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Warhawks fall short in semifinal

Weyauwega-Fremont’s Connor Johnson works on Coleman’s Cameron Kimmell March 2 in a 150-pound match at the WIAA State Team Wrestling Championships. Johnson beat Kimmell 9-8, but Coleman went on to defeat the Warhawks 36-30 in a semifinal match. Perry Thomas Photo

W-F wrestlers return to Madison

By Greg Seubert

Six points.

That’s all that kept the Weyauwega-Fremont wrestling team from competing for the program’s first team state championship.

The Warhawks dropped a 36-30 decision to Coleman March 2 in a Division 3 semifinal at the WIAA State Team Wrestling Championships at the University of Wisconsin Field House in Madison.

The lead changed hands five times before Coleman sealed the win with three straight wins.

Vanden Hoffman gave the Warhawks their first lead by pinning Coleman’s Kain Otto in 5:00 in the second match to give Weyauwega-Fremont a 6-4 advantage. Coleman’s Devin Otto had opened the meet with an 11-0 major decision over Wyatt Wenzel at 215.

Josue Azuara’s pin of Pearson Owens in 1:20 at 113 gave the Warhawks a 12-10 lead after the Cougars took a 10-6 lead with Parker Owens’ pin of Jaydon LeNoble in 5:12 at 106.

The Cougars followed Azuara’s pin with a pair of wins at 120 and 126. Wyatt Van Harden defeated Rylan Konen 4-2 in overtime and Conner Markiewicz’ 5-3 win over Jake Buss gave Coleman a 16-12 lead.

The Warhawks answered with a pair of wins. Carter Birdyshaw defeated Chase Gruber 11-6 at 132 and Ezra Balthazor ended the fastest match of the meet, as he needed only 24 seconds to pin Wyatt Bieber at 138.

Weyauwega-Fremont wrestler Josue Azuara uses a crossface cradle move to pin Coleman’s Pearson Owens of Coleman in a 113-pound match. Perry Thomas Photo

The teams exchanged wins at 144 and 150, as Coleman’s Brady Gross picked up a 16-5 major decision over Aiden Marquette and Connor Johnson beat Coleman’s Cameron Kimmell 9-8 to give the Warhawks a 24-20 lead with four matches remaining.

Cole Berth gave the Cougars the lead for good by pinning Alex Loehrke in 3:31 at 157 and Isaiah Nowak’s pin of Caleb Abbey at the end of the first period at 165 gave Coleman a 32-24 lead with two matches to go.

Micah Kuchta sealed the win for the Cougars with a 14-2 major decision over Carter McDaniel at 175 before the Warhawks’ Tellyer Alix pinned Adam Fonder in 1:09 at 190 to wrap up the meet.

Coleman ended up falling to Fennimore 46-16 in the Division 3 championship match.

Kaukauna and Luxemburg-Casco won team championships in divisions 1 and 2, respectively.

“This was a fantastic season for the Weyauwega-Fremont wrestling team,” coach Tim Potratz said.

“Our team finished the season 19-2 in duals, we won five tournaments and finished near the top of all the others. Our kids wrestled hard and competed with passion and toughness. There are 114 teams in Division 3 and only four make it to state. We wrestled tough in the dual, but came up short of our goal.”

The Warhawks also sent eight wrestlers to the state individual meet and returned home with a second-place finisher in Hoffman and a fourth-place finisher in McDaniel.

“Sending eight kids to state was a great accomplishment and our trip to state as a team was even better,” Potratz said. “I’m so proud of the kids; coaches Trevor Potratz and Tyler Wetzel; and volunteers like Cody Steinbach, Carter Greening, Kaleb Mannel and Logan Kicherer.

“Our parents are the best supporters of our program and their kids that any team could ask for,” he added. “I also want to thank our two senior managers, Lily Baehnman and Grace Radtke, who have done all the dirty work with no fanfare for the last four years. What a great season.”

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