MADISON – Stratford seniors Gavin Drexler and Raife Smart, Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal’s Luke Dux and Gunner Hoffmann, and Wisconsin Rapids’ Preston Spray will be wrestling for championships after each won quarterfinal and semifinal matches Friday at the 2022 WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at the Kohl Center.
Drexler (37-1) will be wrestling for his third-straight state title as he won by technical fall over Kaleb Sonnentag of Cadott 16-0 in the 138-pound quarterfinals and earned a 16-2 major decision over Dominic Leinitz (43-2) of Clear Lake in the semifinals.
Smart (32-3) is going for his first state title after slipping past Marawood-rival Brice Thiel (28-13) of Auburndale 3-2 in the quarterfinals and pinning Ryan McCartney of Lancaster in the semifinals in 5:04 at 195 pounds.
Drexler will face Tarrin Riley (34-2) of Mineral Point and Smart will go against Grant Rydlund (42-3) of Ladysmith in championship matches Saturday. The championship matches begin at 5:30 p.m. and will be televised on Bally Sports Wisconsin.
Spray (50-2) won his Division 1 113-pound semifinal over New Richmond’s Luke Kamish 3-0 and will face Wyatt Skebba (29-1) of Hortonville in the championship match Saturday night.
Dux (31-4) won his Division 2 120-pound quarterfinal match over Graeson Pankratz of Oconto Falls by pin in 4:31, then defeated Spencer/Columbus’ Treyton Ackman for the fourth-straight week, 9-6 in the semifinals. Dux will take on Danny Heiser (51-4) of Evansville in the championship match.
Hoffmann (39-1) won both of his matches by pin, taking care of Ben Roman of Sturgeon Bay in 1:11 in the quarterfinals and James Schaefbauer (38-5) of Nekoosa/Assumption in 3:44 in the semifinals. He will take on Robert Beese (49-4) of Amery in the finals.
Stratford’s other three wrestlers were knocked into the consolation bracket on Friday.
Elijah Lucio (35-3) won is 152-pound quarterfinal over Toren Vandenbush of Random Lake 11-2, but lost in the semifinals to Joseph Penchi (29-4) of La Crosse Aquinas, 6-1.
Jackson Ormond (40-9) also reached the semifinals after beating Auburndale’s Sloan Welch (40-8) 3-1 in overtime in a 182-pound quarterfinal, but lost in the semis to Samuel Schwabe (49-2) of Random Lake, 6-2.
Cole Marten (32-7) lost his 220-pound quarterfinal to David Gauderman of Wittenberg-Birnamwood by pin in 1:43, but came back to win a consolation bracket match over Vanden Hoffman of Weyauwega-Fremont 5-4 to assure himself of a top-six medal.
In addition to Thiel and Welch, Auburndale’s three other wrestlers in the quarterfinals also lost.
Derek Godard (32-11) fell to Jake Fitzpatrick (42-1) of La Crosse Aquinas by technical fall 15-0 and was eliminated in the consolation bracket by Dylan Comins of Lena at 106 pounds.
Noah Altmann (41-10) was also eliminated after he lost a quarterfinal to Troy Dolphin (54-3) of Kenosha Christian Life by pin in 1:21, and fell in a consolation match to Mason Welsh of Iowa-Grant 10-3 at 132 pounds.
Welch lost a consolation match to Riley Klar of Aquinas by pin in 2:47, and Thiel was shut out by Ezra Ducat of Kewaunee 2-0 as they were both eliminated.
Colton Weiler will earn a medal at 113 pounds for Auburndale. After losing to undefeated Co’Ji Campbell of Kenosha St. Joseph 9-3 in the quarterfinals, he won a consolation match over Kellen Kelley of St. Crois Falls 5-4.
Spencer/Columbus’ lone state qualifier, Treyton Ackman, dropped into the consolation bracket. He defeated Jonah Edwards of East Troy with a 15-2 major decision in the quarterfinals at 120 pounds before losing to Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal’s Luke Dux (31-4) for the fourth-straight weekend, 9-6 in the semifinals.
Ackman (32-5) will wrestle in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning against Danny Heiser (51-4) of Evansville.
Marshfield’s three semifinalists all lost and will wrestle for third- through sixth-place medals on Saturday.
Hoyt Blaskowski (39-4) dropped a 138-pound semifinal to Talan Schuette (45-2) of Germantown by pin in 4:25; Ryan Dolezal (43-4) lost by pin to Braeden Ott (49-3) of Glendale Nicole in 4:50 at 160 pounds; and Camren Dennee (48-4) fell to Hartland Arrowhead’s Noah Mulvaney (46-1) by technical fall 17-2 at 170 pounds for the Tigers. All three will wrestle in consolation matches Saturday.
Marshfield’s Caleb Dennee (43-11) won his first consolation match over Edwin Estrada of Kenosha Indian Trial with a pin in 2:40 before being eliminated from the tournament as he was pinned in 24 seconds by Waterford’s Hudson Halter.
Wisconsin Rapids’ other two semifinalists lost. Landyn Freeman (38-9) was pinned by Cael Zelinski of Muskego in 1:32 at 106 pounds, and Brett Back (49-3) lost a tight 8-7 match in overtime to Cody Goebel of Mukwonago at 145 pounds.
Stevens Point’s Jaren Rohde (36-2) also lost in the semifinals at 285 pounds to Vito Maasa of River Falls 6-5.
Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal’s Derek Zschernitz, and Abbotsford/Colby’s Carter Grewe and Tanner Halopka were knocked into the consolation bracket.
Zschernitz (29-6) lost in the Division 2 126-pound quarterfinals to Cole Bozile of Oconto Falls 6-2 before coming back to defeat Blakelee Bastien of Luxemburg-Casco in a consolation match 3-1.
Grewe (47-4) reached the semifinals at 195 pounds with a pin of Brillion’s Garrett Kilgas in 3:16 before losing to Kale Hopke of Amery 4-3.
Halopka (48-2) also made it to the semifinals for Abby/Colby, beating Mason Tylee of Amery by pin in 3:16 in the quarterfinals, but lost in the semifinals to Nathan VandeHey (38-5) of Freedom, 5-4.