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RHS: Wrestling
Rhinelander Wrestling: Sectional Preview
By Student Writer - Connor Kuczmarski | Published: 02/15/2013


     With one large hurdle out of the way, the Rhinelander High School wrestling team is looking into the eyes of their next adversary. Following an extremely impressive outing that saw them advance six wrestlers through an exceptionally tough regional tournament, the Hodags are now focused on their sectional in Marshfield this Saturday.

"It is going to be tough," assistant RHS wrestling coach Tyler Ruppert said. "But our regional was really tough and we saw what we could do there. I think we can do very well at sectionals as well."

The Hodags enter a field littered with intimidating programs and state ranked squads. Several of the teams represented include No. 1 state ranked team Wausau West, who sent a wrestler in every possible weight class. Other standouts include previously ranked Stevens Point and last years 8th place team state finisher Badger.

Fortunately the Hodags have never shied away from competition. The Hodags qualified Dakota Stone (103), Alex Reas (138), Richard Klaver (152), Adam Woebbeking (170), Connor Johnson (195), and Bryce Bilogan (285) last Saturday. Unfortunately Reas suffered a concussion and will be unable to compete on Saturday.




     Luckily the Hodags found out that Jordan Lundt (145), who took fifth place at last weeks regional tournament, will be invited to the sectional after Carsten Lovstad of Marshfield sustained a concussion in the wrestle back match. Lovstad defeated Lundt 11-3 to make it to sectionals, but because of the injury was unable to compete in the upcoming tournament.

Connor Johnson entered the tournament with the No. 2 state ranking by Wisconsin Wrestling Online as well as the No. 1 seed. Johnson has favorable matchups throughout the day, with the exception of one grappler. Gazing across the bracket at Johnson is Eric Peissig, the No. 1 ranked 195 pound wrestler who comes in at 42-0 on the season.

"It is a huge advantage going with a No. 1 seed," Ruppert explained. "You have better seed placement on that side of the bracket and it just of falls into place. You have better matchups to begin with and hopefully Connor can focus in. He is so consistent and now he just needs to step up. We just need to keep refining him now."

Klaver enters the tournament with a No. 2 seed and is set to take on River Falls Erik Dartsch in the opening round. Bryce Bilogan comes in with a No. 2 seed as well and an impressive record of 40-6. Bilogan wrestles Eau Claire Memorial's Andrew Whelan to start the day. Stone and Woebbeking both come in to the day with a No. 3 seed, while Lundt rounds it out at No. 4.

"We want to see what the young guys can do," Ruppert said. "For some of them it is their first time there. For our more experienced guys we hope we can get a couple guys through. Maybe three or four, that would be awesome."

When prompted about the wide array of Hodag qualifiers, spanning from the smallest weight class to the largest, Ruppert explains this is a testament to the positive transformation currently in the program.

"It definitely shows our strength. In our upper weights (Johnson, Bilogan) we are building up with some quality juniors. They were sophomore qualifiers last year and now hopefully they make it to state. Richard (Klaver) passed 100 high school wins this season and that was huge for him. Jordan (Lundt) is younger at this sectional but he started wrestling young as well. Dakota was at 113 pounds all year and then he dropped down for regionals and will continue to be good competition."

When speaking with Johnson himself, he is excited about the possibilities on the day.

"Making it to the state tournament for any of us is a huge opportunity," Johnson said. "We want to go out there and be calm and perform to give us the best opportunity to succeed. If any of our guys get through that would be huge for our team and our program. I am excited to see how it turns out."

The Hodags travel to the Wisconsin Division 1 Sectional in Marshfield on Feb. 16.


Hodag Sports Library
02/17/2014 Hodag Wrestling finishes 5th: 7 advance to sectionals
02/10/2014 Hodags shine with first ever conference championship
02/03/2014 Rhinelander takes down Wausau East on Senior Night
01/29/2014 RHS Wrestling takes first
01/24/2014 Hodags crush Antigo 71-6
01/16/2014 Hodag Grapplers Pin Down First Place
01/09/2014 Hodags Pin Medford
12/23/2013 RHS grapplers finish fourth at Shawano
12/20/2013 Hodag wrestlers earn easy win over Lakeland
12/16/2013 Hodag wrestlers take fourth at Eau Claire North Invite

Connor Johnson: 4th place at state 03/02/2014 Senior Connor Johnson's run for the state title in Division 1 195 weight class ended with fourth place as he battled at the Kohl Center in Madison. Although it wasn't what Johnson was looking for he
Johnson Wrestles Well, Advances to Saturday's Competition 02/28/2014 The loss to Tomah's Jordan Reisinger in the quarterfinal of the Division 1, 195-pound weight class at the WIAA individual state wrestling tournament on Thursday put a sudden end to Johnson's run at a
Hodag Wrestling: Johnson advances to state 02/24/2014 Seven Hodag wrestlers advanced to the sectional tournament hosted in Wausau on Saturday, all looking to move on to the state tournament. Senior Connor Johnson was the only Hodag to advance to Madison.



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