Hodags Send 6 Grapplers to Sectionals
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/10/2013
Rhinelander wrestlers (from left) Alex Reas, Richard Klaver, Adam Woebbeking, Connor Johnson, Bryce Bilogan and Dakota Stone qualified for WIAA sectionals by virtue of placing in the top four at a WIAA regional tournament Satruday at Merrill High School. Johnson displays the tournament bracket for the 195-pound weight class, where he won a regional championship. ( Photo By Bob Mainhardt )
The Rhinelander High School wrestling team had an extremely impressive outing on Saturday, sending six grapplers through to the sectional round and finishing in fifth place as a team with a score of 126.05.
Facing their toughest competition of the year, including the No. 1 ranked Wausau West Warriors and the No. 3 Merrill Bluejays, the Hodags placed six wrestlers in the top four and won an individual regional championship.
"We had a pretty good day," RHS wrestling coach Paul Ellenbecker explained. "Considering the competition we were wrestling we did a really nice job. The kids battled really hard and they came back after a tough week last week. To send six kids to sectionals out of our regional is pretty awesome."
Great Northern Conference champions Dakota Stone (113 pounds) and Richard Klaver (160 pounds) took third and second place respectively, although Klaver wrestled the day at 152 pounds. Klaver wrestled to the championship round before facing Travis Hettinga, the No. 1 ranked 152 pound wrestler in the state by WIWrestling.com. Klaver fought hard, falling by a score of 19-10, but clinched his ticket to sectionals.
"Richard Klaver wrestled Hettinga very tough," Ellenbecker said. "He took Hettinga down twice, which is an awesome feat considering the individual. Richard can definitely hang with him the next time they wrestle. Dakota just needs to keep believing in himself. You need to be in the top two at sectionals and he is definitely capable of moving on."
Hodag wrestler Connor Johnson was regional Champ at 195.|
Sophomore Alex Reas took fourth at 132 pounds. Competing in one of the toughest brackets at the Regional, Ellenbecker was satisfied with what he saw from his young grappler.
"Reas took fourth in a very tough weight class. His first round round match at sectionals is against Logan Schlough from Menomonie, who is 38-3 on the year. He is definitely a kid Alex can wrestle with. Alex is a kid who can beat anybody."
Adam Woebbeking took fourth place on the day at 170, and continued to showcase his ever improving skill set as a wrestler.
"Woebbeking had a nice day," Ellenbecker explained. "He is moving on to sectionals and he is still learning a lot. He is a guy who is starting to hang with tough kids, we just need to work on consistency."
Bryce Bilogan finished second in the 285 pound class and missed a first place finish by a mere point. Grappling with No. 8 ranked Wausau West Warrior Ryan Fay, Bilogan finished the match on the wrong end of a 3-2 decision. Despite the loss, Bilogan pinned No. 7 Tristan Wilson from Marshfield and showed he is a dangerous opponent capable of a state run.
"Bryce had a tough day today," Ellenbecker clarified. "Fay from West is a big kid who is hard to move and hard to wrestle with. We have to find a way to get offense against him in the future. He is a tough matchup for anyone. But Bryce pinned two other guys including the No. 7 ranked guy and a kid from Stevens Point (Justin Pawlek) who was ranked. It was a positive day moving forward. It is a nice setup for Sectionals for Bryce and I'm excited for him."
Finally, the most impressive finisher of the day was Connor Johnson. Entering the day the No. 2 ranked 195 pound wrestler in the state, Johnson showcased why he is worthy of the ranking as well as the No. 1 regional seed. Johnson made short work of his opponents on the way to the championship round, where he faced No. 4 Bluejay Alex Klug for the regional title. Johnson outlasted his opponent 11-5 to take home the coveted bracket and first place finish.
"Connor beating Klug was huge," Ellenbecker said. "He wrestled really well. He just goes out there and competes and does what he does best. He gets the lead and he knows how to finish."
The Hodags move forward to the Wisconsin state sectional, held on Feb. 16 in Marshfield.
"Everybody is on their own now," Ellenbecker wrapped up. "It is just about trying to compete and seeing where you are at and who is the better man."
1. Wausau West 257.0
2. Merrill 220.0
3. Stevens Point 159.0
4. D.C. Everest 140
5. Rhinelander 126.0
6. Marshfield 93.5
7. Wausau East 81.0
8. Antigo 15.0
1. Bee Lor Wausau West
2. Manning Denk DC Everest
3. Dakota Stone Rhinelander
1. Nathan Beyer Merrill
2. Alex Burk Wausau West
3. Mitch Veverka DC Everest
1. Nick Diny Wausau East
2. Kolten Pope Stevens Point
3. Hunter Kuehl Wausau West
7. Jon Fox Rhinelander
1. Colin Baine Wausau West
2. Garrett Schmelling Merrill
3. Fritz Schierl Stevens Point
1. Joe Umlauf Wausau West
2. Scott Arneson Merrill
3. Tyler Kiefer Stevens Point
4. Alex Reas Rhinelander
1. Brook Whitehead Wausau East
2. Austin Helmer D.C. Everest
3. Mitch Hertel Marshfield
6. Derrick Dumpprope Rhinelander
1. Joe Ziolkowski D.C. Everest
2. Ben Kostroski Wausau West
3. Eric Ball Merrill
5. Jordan Lundt Rhinelander
1. Travis Hettinga Wausau West
2. Richard Klaver Rhinelander
3. Tyler Engle Stevens Point
1. Mason Reinhardt Merrill
2. Jared Mataczynski Wausau West
3. Nathan Engle Stevens Point
5. Tyler Michel Rhinelander
1. David Pophal Merrill
2. Gody Grunenwald Wausau West
3. Brett Hasbrouck Marshfield
4. Adam Woebbeking Rhinelander
1. Ben Hintze Merrill
2. Mitch Mallek Stevens Point
3. Kane Seubert Marshfield
6. Dominic Littleton Rhinelander
1. Connor Johnson Rhinelander
2. Alex Klug Merrill
3. David Lodahl Wausau West
1. Tyler Schmidt Merrill
2. River Judd Wausau West
3. James Pawlek Stevens Point
1. Ryan Fay Wausau West
2. Bryce Bilogan Rhinelander
3. Justin Pawlek Stevens Point
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