The Rhinelander High School wrestling team had a strong showing led by a dominate senior class on Saturday when they competed in the Wisconsin Rapids WIAA Division 1 regionals. The Hodags finished 3rd out of eight teams and all five ranked Hodag seniors won regional titles and finished with eight sectional qualifiers in all.
Marshfield won the team regional title with 232.5 points. Wisconsin Rapids was runner-up with 212.5 points while RHS was third with 187 points. The Hodag's finished ahead of D.C. Everest (136 points), Stevens Point (129.5 points), Merrill (118 points), Wausau West (106 points), and Wausau East (27 points).
Reuben Guzik (113), Tyler Olson (120), Jacob DeMeyer (145), Alec Kurtz (195), and Colton Krueger (220) all earned their spot at sectionals after winning individual titles in their select weight classes.
The remaining Rhinelander sectional qualifiers were Tim Fox (106), Walker Hartman (138), and Eric Grulke (160) who each finished in the top four to advance. There is also a chance that RHS will have one more sectional qualifier with Trevor Knapp (285) due to one of the other regional qualifiers may not be able to compete at sectionals.
Ranked second at 145, DeMeyer drew a first-round bye. In the semifinals DeMeyer pinned Casey Hoffman of Merrill and in the championship match he would knock off Nolan Hertel of Marshfield in a 4-0 decision. Hertel is currently ranked seventh in D1. DeMeyer is only one sectional away from making his fourth state appearance.
Fellow senior, Kurtz who is ranked third won all three of his matches via pin and needed less than three minutes to do so at 195. In the championship match, Kurtz only need 1:20 to pin Wisconsin Rapid's Layne Kalata to earn the title.
At 220, 10th ranked Krueger had back-to-back byes and would face Stevens Point freshman James Kluck and would only need 1:28 to secure the pin in the semifinals. And in the championship match, Krueger pinned senior Alex Brost of Marshfield at 3:15 to win the 220-regional title.
While seniors Guzik and Olson had very similar starts and finishes for their regional title wins. Neither senior started the day with a top seed, but both started their day with a pin and ended them with a pin.
Guzik at 113 started the day by pinning Stevens Point freshman Carson Kindler at 2:54. Then in the semifinals, Guzik earned a 7-2 decision over Wisconsin Rapid's junior Cale Benitz. And in the championship match, Guzik only needed 49 seconds to pin top-seeded freshman Gabe Pugh of Marshfield.
While Olson dominated his opening match at 120 and pinned Stevens Point freshman Kamyrn Klish in only 35 seconds. In the semis, Olson won a 5-0 decision against junior Cameron Schmeiser of Wausau West. And finishing strong, Olson only needed 33 seconds to pin top-seeded freshman Freddy Lehrke of D.C. Everest to earn the regional title.
At 106, freshman Tim Fox went 2-2 on the day to finish third and advance to next weekend's sectionals. Fox pinned Merrill freshman Trevor Schenzel in 1:39, but would fall sophomore Justin Groshek of Stevens Point in a major decision. Groshek went on to win the 106-regional title. Fox bounced ball to earn a 9-2 decision against Marshfield's Riley Wilcott before falling in a 5-2 decision to Damine Bennett of Wisconsin Rapids.
Hartman and Grulke each finished with pins to place fourth and take the final spot to move on to sectionals. Hartman at 138 pinned Brody Gehrke of Merrill at 1:18. And Grulke at 160 would take down Merrill's Wyatt Koehler at 3:18.
Senior Scott Fox chance at sectionals was cut short after the wrestleback rule. After being pinned in his opening match against Isaac Hagenbucher of D.C. Everest, Fox made his way back through the wrestleback and was in fifth place. But when Hagenbucher was defeated in the third-place match he automatically rewarded the fourth and final sectional spot because he defeated Fox earlier on the day. Senior Alex Monk also was unable to advanced after finished sixth at 152. And Hunter Greyhair also placed sixth at 182.
The Rhinelander sectional qualifiers will compete at the Wausau West WIAA Division 1 sectionals on Saturday. The top two finishers in each weight class will punch their ticket too the 2018 WIAA State Tournament that will be held February 22nd-24th at the Kohl Center in Madison.