The Rhinelander High School wrestling team under head Coach Nathan Piasecki battle through a tough WIAA Division 1 regional against Wisconsin Valley Conference opponents in Merrill on Saturday. The Hodags finished fifth out of eight teams and were able to advance eight of 11 of their wrestlers on to sectionals.
Marshfield won the regional with 237 points followed by Wisconsin Rapids and D.C. Everest. The Hodags in 5th finished with 118 points to edge Wausau West by 0.5 points. Merrill (7th) and Wausau East (8th) rounded out the eight-team regional.
Rhinelander's best finish of the day was from sophomore Walker Hartman who earned runner-up at 152 pounds. Teammates Tim Fox (106), Eric Grulke (160), Gavin Ostermann (170), Ben Sinclair (182), and Trevor Knapp (220) all also moved on for RHS, placing third in their weight classes. And Hugh Wiese and Connor Lund finished in the final qualifying position of fourth place.
The Hodags started the first round strong going 8-2 as a team putting nine wrestlers in the semifinals but would go 1-10 in round two. Rhinelander bounced back in the placement rounds, going 5-5.
One of the strong matches for Rhineander proved to be Hartman’s upset over seventh-ranked Gabe Carter of D.C. Everest. In the semi's Hartman was able to take Carter down and pin him with only 11 seconds left in final period. Eventually Hartman fell to second-ranked Nolan Hertel of Marshfield in the finals to finish runner-up.
Although Fox, Grulke, Ostermannm, Sinclair, and Knapp all won their third-place matches, they eventually were rewarded second by ruling after the wrestlers they lost to were defeated in the championship.
At 195 Lund earned a 4-3 decision in the first around over Fred Van Tiem of Stevens Point after an escape in the third. Lund would then face back-to-back ranked opponents, falling to top-ranked Sam Mitchell of Marshfield and 11th ranked Orion Boe of D.C. Everest. Lund was awarded fourth after Van Tiem made it to the wrestleback to finish fifth.
While Wiese at 113 was awarded fourth in a similar situation as teammate Lundt. Wiese pinned senior Allister Greenings (Wisconsin Rapids) at 4:57 in the first round. Wiese was rewarded fourth after Greening made the wrestleback and finished fifth.
Alex Olson won his first match of the day but fell in his final three matches and finished one position shy of advancing. Will Swanson and Tyler Olson lost both of their regional matches.
The eight Hodag wrestlers will compete in sectionals in Menomonie which will combine the Chippewa Fall and Merrill regionals. The top two in each weight class in sectionals will advance to the WIAA State Tournament February 21st-23rd at the Kohl Center in Madison.
The Rhinelander High School wrestling team had eight wrestlers earn top-three finishes on Saturday and finished fourth in Great Northern Conference meet Saturday held in Medford. Tim Fox won the conference title at 106 pounds for the Hodags and number of grapplers also earned all-conference finishes.
Along with Fox, teammates Walker Hartman, Ben Sinclair, Connor Lund, and Alex Lund all earned runner-up finishes in their weight classes to earn all-conference honors. While Eric Grulke, Gavin Ostermann, and Trevor Knapp also made all-conference by earning third in their weight classes.
Fox went 3-0 on the day which included a pair of pins in his bracket of four wrestlers. First Fox pinned Seth Beaber of Antigo in 2:59 before winning an 11-4 decision over Blake Felser of Tomahaw. And Fox closed the day with a pinning Sawyer Duir of Lakeland at 1:11.
Hartman had a tough bracket at 152 pounds and started strong winning a technical fall and major decision before running in to top-seed Gage Coppock of Mosinee in the finals. Coppock pinned Hartman at 1:36 for the GNC title.
At 182, Sinclair also had a solid day for Rhinelander and went 4-1 overall. His lone loss of the day came to against Collinn Eldridge of Antigo in the third round, who went on to earn the conference title. Sinclair beat Hayden Johnson of Medford in a 4-2 decision and also defeated Kade Wenninger of Tomahawk in overtime to finish second.
Ostermann finished the day 4-1 at 170. Ostermann rallied back after being down 7-0 to earn a 15-13 win in overtime against Clay Bowe of Medford. But was pinned by Xavier Burgess of Lakeland in 45 seconds in their final round match. Burgess and Bowe also went 4-1 and would beat out Ostermann in a tiebreaker.
At 160, Grule went started the day 3-1 before falling to Cody Church of Medford in a medical forfeit in the final round. Knapp went 1-2 on the day and finished third at 220 after pinning Ian Valliere of Lakeland in the final round.
Alex Olson pinned his first two opponents at 285 before falling to Tony Matti of Tomahawk in the final round match. And Lund went 2-2 and would pin Brady VandeWeerd of Antigo in the first period which led to a tiebreaker to finish second at 195.
Hugh Wiese placed fourth at 113 for Rhinelander. While Will Swanson at 126 pounds and Tyler Olson at 145 each finished fifth overall. RHS did not have have entries at 120, 132, or 138 brackets.
Medford won the GNC title and beat out Antigo by 20 points. Tomahawk fell to finishing third which was 35 points behind the Raiders. The Hodags will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to Merrill for the WIAA Division 1 regional.
Disclaimer: All information deemed reliable but not guaranteed and should be independently verified. By Request LLC shall not be responsible for any typographical errors, misinformation, misprints and shall be held totally harmless.