 Danny Dobbs.
That set up a semi-final match with #1 ranked grappler, Waupun’s 39-1 Brady Heunink, later on Friday. Heunink pulled out a 7-2 win and would go on to capture the state championship.
The loss pushed Bellile into the consolation bracket, and he responded with a 7-4 victory over Wittenberg’s 42-13 August Peplinski. The next step was the third-place match with Saint Croix Falls’ 45-1 Joe Rademacher, who was upset by Sparta’s 40-7 Kyle Burkhalter 11-8 in the semi-final round.
Rademacher prevailed 10-2 to drop Bellile to fourth place.
“I think Heunink was better than Austin, but I don’t think Rademacher was,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “We had to gamble. We were down 5-2 and had to go for a throw. We could have easily lost 5-4, but we had to gamble to beat him.
“That’s wrestling, Sometimes you don’t wrestle your best when you really want to. And that’s the state tournament. The best guy doesn’t always win. The best guy on that day wins it.”
Garrou did credit Bellile’s opponents for solid game plans.
“They scouted us pretty well,” he said. “They did everything they could to beat us. They backed up, they stalled. They had an answer for what we wanted to do.”
The tourney wrapped up another season for the Hatchets.
“We had a really great year, considering our inexperience,” Garrou said. “To go 19-3 and win conference was amazing.
“The tradition in Tomahawk is building back up. I’m really proud of our kids. They’re hungry. I think we’ll be a lot better next year.
“We lose Austin, but after that everything is replaceable, and the younger kids will be another year older. I’m really excited for next year.”
Tomahawk will lose Bellile, Kevin Zurfluh, Turner Wegener, Mitchell Schauer, Adam FauFau, Ryan Kuehn and Dylan Schiltz to graduation.