The Rhinelander High School wrestling sent four wrestlers to the Division 1 2017 WIAA State Wrestling Tournament and would add with one podium finish to end the season throughout the three-day event held at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Junior Jacob DeMeyer was the lone Hodag to make the podium with a fourth-place finish in the 145-pound weight class. DeMeyer finished 3-2, and suffered his first two losses of the year. It also marked Rhinelander's first podium finish in three years, when Connor Johnson also placed fourth in 2014.
Starting Thursday afternoon, DeMeyer won a 7-2 decision over senior Owen Gorges (Hamilton) and would follow that up in the evening with a convincing 15-0 major decision over senior Subhan Umar (Racine Horlick).
Friday night in the semifinals, DeMeyer fell in a 10-1 decision to senior Jaden Van Maanen (La Crosse Central), who went on to become the state champion and finished undefeated at 49-0.
Falling into the consolation bracket, DeMeyer won his first match Saturday morning with a 3-0 decision over Austin Thomas (Waterford). And in his final match battling for third-place, DeMeyer fell in a close 4-3 decision to Joshua Otto (Arrowhead) and finished fourth. What proved to be the difference was Otto’s take down with 15 seconds left in the final period.
DeMeyer was joined at the tournament by teammates Alec Bess, Reuben Guzik, and Alec Kurtz, who finished their season Friday in the first rounds of the tournament.
Junior, Kurtz at 182 nearly joined DeMeyer and opened the tournament Thursday afternoon with 15-0 major decision win over sophomore Bennett Connolly (Slinger). Kurtz then fell Thursday night to senior Jackson Hemauer (DeForest) who eventual earned the state title and finished his season 49-1.
Then Friday morning, Kurtz earnd a 5-3 decision over senior Salvatore Schiro (Madison La Follette). But Kurtz was cut short of being put into the third-place match, after falling to Brock Danielski (Appleton North) for the second time this season. Both were close matches, and his final resulted in a 3-1 decision.
Senior Bess at 160-pounds started Thursday afternoon with a third-period pin over Weston Verhoff (Appleton North). But Bess was pinned by Hayden Krein (Spara) and was sent to the consolation bracket. In the first round of the wrestleback Bess fell 13-5 major decision to Jake Deates (Kenosha Bradford). Bess finished his senior season 37-5.
Guzik, a junior at 113-pounds was also eliminated in the first round of the wrestleback. Guzik started the tournament with a 7-4 loss to sophomore Cole Gille (Pulaski). And would fall in a close 9-7 decision to Dylan Herbrand (Sauk Prairie).
With DeMeyer's fourth place finish at the 2017 WIAA State Wrestling tournament, it was still a great accomplishment for Coach Paul Ellenbecker and the RHS wrestling team to send four Hodags to compete at state and the set the bar high for the program for years to come.
The Rhinelander High School wrestling team had an impressive showing at the WIAA Division 1 sectional meet held at River Falls, and four Hodags advanced to the 2017 WIAA State meet.
Jacob DeMeyer would chart his third straight sectional title with teammates Alec Kurtz, Alec Bess, and Reuben Guzik joining him as the top two wrestlers in each boat advanced to state.
At 145, junior DeMeyer showed his versatility on the day and started in the quarterfinals with pinning Joe Vang (Eau Claire North). Then in the semifinals, DeMeyer adjusted to Nolan Hertl (Marshfield) who was attempting to avoid giving up points, and won 2-0.
And in the championship match, he defeated Bergh Diebel (Wisconsin Rapids) by a 16-1 technical fall for another sectional title. DeMeyer was able to prove why he is 40-0 on the season.
Fellow junior Kurtz at 182 started the day strong, earning his 100th career win after pinning Jake LaVenture (New Richmond) in the first period at 1:21. Then he defeated Alex Brost (Marshfield) in a 6-1 decision in the semifinals to advance to the championship match.
And in the finals Kurtz earned a 7-1 decision over Jordan LaRue (Wausau West) for the section title at 182 and advanced to 36-5 on the season.
Senior Bess at 160 with his final shot at a trip to state on the line, had a convincing day and is now 36-3 in his final season. Bess downed Cody Cicha (Hudson) in an 11-3 decision in the quarterfinals.
Have a dominating for two periods, Bess pinned Riley Wyandt (Chippewa Falls) with only 33 seconds left in the match. And the championship match, Bess made short work of Nathan Fehlen (New Richmond) and pinned him at 29 seconds into the first period for the sectional title.
And at 113, junior Guzik started the day with a pin at 1:15 over Spencer Cernohouse (River Falls). And in what proved to be the most crucial match of the day, Guzik would rally for a 9-1 win over Carter Duerkop (Each Claire North) in the semifinals.
But in the championship match, Guzik would be pinned by top-ranked Brady Koontz (Stevens Point) who is 33-0 at 4:42. Duerkop won the wrestle back over freshman Brandon Dennis (New Richmond) for third. But because Guzik defeated Duerkop earlier he automatically earned the second-place position and final state qualifying spot.
Rhinelander nearly had five state qualifiers, but Colton Krueger at 195 fell to Sam Stroik (D.C. Everest) for the second time this season. In the semifinals, Krueger fell to Outhayun Smith (Eau Claire Memorial) in a close 13-10 decision.
But after a 9-2 win over Chance Kamrowski (River Falls), Krueger earned the wrestleback. That would set up the match against Stroik, where Krueger fell in the Merrill regionals. And like their first meeting, Stroik would earn the win, this time a 4-2 decision.
Junior Tyler Olson finished in fourth at 120 and closed the year with a 30-10 season record. Olson started with 9-0 decision over Jack Androsky (Superior). But he fell to Mitchell Anderson (Hudson) in the semifinals. And in the third-place match he fell in a close 7-5 decision to Michael Rebozo (River Falls).
Sophomore Eric Grulke at 138 dropped in the quarterfinals to junior Brandon McClure (Superior) and was pinned at 3:11.
As a team, the Hodags finished in second behind Hudson who earned the team sectional win over Marshfield and finished with 115 points. Rhinelander in second charted 98.5 points.
Despite the obstacles, the RHS wrestling team encountered this season with the pertussis outbreak during mid-season with nearly three weeks of no practices or competition and not winning the Great Northern Conference title; the Hodags responded and had an impressive showing and will be sending four wrestlers to the state meet.
The three-day 74th annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament will begin on Thursday at 3:00PM and will be held at the Kohl Center in Madison.
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.