Third time’s the charm
Skebba wins state title
By Greg Seubert
Wrestling for a state championship was nothing new for Wyatt Skebba.
This time, however, the result was different.
The Hortonville senior wrapped up his wrestling career with the Polar Bears Feb. 25 by winning the Division 1 113-pound championship at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Meet.
Skebba was one of nine area wrestlers – six boys and three girls – that competed at the state meet, held Feb. 23-25 at the Kohl Center in Madison, and one of five that made it to the medal podium.
Other boys that placed included Weyauwega-Fremont’s Vanden Hoffman (third, Division 3, 220); and New London’s Wyatt Magolski (fourth, Division 2, 113).
Manawa’s Cash Botting (Division 3, 120) and Hortonville’s Nolan Skebba (Division 1, 120) and Henry Niebauer (Division 1, 138) also competed, but did not place.
After having a bye in the opening round, Hoffman picked up a 10-2 major decision over Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Deven Soerens.
He then dropped a 7-2 decision to eventual state champion Sloan Welch of Auburndale in the semifinals.
That loss sent Hoffman to the wrestleback round and he won his next two matches to place third. He beat Ithaca/Weston’s Marshell Self 5-1 and pinned Kewaunee’s Ezra Ducat in 3:30 in the third-place match.
Hoffman made it to state for a second straight year after not placing as a sophomore.
“Vanden put together a great season, posting a 48-3 won-loss record, winning seven tournaments and breaking the school record with 36 pins in a season,” coach Tim Potratz said. “The entire Weyauwega-Fremont wrestling program is proud of Vanden for all that he has accomplished this season. Vanden has worked very hard in our wrestling room, at out-of-season competitions and in the weight room to make himself an all-state athlete. We can’t wait to see him on the mat again next year.”
Botting, a freshman, took a 44-4 record to state and won his opening match by pinning Poynette’s Isaiah Gauer in 2:42.
Any chance of a shot at a state championship ended with a 9-7 loss to Cameron’s Kayne Johnson in the quarterfinal round. That loss sent Botting to the wrestleback round and his season ended with an 11-2 loss to Brookwood’s Dylan Powell.
Botting said it was big to start his state experience with a win over Gauer.
“It was real big because if I don’t move on, I don’t wrestle anymore,” he said. “I’m a freshman and I have three more years to get here. I know I have to put it all on the line to keep wrestling.”
“He stepped it up this year when he came into the varsity room,” coach Brad Johnson said. “He’s really coachable. He gets the game plan and goes out and executes. A lot of wins are racking up. We just have to keep rolling.”
Botting’s father, Dan, is Johnson’s assistant coach.
“Dad and Cash fight a little bit from time to time, so we have to play mediator for them,” Johnson said. “Cash has been coming to the room since he’s been in third grade. He’s the fourth freshman in school history to make it to the (state) tournament. If he was able to place, he’d be the third freshman in school history. I would say he’s right on par with (other successful Manawa wrestlers). There’s a lot of room to grow and get better and he could pass us all. I’m excited for him.”
Magolski made it to the third-place match for the second straight year, but dropped a 3-0 decision to Northwestern’s Tommy Brown.
Magolski came into the tournament with a 43-4 record, had a bye in the first round and beat Kewaskum’s James Racer 5-1 in the quarterfinal round.
Eventual state runner-up Ethan Aird of Darlington/Black Hawk then pinned Magolski in 2:41 in a semifinal round and Magolski came back in the wrestleback round with an 8-0 win over Luxemburg-Casco’s Michael Bostwick to advance to the third-place match with Brown.
“He’s a really good wrestler,” New London coach Nate Krueger said of Magolski, who placed third at 106 last year as a sophomore. “He’s got a kid (Friday) morning that’s already beaten him this year, but it’s a kid we think we can beat.”
Skebba made it to a state championship for the third straight year after placing second last year at 113 and 106 in 2021.
His 4-3 win over Menomonie’s Brayten Casey gave the Polar Bears their first state title since Eric Barnett won three straight championships from 2017-19.
Skebba headed to state with a 37-1 and opened the tournament by pinning Pulaski’s Broc Ambrosius in 3:01. He then beat another Fox Valley Association wrestler, Neenah’s Declan Koch, 4-0 before handing New Richmond’s Carter Sterba a 17-2 technical fall loss in the semifinals.
Skebba’s brother, Nolan, lost his opening match 9-4 to Holmen’s Turner Campbell and did not advance to the wrestleback round. He finished his season with a 30-8 record.
Niebauer lost both of his matches. He fell to Kenosha Indian Trail’s Sullivan Ramos in the opening round and dropped a 7-5 decision to South Milwaukee’s Connor O’Donnell in the wrestleback round.