Teams ready to hit mat for regionals

Wrestlers hoping to earn spot at sectionals
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By Morgan Rode sports@newmedia-wi.com


Leader photo by Morgan Rode Shawano’s Keith Tourtillott, top, wrestles Seymour’s Zach Gerhardt back on Jan. 6. Tourtillott is one of several Hawks wrestlers hoping to advance past regionals on Saturday.

After months of hard work at practice, tough matchups in duals and long afternoons at invitationals, wrestlers around the state are ready to prove their worth at regionals Saturday.

Five local teams will take part in four different regionals, trying to place near the top of their respective weight classes to earn a trip to sectionals and keep their dreams of a state appearance alive.

For teams across the state competing in Division 1 regionals, wrestlers must place within the top four in their respective weight class to advance to individual sectionals. In Division 2-3, the top two wrestlers in each weight class advance to sectionals. Individual sectionals will take place on Feb. 16.

The team that earns the highest team score at regionals will advance to team sectionals on Feb. 12.

Antigo Regional

The only local team competing at a Division 1 regional is Shawano, which is fresh off capturing its first-ever Bay Conference title.

Coming off of a dominant 70-10 dual win over Xavier to claim that title outright, coach Mike Homan believes every wrestler on the roster has a strong chance of placing in the top four and qualifying for sectionals, which means a team title could also be attainable if all goes right.

“My goal for our team is to wrestle good solid matches,” Homan said. “If we take care of our business, everything else will take care of itself. Our goal is always to place in the top three at any tournament, this tournament is no different.”

A historic conference season and impressive showings at several big invites still did not garner the team much attention from those around the state, meaning many Hawks might still be flying under the radar as the postseason gets going.

Only Ben Carroll (145) and Keith Tourtillott (220) were recognized by WiWrestling.com in the latest updated rankings.

Carroll was among the six Hawks that advanced to sectionals last year. Colten Herm, Gage Timm, Sam Tourtillott, Crede Timm and Nick Kohn also were sectional qualifiers. Sam Tourtillott was the team’s lone state qualifier.

Shawano will compete against Antigo, Ashwaubenon, Bay Port, De Pere, Green Bay Preble, Green Bay United and Pulaski at this year’s regional.

Coleman Regional

At the Division 3 level, three local teams will be in action, with Bonduel and Menominee Indian both taking part in the Coleman Regional.

A season ago, Coleman was able to finish first as a team in front of its home crowd, and the Cougars will again be the favorites this weekend.

Bonduel placed second last year as a team and sent nine wrestlers on to sectionals — Jacob Giese, Isaac Banker, Moises Lagunes, Jayson Toellner, Luis Lagunes and Max Sokolski are the six returning Bears that again are hoping to qualify for sectionals.

Banker and Giese were among the four Bonduel state qualifiers last year.

After a third-place finish as a team, along with having four wrestlers reach the first-place matches at the Central Wisconsin Conference Tournament, Bonduel coach Chris Rank believes his team is prepared for regionals.

“We feel our team is ready for tournament time,” Rank said. “The weather has made things a bit difficult but, we are able to overcome these situations. Our team just got done competing at our very tough conference tournament last week and most of our team wrestled at a high level. Wrestling in the conference meet certainly helps us prepare mentally and physically for the upcoming weeks and we are looking forward to this opportunity for our team to showcase themselves and create some special memories for them.”

Menominee Indian is coming off a ninth-place finish at the CWC tournament.

Returning sectional qualifiers from last year’s team include Morgun Fish and Darius Wayka. Leone Peters, Hunter Connahvichnah and Alfred Hernandez have also had solid seasons on the mat for the Eagles.

Menominee Indian coach Kirk Bahr believes the team could send several wrestlers on to sectionals, while also getting some of the team’s freshmen some valuable experience against some of the state’s best.

Weyauwega-Fremont Regional

The Division 3 Weyauwega-Fremont Regional is comprised of all teams from the CWC, including Wittenberg-Birnamwood, which is coming off a fifth-place finish at the conference tournament.

The Chargers should enter the regional with plenty of confidence after Will Urquhart won a conference title at the 145 weight class, while Pierson Potrykus (106) and Jeremy Landowski (170) each came in second in their respective weight classes.

Alex Lorbecke and Allen Uttecht each placed third at conference and are each hoping to move up one place this Saturday to advance to sectionals.

“I think we have done what we needed to do all year in order to prepare ourselves up to this point,” said Witt-Birn coach Troy Ostrowski as the team began preparing for regionals. “This week we will be working on more strategy and the mental aspect for this weekend.”

Marinette Regional

The Clintonville/Marion co-op will travel to Marinette Saturday at the Division 2 level.

A season ago, no Clintonville/Marion wrestlers advanced to sectionals, with the co-op’s top individual performance being a fourth-place finish.

This year, the co-op will go up against Freedom, Marinette, New London, Oconto Falls, Peshtigo and Seymour.