Individuals Compete for State Wrestling Titles Saturday

Stevens Point – The 78th State Individual Wrestling Tournament is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 13. The Division 1 tournament will be held at Kaukauna High School. The Division 2 tournament will be conducted at Adams-Friendship High School with the Division 3 tournament held at Wausau East High School.

TICKET INFORMATION:  Ticket prices per tournament session are $11 and are only available to member schools with competitors qualifying for the State Tournaments. There is a two-ticket limit per participant. No general admission will be available at the venues during the tournament.

THE SCHEDULE:  Below is the schedule of competition for the individual tournament. All weight classes will be wrestled in consecutive order starting with the 106-pound weight class and proceeding through the classes on a “next available mat” basis within the mat assignments. Each round will begin approximately 15 minutes following previous round.

Saturday, Feb. 13

Division 1 – Kaukauna H.S. (Four mats)
10 a.m. – Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Consolation Semifinals, Wrestleback matches
5 p.m. – Championships, Third-Place & Fifth-Place matches

Division 2 – Adams-Friendship H.S. (Four mats)
10 a.m. – Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Consolation Semifinals, Wrestleback matches
5 p.m. – Championships, Third-Place & Fifth-Place matches

Division 3 – Wausau East H.S. (Three mats)
9 a.m. – Quarterfinals, Semifinals, Consolation Semifinals, Wrestleback matches
5 p.m. – Championships, Third-Place & Fifth-Place matches

FINALS ON FS WISCONSIN:  The championship final matches of all three divisions will be aired live on FS Wisconsin. Please check local cable listings for the FS Wisconsin channel in your area. The live programming aired on FS Wisconsin will also be streamed on FoxSportsGo.com with cable provider authentication.

PRE-FINALS; THIRD &FIFTH-PLACE MATCHES STREAMED LIVE:  All mats of the pre-finals matches and the third- and fifth-place matches will be streamed live on WIAA.TV with a subscription to the NFHS Network. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $10.99 per month, log-on to www.wiaa.tv or www.nfhsnetwork.com and click on the subscription button at the top right of the page.

2021 TOURNAMENT BY THE NUMBERS: There will be champions crowned in 14 weight classes in three divisions. Wrestlers who finished first or second in each weight class at last weekend’s four sectionals in each division qualified for the State Tournament. Therefore, there are eight qualifiers per weight in each division and 112 total qualifiers for each division. There are 172 programs represented at this year’s individual championships, including 60 from Division 1, and 60 in Division 2 and 52 in Division 3.

MORE NUMBERS:  Kaukauna has qualified the most wrestlers in the Division 1 field with eight. Stoughton is next on the list with six. Amery and Prairie du Chien have the distinction of qualifying the most individuals in Division 2 with seven.  In Division 3, Kenosha Christian Life, Mineral Point and Random Lake claim the most qualifiers with six. There are 23 former champions in the tournament field this year.

TOTAL INDIVIDUAL TITLES BY SCHOOL:  Stoughton has produced the most individual championships with 53. Mineral Point is next with 51, followed by Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln with 44 and then Luxemburg-Casco with 42. Others with significant totals are Milwaukee South with 39 and Coleman with 38.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 1:  The Division 1 field features six former champions on a quest for another crown. Two of the champions are in pursuit of their third State titles, and two of the weight classes have a pair of former champions on a collision course to the crown. Junior Nicolar Rivera of Stoughton attempts to win his third straight championship. He won at 106 in 2019 and at 120 last season. He moves up two weights to 132 with a 9-0 record entering the State Tournament.  He has yet to lose a match in his prep career with a 118-0 mark. He’ll need to contend with another State champion in senior Jager Eisch of Kaukauna. He won the championship at 126 a year ago and moves up a weight possessing a 14-0 record this season. Senior Hayden Halter of Waterford seeks to return to the top spot on the awards podium this season at 126 as he did in winning the titles at 106 in 2018 and 120 in 2019. He fell to third competing at 126 last season. He enters the opening round of competition this week with an 11-0 mark. One of the challengers standing in the way of Halter’s third title is sophomore Greyson Clark of Kaukauna. He was the 106 champion last year who has moved up three weight classes. He has yet to lose a match this season as well with a 15-0 record. Junior Mitchell Mesenbrink of Arrowhead seeks his second consecutive title after winning the championship at 138 in 2020. That came on the heels of a third-place finish at 120 in 2019. He is 14-0 this season moving up to the 152-pound weight class. Senior Brooks Empey of Stoughton will attempt to win his second straight crown at 220. Prior to winning the title a season ago, he placed runner-up at 195 in 2019 and was sixth at 182 in 2018. Empey is 10-0 this season with only one loss over the last two seasons.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 2:  The Division 2 field has six former champions, including Senior Matty Bianchi of Two Rivers, who is attempting to become the 19th wrestler to win four State individual championships. Two others in the division are seeking their third titles.  Bianchi’s legacy began in 2018 with a title at 113, followed by the 132 title in 2019. Last year, he claimed the crown at 138, and he moves up to 145 this season. He is 9-0 heading into first-round action at State. According to available records, Bianchi has compiled a 147-10 record during his career. Senior Blaine Brenner of Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee embarks on his quest to win three straight State titles. He won at 106 in 2019 and added the 120 title last year. This season, Brenner moves up two weights to 132 with a 15-0 record to this point in the season, which gives him a stellar 107-2 mark in the past three seasons. Junior Clayton Whiting of Oconto Falls is also in position to win a third straight championship. He moves up to 182 this season after winning  titles at 152 in 2019 and 170 last year. His record of 14-0 this season improves his record to 110-4 during his career. Sophomore Rhett Koenig of Prairie du Chien moves up a weight to 113 after earning the championship at 106 last season. He is 16-1 this season heading into State Tournament competition. Junior Caleb Meunier of Winneconne won the 113 title last year after finishing runner-up at 106 as a freshman in 2019. He moves up to 126 this season with a 15-2 record. Sophomore Braeden Scoles of Kewaskum made quite an impression his freshman season last year by winning the 145-pound title. He’s back in the State Tournament seeking his second title with a 13-0 mark at 160.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 3:  The Division 3 field has 11 former champions looking to add another gold medal after winning titles last season, including a trio of wrestlers seeking their third title. Junior Tanner Gerber of Cameron moves up two weight classes to 126 after winning the 113 title last season and the 106 championship in 2019. He has a 13-0 record heading into competition this week, which gives him a 110-3 career record in his first three years. Junior Kole Marko of St. Croix Falls is also pursuing his third championship. He won the crown at 145 last season and the 138 crown the year before that. Marko moves up to contend for the 152 title this year with a 15-0 record heading into the tourney, which gives him a 98-4 record during his career. Senior Trett Joles of Boyceville moves up a weight to 195 after ruling the 182 weight class the past few seasons, winning titles in 2019 and 2020 after placing third at the weight in 2018. He advances to State with a 16-0 record this season and a 158-3 mark during his career. Sophomore Brayden Sonnentag of Cadott jumps to the 120-pound class this season after winning the title at 106 in 2020. He begins competition at State with a 16-0 tally this season. Two of last year’s champions have moved into the 138-pound weight class. Junior Cash Stewart of Poynette moves up three weight classes from 120 after winning gold last year and finishing fourth at 113 in 2019. He has won all seven of his matches so far this season at 138. Junior Gavin Drexler of Stratford moves up two weights to join Steward after capturing the title at 126 last year. Drexler is 18-0 this year. Junior Karson Casper  of Coleman moves on from 138 after winning the championship at the weight a year ago. At 145 this season, Casper has posted a 14-0 record. Senior Jack Severin of Kewaunee won the Division 2 championship at 126 last year after placing fourth at 126 in Division 3 in 2019 and fifth at 120 in 2018. He is back in Division 3 this season, qualifying at 132 with a 19-0 mark. Senior Aidan Vandenbush of Random Lake is aiming his attention on a title at 160 after winning the championship at 152 last season and finishing third in 2019. He hasn’t lost this year in 18 matches, which gives him a 115-4 record over the last three years. Senior Nolan Springer of Mineral Point moves up a weight to 170 after conquering the 160-pound weight class last season and finishing fifth at 152 in 2019. He has compiled an 11-0 record this year. Senior Tanner Gaffey of St. Croix Falls attempts to defend his title at 285. He went undefeated last season to earn the crown. He is 15-0 this season, giving him a 107-3 record the last three seasons. It may be interesting to note that all but two of the 22 former champions competing this week enter the tournament undefeated.

UNBLEMISHED MARKS:  In any given conventional season, there have been a fairly consistent number of undefeated wrestlers qualifying for the State Individual Wrestling Tournament. The average number of undefeated wrestlers qualifying for State during the past decade is a shade above 21, and each have been recognized in the preview over the years. This year, there are significantly more because of the limited number of matches with restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. It’s suffice to indicate that there are 101 undefeated qualifiers and another 102 that have just one loss this season.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?: State Tournament brackets and tournament schedule are available in the restricted media area of the WIAA website or by accessing the TrackWrestling.com site.

ORDER STATE MEET APPAREL ONLINE:  WIAA licensed apparel is available online for the 2021 State Individual Wrestling Tournament. Please access the store at: https://wiaaindividualwrestling21.itemorder.com. Online purchases will be shipped after the online store closes on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

NEED LIVE RESULTS?: Access results through the WIAA website by navigating to the wrestling homepage and selecting the Tournament Information option in the right column or by accessing the Trackwrestling.com website.

FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Individual Wrestling Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaawr. Also follow daily recaps on Facebook.

 

 

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David Keech
Author: David Keech

David Keech is a math teacher in Wisconsin Rapids and public address announcer for Abbotsord High School. He officiates basketball, baseball, and softball in central Wisconsin. He has reported on amateur sports since 2011, known as 'KeechDaVoice.' David can be reached at [email protected]