New tournament format helps Dragons get wrestlers to sectionals
The new tournament format for prep wrestling in Wisconsin was a hit with Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta head coach Dan Schulte. He feels it was a big help to providing more sectional meet qualifiers from regionals for the OFA program in several seasons.
"I like it compared to the old format," Schulte said. "In the old format, depending on the Regional could be very difficult to get out of. The last few years we have been with traditional powers in Ellsworth, GET/M-M, and West Salem/Bangor. When only two individuals make it out when you already have three teams that are solid up and down the lineup makes it difficult to make it to Sectionals. With the new format, I feel it allows for the top guys from the Sectional to make Sectionals. I look at Cayden Guntner last year, placed third in our Regional, didn't advance, but a wrestler he pinned twice last year, also three times this year made it to Sectionals last year."
The Dragons will have three qualifiers who have moved on the new "super regionals" in Divisions 2 and 3 which took place last weekend in Neillsville. The WIAA cut from four regional meets per sectional to two with four qualifiers from each instead of two and the top two teams instead of one for the team sectionals, which took place last Tuesday, Feb. 14 (which was won by the Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal Regional champion No. 6 ranked Baldwin-Woodville).
These qualifiers will compete this in this Saturday's Division 2 Amery Individual Sectional. Guntner (28-11) will compete at 113 pounds where he placed fourth in the regional. He will take on Maple Northwestern's Tommy Brown in the first round. Brown is 44-2 overall and ranked No. 6 in the state in this weight class. The winner or even the defeated in this match will face either Amery's Brendan Burke (36-10) ranked No. 8 or No. 9 ranked Abbotsford/Colby's Tristan Smazal (35-16). No. 10 ranked Deglan O'Connell of Eau Claire Regis/Altoona and No. 12 ranked Drake Gartman of Baldwin-Woodville (25-16) is also in this bracket.
At 120, OFA's Bryce Armstrong-Baglien (28-15) takes on Amery's Lane Anderson (38-10), ranked No. 4 in the state. The winner and or loser of this first-round match will take on St. Croix Falls' Kody Fleck (33-11) or No. 12 ranked J.D. Minder-Broeckaert of Ellsworth (33-9). Other ranked wrestlers in the weight class are Medford's Thad Sigmund (41-7) at No. 7 and No. 2 ranked and regional champ Colton Hush of Baldwin-Woodville (39-2).
And the Dragons' Hunter Breaker (32-10) has as his first round opponent at 160, Osceola's Addison Uddin (38-13). The other part of the bracket has Medford's Logan Kawa (44-9), ranked No. 6 in the state and Abby/Colby's Jacob Hoppe (30-16). Also in this bracket is regional champ Owen Wasley of St. Crioix Central ranked No. 2 in the state at 35-1.
The top three in each weight class qualify for next weekend's state meet in Madison. Also joining these qualifiers will be two girls' wrestlers for the first time in the sectional meet: Alaiyah Zamora and Breanna Wier. Two female wrestlers from the Mondovi/Eleva-Strum team, Abriella Reed and Olivia Torres will also compete in the individual sectional meet, which begins at 10 a.m.
M-E-S boys wrestlers who qualified for the individual sectional. Cody Wagner (35-2) took second at regionals at 152 and is ranked No. 6 in the state. He will take on Medford's Cory Lindahl (26-13) in the first round. Also in the bracket are Alex Hoff of St. Croix Falls (19-11) and Nolan Thomley of Prescott (26-8). Two other ranked wrestlers in this bracket are No. 11 ranked Tommy Tomesh of Eau Claire Regis/Altoona's (41-12) and St. Croix Central's Noah Nusbaum (44-7). M-E-S's other sectional qualifier is Tristen Tegan (19-13). He is taking is No. 2 ranked Ian Smith of Maple Northwestern (40-1). The other wrestlers in the bracket is Andrew Thompson of B-W (21-14) and Joe Petherbridge of St. Croix Falls (24-22). Other ranked wrestlers in the weight classes No. 3 ranked Grant Cook (42-7) of Amery and No. 5 ranked and undefeated Caden Weber of Regis/Altoona (40-0).