Hudson junior Jacob Hansen did something no other wrestler in the entire state in any of the three divisions did last Saturday at the Division 1 sectional in Wausau -- he lost his first match of the day and still qualified for state.
Hansen and his brother, senior Peter Hansen, both qualified for the WIAA Division 1 Individual State Tournament this Saturday, Feb. 13 in Kaukauna along with River Falls’ sophomore Travis Moelter while St. Croix Central junior Devin Wasley qualified for the Division 2 state tournament at Adams-Friendship.
Jacob Hansen was pinned by Bay Ports’ Trevor Nys in the 170-pound quarterfinals in Wausau Saturday before winning four straight matches to finish second and earn a spot at state for the second straight year.
After his first round loss, Hansen said he listened to the advice of his coach and dad, Chris Hansen, and it paid off.
“My dad just told me to focus on the things I could control, which was winning the next four straight matches,” Jacob said. “I wrestled extremely well because I knew I messed up and now I was making up for that. I definitely took the long way to get to state. Who knows; maybe the loss helped me.”
Chris Hansen said he knew it was still mathematically possible for Jacob to qualify for state after his first round loss, but not necessarily practical.
“I have to be honest, pretty much no coach we talked to at the event even knew it was possible,” the coach and dad said. “Jacob was pretty upset after the crushing loss but once we laid out the path he could take and showed him what we expected the rest of the bracket could do, there was a glimmer of hope and it all worked out.”
Peter Hansen meanwhile earned his third trip to state with a second place finish at 160 pounds.
Jacob and Peter Hansen were two of eight Raider wrestlers to reach the sectional round. But with the state bracket cut down from 16 wrestlers to eight this season due to COVID-19, they were the only two to advance. Hank Gierke finished third at 182 pounds, AJ Henn was fourth at 113, and Ethan Winklmen placed fourth at 145.
“With state being cut in half, Hank Gierke, AJ Henn and Ethan Winkelman will go onto our wall in the wrestling room with an asterisk by their name denoting that they would have been a state qualifier except for the COVID pandemic,” Coach Hansen said.
River Falls will have one representative at the Division 1 State Tournament in Kaukauna Saturday after Moelter claimed the sectional title at 106 pounds.
Moelter earned a pin and a major decision in his first two matches before posting a 6-4 sudden victory over Cole Fitzpatrick of La Crosse Logan/Central in the championship match.
Wildcat junior Miles Longsdorf came up just short of a state berth under the new qualifying standards with a third place finish at 152 pounds and classmate Tyler Haydon placed fourth at 160 pounds while James Hampton placed fifth at 138 pounds and Vito Massa was fifth at 182.
New Richmond’s 152-pounder Tyler Dennis lost to Longsdorf in the third place match to finish fourth while Tiger teammate Adam Stener lost his opening round march at 285.
Marshfield won the sectional team title with a total score of 111 while Hudson was fifth with 90. River Falls finished ninth 68 and New Richmond was 21st with 10.
“Although we did not advance to team state, we were pleasantly surprised to be right in the thick of it throughout the day,” Hudson coach Hansen said. “On pretty much every metric I can think of, we had a tremendous day.”
SCC’s Wasley returns to state
St. Croix Central junior Devin Wasley, last year’s Division 2 state runner-up at 160 pounds, will wrestle for a 170 pound title this year after placing second at Saturday’s Division 2 sectional in Nielsville.
Wasley posted a fall and a technical fall Saturday before losing a close 6-5 decision to Jared Stricker of Ashland in the finals. But he bounced back to capture second place by pinning Tommy Friemoth of Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal in 3:13 in the second place match.
St. Croix Central’s Teague Holzer placed fifth at 113 pounds and Tadan Holzer was fifth at 145 while David Olson was sixth at 152 and Parker Shackleton placed sixth at 182.