For the second straight season, Somerset senior Tyler Hantsbarger is a WIAA Division 2 state wrestling medalist.
Hantsbarger made his way onto the podium at the 2020 WIAA State Wrestling Championships by placing fourth in the Division 2 126-pound bracket. Last year, Hantsbarger took sixth place at 126 pounds. Hantsbarger finished his senior season with a 40-8 record. He finished his career with a 120-39 record. The 120 wins ranks fourth all-time in Somerset school records.
Hantsbarger was the second place finisher at the Osceola sectional, which put him in the opening round of action at state on Thursday. Hantsbarger faced Port Washington freshman Kaiden Schumacher and this looked like a match between a senior and freshman. Hantsbarger has been using arm bars more in recent matches and they worked well against Schumacher, with Hantsbarger getting the pin in 3 minutes, 21 seconds.
In the quarterfinals, Hantsbarger drew Jack Severin of Kewaunee, who would go on to win the state championship. Severin effectively blocked Hantsbarger’s scoring efforts. The score was 2-0 entering the third period. Severin got an escape, then a late takedown as Hantsbarger pushed to try scoring, making the final 5-0.
That moved Hantsbarger to Friday’s wrestlebacks, where he faced Austin Schofield of Evansville/Albany, an opponent Hantsbarger beat last year. Hantsbarger went on the offensive, building up an 8-0 lead before pinning Schofield 12 seconds into the third period. That win assured Hantsbarger a place among the top six wrestlers in the bracket.
In the first action Saturday, Hantsbarger faced Chad Moegenburg of Wittenberg-Birnamwood, who had beaten Baldwin-Woodville’s Jordan Bonte on Friday. Somerset coach Ali Peterson said Hantsbarger wrestled an almost flawless tactical match, beating Moegenburg 4-1.
“In his first, third and fourth matches, he did as perfectly as he’s wrestled. They were pure, sharp. He was controlling the action and beating them up physically,” Peterson said.
In the match for third place, Chilton-Hilbert senior Joe Boehnlein was Hantsbarger’s opponent. For the first time all season, Hantsbarger gave up three back points when he stumbled trying to stand up and was caught in a cradle. The match was close to the finish, with Hantsbarger vainly trying for the tying takedown. Instead, he lost 8-6.
Peterson said he witnessed give everything he had in every match.
“It was one million percent effort the whole weekend,” Peterson said.
Hantsbarger became the first two-time state medalist for the Spartans since Max Praschak medaled in 2014 and 2015.