Six wrestlers heading to state
Area ranked wrestlers stay alive
By Greg Seubert
Five area state-ranked wrestlers have a chance to compete for their first state championship.
Weyauwega-Fremont’s Kaleb Mannel and Vanden Hoffman, New London’s Wyatt Magolski and De Evian Ross and Hortonville’s Wyatt Skebba will join New London’s Austin Schmallenberg at the WIAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament, which kicks off Thursday, Feb. 24, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Mannel, Magolski, Ross and Skebba won sectional championships Feb. 19 at 126, 106, 220 and 113 pounds, respectively. Mannel competed in a Division 3 sectional in Shawano, Magolski won his Division 2 championship in Oconto Falls and Skebba placed first at a Division 1 sectional Hortonville.
Meanwhile, Schmallenberg placed second at 132 pounds in Oconto Falls and Hoffman placed third at 220 pounds in Shawano.
Mannel, Hoffman, Magolski, Ross and Skebba are ranked in the top 10 of their respective weight classes and divisions in the latest wiwrestling.com state poll.
Weyauwega-Fremont sent nine wrestlers to the meet, but only Mannel and Hoffman are moving on.
Mannel improved to 42-1 on the season with a 2-1 decision over another Central Wisconsin Conference wrestler, Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Pierson Potrykus, in the championship match.
Hoffman placed with a 12-4 major decision over Shiocton’s Ilijah Sanchez.
“These two kids have been the best wrestlers for our team all season,” coach Tim Potratz said. “It is fitting that they were the ones to battle their way through a tough sectional and make it to the state tournament.”
Mannel had opened the tournament with technical falls over Bonduel’s Matthew Walenta and Crandon’s Ty Dennee.
Vanden Hoffman (36-8) opened the sectional by pinning Bonduel’s Vance Paholke before dropping a 3-1 decision to Stratford’s Cole Marten. He injured his wrist in that match, but came back with a pair of wins to qualify for his first state tournament.
Two other Weyauwega-Fremont wrestlers finished fourth, one spot away from state.
Muluken Rucks won his first-round match at 113 pounds on a bye, lost in the semifinals and picked up a pin over Gillett/Suring’s Riley Dernowski, but saw his season end after getting pinned by Coleman’s Ray LeMieux in the wrestleback round.
Cody Steinbach dropped his first-round match at 285, but came back to beat the sixth-ranked Division 3 wrestler in the state at 285 pounds, Edgar’s Waylon Wirkus, 6-5. That set up a match to qualify for state, but fell to Crandon’s Connor Lawrence.
“These two seniors did a great job competing for a spot at state and came so close,” Potratz said. “Muluken just needed more time on the mat to win those tough matches and Cody has been a fantastic leader for our team and the anchor at the end of our lineup, along with Hoffman, all season.”
Aiden Marquette (132), Carter McDaniel (145), Caden Meisenhelder (152), Tellyer Alix (160) and Cashten Hoffman (195) also wrestled for the Warhawks.
Magolski won his championship with an 8-3 win over Freedom’s Peter Tomazevic and Ross won his title with an 8-2 win over Tomahawk’s Marcus Matti.
Luxemburg-Casco’s Caleb Delebreau pinned Schmallenberg in 1:12 in the 132-pound championship match and Schmallenberg won his second-place wrestleback match over Marinette’s Isaiah Walker following an injury default.
Nick Duch (113) and Bryce Maves (152) also wrestled for the Bulldogs, while Owen Hansen (152) competed for Waupaca.
Skebba handed Pulaski’s Ethan Eggert a 7-0 loss in the 113-pound championship match.
Tristan Ellerman (106), Nolan Skebba (120) and Henry Niebauer (132) placed third for the Polar Bears, while Griffin Jens (126), Tage Wasmund (138), Grant Harris (145) and Aidan Roh (182) also wrestled.