Somerset seniors Tyler Hantsbarger and Sawyer Wilson will be returning to the WIAA wrestling sectional tournament level.
They both were sectional qualifiers in 2019 and they both advanced again during the 2020 WIAA Division 2 Somerset Wrestling Regional Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 15.
They advance to the sectional tournament, which will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at Osceola High School.
Hantsbarger is looking for a return trip to the WIAA State Championships while Wilson is seeking his first trip to the state meet. They both move to the sectional tournament as second place finishers in their regional weight classes.
With only two wrestlers able to advance in each weight class, there were some top quality wrestlers unable to advance through Saturday’s regional. That was the case at 126 pounds, where Hantsbarger and Osceola’s Drew Willeman met in the semifinals. Both are 100-win wrestlers in their career. Hantsbarger was able to get an early lead and held on for the 8-3 victory.
That moved Hantsbarger to the finals against Baldwin-Woodville’s Jordan Bonte. This was a repeat of the Middle Border Conference championship match, which Bonte won 4-2. On Saturday, there was no scoring in the first two periods. Bonte was able to escape early in the third period. Bonte added a takedown late in the match as Hantsbarger tried to get a go-ahead score.
Hantsbarger (34-5) has a challenging opening draw at the sectional meet, facing Abbotsford-Colby junior River Halopka (28-5).
Wilson advanced to Saturday’s finals by pinning Osceola’s Tyler Johnson in the semifinals. Amery’s Robert Besse was the opponent in the finals. The Spartans tried to wear down Besse, but it didn’t happen. The match was scoreless until the third period, when Besse got an escape to win 1-0.
Wilson (29-12) will face Ashland’s Justin Weiss (34-7) in the opening round of the sectional meet.
Somerset coach Ali Peterson said both Spartans will compete in highly talented brackets at the sectional meet.
“We’ll have to have A-plus effort and A-plus focus to get out,” Peterson said.
Peterson said there were other bright spots for the Spartans in Saturday’s meet. One was Landon Anez, who nearly advanced at 170 pounds. Anez won the third place match, then had St. Croix Central’s Braeden Bloom on his back in the second place match, but couldn’t hang on for the pin.
“It was great growth for him,” Peterson said of Anez’s regional performance.
Somerset freshman Grant Manske earned his first career varsity win in the fifth place match at 220 pounds, with a pin against Osceola.