HUDSON, Wis.-- Hudson will have four representatives at this weekend’s WIAA Division 1 Individual State Wrestling Tournament after juniors Peter Hansen and Hank Gierke won individual titles and senior Leo Draveling and sophomore Jacob Hansen finished second at the sectional tournament Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids.
Peter Hansen claimed the 160 pound crown and Gierke earned the title at 195 while Draveling was runner-up at 145 and Jacob Hansen took second at 170.
Head coach Chris Hansen pointed out the Raiders had tremendous improvement from last year’s sectional, moving from sixth to third in the team standings, as well as doubling their number of state qualifiers from a year ago.
“That is pretty amazing considering only three times in history has Hudson ever had more than four (state qualifiers)” Hansen noted. “Three of the four are underclassmen, also which is pretty exciting for our future.”
Peter Hansen earned his second straight trip to state after cruising through the sectional and beating Eau Claire Memorial’s Ethan Schermitzel with a 17-1 technical fall in the finals. He carries a No. 3 state ranking and 38-6 record into this weekend’s state tournament.
Gierke claimed his first sectional title after finishing third a year ago, clinching the 195 pound title with a 6-4 decision over Andrew Schutz of Wisconsin Rapids.
“I really felt Hank could get to state this season but I wasn't expecting it to be with both a regional and sectional championship,” Coach Hansen said. “He is wrestling his best right now.”
Draveling will be making his second trip to state this weekend after also qualifying as a sophomore. He had to beat Payton Vaughn of D.C. Everest for the second time in five days in the semifinals and lost to eventual champ Ryan Dolezal of Marshfield 6-5, in the 145 championship bout.
“Leo had a really interesting situation as his trip to Madison hinged on beating the same kid both Tuesday at team sectionals and then again Saturday at individual sectionals,” Hansen said. “I think that really ended up favoring us because once we won the first one, we went into Saturday both with confidence and with a game plan.”
Sophomore Jacob Hansen earned his trip to state by placing second in a 170 pound bracket that included 11 seniors, four juniors, and him.
“Sophomores simply don't go to state at 170 pounds,” Coach Hansen said. “In fact, no sophomore in Hudson history has ever even made it to state a weight class as high as 170.”
After coming from behind for a 13-8 decision in the quarterfinals he won his semifinal match 3-2 before losing to Gabe Carter of D.C. Everest, 6-4 in the finals.
Although both seniors Bryce Hunsberger and Jacob Fanning will get to represent Hudson one more time at the state team tournament March 6-7, Hanson saluted the effort of the pair at Saturday’s individual sectional.
“Bryce Hunsberger and Jacob Fanning were awesome wrestlers for us and both won a lot of matches, and not just that but both won big matches at big times for us,” he said. “They had great careers.”
The WIAA Individual State Tournament will be held this Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 27-29, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Rough day for River Falls
The young River Falls’ wrestling team learned what an unforgiving sport wrestling can be at Saturday’s individual sectional in Wisconsin Rapids.
Sophomore Vito Massa placed third and sophomores Miles Longsdorf and Tyler Haydon, and seniors Garett Borth and Gabe Glaubitz all finished fourth at Saturday’s individual sectional in Wisconsin Rapids as the Wildcats failed to get anyone through to this weekend’s state tournament in Madison.
“It sure was a rough day for our wrestling team,” head coach Kevin Black said. “This sport is very unforgiving and exposes us like no other sport. Truth be told, in the end, you get what you earn. This serves as a wake-up call for all of us that there is much more to be done if we expect to reach our goals. We haven't paid the price yet and that showed up on Saturday.”
Massa had a 1-0 lead in the 138 pound semifinals before losing 2-1 to eventual runner-up Demetrio Covarrubias of D.C. Everest. He came back to beat Brandon Dennis of New Richmond, 6-2, in the third place match.
Longsdorf lost to eventual champion Ryan Dolezal of Marshfield in the 145 pound quarterfinals and Borth lost to champion Gabe Carter of D.C. Everest in the 170 pound quarterfinals while Haydon dropped his quarterfinal match at 152 pounds and Glaubitz lost to eventual runner-up Girard Jones of Menomonie in the 285 pound quarterfinals.
Black said he felt bad for seniors Borth, Glaubitz and Cooper Andrea, who lost his first round match at 132 pounds.
“Our hearts hurt for our three seniors, who left it all on the mat, literally,” he said. “They were banged up and held together by tape, but never surrendered. I'm proud of them, especially Cooper and Garett, who have been wrestling for over 10 years. We really believed we could get them to the state tournament but their story has a different ending, and keeping things in perspective moving forward is going to be their strength.”
Black said the clock is also ticking on the Wildcat underclassmen.
“Every year our seniors are quick to say they can't believe how quickly their high school sports careers go,” he noted. “They blink and it's all over. We're still sending kids to the (state) tournament to watch but it will be a different tone, that's for sure. They have two additional weeks of off season, and they best make every second count.”
New Richmond doesn’t qualify any wrestlers for state
None of the seven New Richmond wrestlers who qualified for the WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament at Wisconsin Rapids on Saturday was able to advance to the WIAA state championships.
The Tigers had three fourth place finishers at the sectional tournament. That included seniors Brandon Dennis and Ryan Muller and freshman Bode Gabriel.
Dennis was hoping to reach state at 138 pounds after near misses each of the past two seasons. Dennis got tested right away. Dennis, who finished the season 35-10, needed overtime to defeat Stevens Point junior Joe Pecore 5-3 in the opening round. In the semifinals Dennis drew Marshfield junior Gabe Pugh, who was a state qualifier each of the past two seasons. Pugh won 5-2, then went on to win the sectional title.
“Pugh, from his feet, is defensively phenomenal,” said New Richmond coach Jeff Swanson. “Four of his points were from countering really good shots of ours.”
Dennis moved to the third place match where he faced Vito Massa of River Falls. Massa wrestles a style that is a difficult matchup for Dennis. Dennis was able to get the opening takedown, but Massa countered with a four-point reversal. Massa won the match 6-2.
Gabriel, who finished his season at 32-12, opened the sectional against D.C. Everest sophomore Easton Block, an opponent Gabriel pinned at the Bi-State Classic. Gabriel was a bit nervous, but earned a 5-2 win. In the semifinals, Gabriel drew Marshfield sophomore Keagen Cliver, who would win the sectional title. Cliver controlled the action for a 7-2 win. In the third place match, Gabriel lost in overtime to Wisconsin Rapids junior Lukas Erickson, 6-4.
“The sectional tournament was a really good learning experience. He learned what the next level really is,” Swanson said.
Muller pulled off one of the swiftest wins in the first round of the sectional. He quickly took down Merrill senior Walker Bathke, then locked him into a cradle hold. Muller was awarded the pin in 31 seconds.
“It was the fastest he’s ever moved,” Swanson said. “Muller just took it to him.”
Muller ran up against Wisconsin Rapids senior Andrew Schutz in the semifinals and was pinned 52 seconds into the third period. Muller, who ends the season at 19-20, lost a 10-1 decision to Tyler Knapp of Rhinelander in the third place bout.
Senior Cayden Henning and juniors Tyler Dennis and Sam LaPean and sophomore Luke Fox were all defeated in the first round of sectionals. Swanson said that with four wrestlers returning next season with experience from this sectional tournament, the team should be ready to start in a good place in the 2020-21 season.