Area wrestlers heading to state
W-F, Hortonville sending four to Madison
By Greg Seubert
Twelve area wrestlers – four from Weyauwega-Fremont and Hortonville, two from Amherst and one from Waupaca and New London – have advanced to the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament.
The 74th annual meet will be held Thursday to Saturday, Feb. 23-25, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Wrestlers in three divisions qualified for state Feb. 18 at various sectionals.
Weyauwega-Fremont is sending Cian Fischer (106 pounds), Easton Groskreutz (113), Justin Kempf (120) and Dylen Kicherer (220), while Amherst’s Bryce Holderman (195) and Max Villnow (220) are also moving on.
Holderman won the 195-pound championship by pinning Stratford’s Aiden Hoffman in 1:06 in the finals. He improved to 42-2 on the season, has a bye in the first round at state and will wrestle Random Lake’s Hunter Huiras (44-6) or Hillsboro’s Jacob Urban (8-4) in a quarterfinal match Feb. 24.
Fischer, Kempf and Villnow placed second and will wrestle a preliminary round match Feb. 23. Fischer (41-4) will wrestle Brillion’s Isaiah Ribble (28-15), Kempf (37-6) will wrestle Unity’s Adrian Bearhart (34-11) and Villnow (43-2) will take on Reedsville’s Cole Knier (28-12).
Groskreutz and Kicherer placed third and will also wrestle a preliminary round match Feb. 23. Groskreutz (31-9) is matched up against Mineral Point’s Caden Carey (27-13), while Kicherer (32-9) will face Poynette’s Wesley Sandstrom (27-8).
Fischer dropped a 4-3 decision to Stratford’s Manny Drexler in the finals, Groskreutz came back through the wrestleback round to beat Auburndale’s Dylan Baird 12-11 in the third-place match, Kempf placed second with a 5-0 win over Pittsville’s Matthew Grossman in the wrestleback round, Kicherer beat Dakota Venzke of Athens 1-0 in the third-place match and Villnow wrapped up second place with a 9-1 win over Kicherer.
Manawa’s four sectional qualifiers – Garrett Bristol (138), Zach Johnson (160), Ben Beyer (170) and Trent Zabel (285) – did not advance. Two other W-F wrestlers – Patrick Kepler (182) and Austin Bartel (195) – also did not advance.
Waupaca’s Derrick Rotta placed second at 195 after Wrightstown’s Matthew Van Eperen pinned him in 3:05 in the finals. He will take a 30-8 record to state and face St. Croix Central’s Ryan Larson (24-9) Feb. 23 in a preliminary round match.
New London’s Scott Cook won the 138-pound championship with a 19-6 major decision over Freedom’s Sam Peters in the finals. Cook is 31-2, has a bye in the first round at state and will wrestle Kewaskum’s Alex Deheck (29-9) or Monroe’s Cole Murray (33-11) Feb. 24 in the quarterfinals.
Two other Waupaca wrestlers ended their season in Seymour: Logan Bernhardt (138) and Mark Kilcoyne (220).
Eric Barnett, Jacob Barnett and Elliot Luker won sectional titles for Hortonville at 106, 126 and 160, respectively, while Nathan Lichtfuss placed second at 138.
Eric Barnett pinned Pulaski’s Owen Heinz in 3:37 in the finals, while Jacob Barnett pinned Pulaski’s Logan Bellow in 2:30 and Luker pinned Appleton North’s Weston Verhoff in 1:11. Lichtfuss dropped a 4-2 decision to Appleton North’s Ian Laatsch in the finals.
Eric Barnett is the only area wrestler heading to state with an unbeaten record. He will put his 41-0 record on the line Feb. 23 against Pewaukee’s Nate Carreros (32-18) in the preliminary round.
Other preliminary round matchups for the Polar Bears are Jacob Barnett (40-3) vs. Mukwonago’s Aaron Schulist (31-3), Lichtfuss (35-8) vs. Sauk Prairie’s Drew Fjoser (33-4) and Luker (38-2) vs. New Richmond’s Nathan Fehlen (28-12).