There was one area wrestler that didn’t even have to break much of a sweat to reach the championship round on Friday at the Kohl Center.
Kaukauna sophomore Robert Lee reached the 120-pound finals in Division 1 after his opponent Zach Miller of Wauwatosa West/East had to forfeit due to medical reasons before their semifinal match.
Lee (44-4) won the 113 title last season and will shoot for the 120 title against Burlington freshman Josh Bird (43-3) today at 7 p.m.
“I was a little surprised to see that, but it doesn’t really matter,” Lee said. “I have to take it one step at a time, so I get to be a little laid back (Friday). I just have to keep my head straight and take it into the finals.”
In all, nine area wrestlers will take the mat for a shot at a state title though Lee is the lone D1 qualifier.
In Division 2, Freedom’s trio of Cody Walrath (120), Andrew Philibeck (145) and Reed Ambrosius (220) as well as Chilton/Hilbert’s duo of Mitch Fucile (152) and Austin Hephner (195) will also contend for championship gold. Alex Maes (132) of Wrightstown and Brandon Elrick (285) of Little Chute also reached their respective title matches in D2.
Silas Petrie (285) of Brillion is the lone D3 championship qualifier.
Lee said the rest will be beneficial and said that the minor breakup of his normal routine was neither good nor bad.
“Well, maybe a little of both,” Lee said. “It did kind of throw me off, but it gives me a day to rest so hopefully by (today) I’ll be recuperated and come back stronger.”
The fact that Lee’s in position to be a two-time state champion as a sophomore is a testament to hard work, according to Lee.
“It’s a great feeling and it shows that all my hard work pays off,” he said. “Working hard in the offseason and during the week, going to my dad’s club and working up there too. I’m always working and I’m glad to see it pay off.”
Lee’s teammate Tres Leon battled Milton’s Nolan Shea in a 106 semifinal but a late move by Shea allowed him to escape with the victory over a stunned Leon (12-1).
On the prowl
Fucile and Hephner proved to be quite the 1-2 punch for the Chilton/Hilbert Tigers.
Hephner (45-1) pinned River Valley’s Zach Koch in 4:55 in quarterfinal action and then edged Two Rivers Scott Skornicka 7-5 in the semifinals to reach the D2 finals at 195.
That’s where he’ll face undefeated Joey Dedick of East Troy (45-0).
Fucile slipped by Stanley-Boyd’s Ronny Ponick 5-3 in the quarterfinal of 152 before making short work of Medford’s Aaric Spencer with a pin in 1:04 in the semifinal.
Fucile will battle River Valley’s Seth Liegel (45-0) for the crown.
“I plan on wrestling a hard match and leaving it all out there,” Fucile said. “Just leave it all out there. Six hard minutes. That’s all I can give.”
Little Chute’s Brandon Elrick has the complete look of a football player.
Big, burly and powerfully built, the Mustangs senior battled his way to a 3-1 quarterfinal win at 285 over Brodhead/Juda’s Logan Maurer before pinning Medford’s Nick Berger in 4:26 in the semifinal.
The fact that Elrick (45-6) is in the championship round didn’t surprise Little Chute head coach John Pashouwer, who said that Elrick initially went out for wrestling as a way to prepare for football season.
“He’s a very well-conditioned athlete and our game plan is to wear people down,” Pashouwer said. “Only wrestling for four years. He came out for wrestling because he figured it’d make him a better football player. Well, wrestling turned out to be the sport he was very good at.”
Elrick said he’s excited for today’s title match with Luxemburg-Casco’s Newton Smerchek (46-2).
“I came out looking to just wrestle and have fun,” Elrick said. “I never envisioned my freshman year coming around to my senior year and going for a state championship right now.
“I couldn’t imagine anything better right now. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Going for a medal
Brillion’s Silas Petrie and Wrightstown’s Alex Maes also advanced to their respective championship matches.
Maes (38-9) had a major decision over Brock Polhamus of Sparta in the D2 quarterfinals and knocked off Stanley-Boyd’s Robert Csukker 6-1 in the semifinal. Maes will battle Oconto Falls’ Dewey Krueger (41-1) for the D2 crown.
Petrie (45-1) takes on De Soto’s Cole Johnson (46-0) in the D3 championship at 285. He decisioned Iowa-Grant’s Ben McFall 12-8 in the quarterfinal before dispatching Bruce’s Donovan Ralston 8-1 in the semifinal.
Division 1 state semifinals
106 pounds: Nolan Shea, Milton, dec. Tres Leon, Kaukauna, 7-5; 120: Robert Lee, Kaukauna, medical forfeit over Zach Miller, Wauwatosa West/East; 220: Tyler Schmidt, Merrill, pinned Mitchell Ledwith, Neenah, 3:37.
Division 2 state semifinals
120: Cody Walrath, Freedom, dec. Trevor McManus, Adams-Friendship, 3-2; 132: Alex Maes, Wrightstown, dec. Robert Csukker, Stanley-Boyd, 6-1; 145: Andrew Philibeck, Freedom, dec. Elliot Sparby, Mosinee, 8-6; 152: Mitchell Fucile, Chilton/Hilbert, pinned Aaric Spencer, Medford, 1:04; 195: Austin Hephner, Chilton/Hilbert, dec. Scott Skornicka, Two Rivers, 7-5; 220: Reed Ambrosious, Freedom, dec. Trevor Gorr, Monroe, 7-3; 285: Brandon Elrick, Little Chute, pinned Nick Berger, Medford, 4:26.
Division 3 state semifinals
170: Wyatt Seep, Weston/Ithaca, dec. Zech Riehl, Shiocton, 7-5; 285: Silas Petrie, Brillion, dec. Donovan Ralston, Bruce, 8-1.
Division 2 consolation semifinals
106: Trenton McManus, Adams-Friendship, dec. Dillan Micke, Wrightstown, 7-4; 120: Josh Murray, Marshall, dec. Patrick Breckheimer, Chilton/Hilbert, 14-8; 126: Bryce Zdanovec, Little Chute, dec. JJ Donar, Cuba City/Southwestern, 5-4; 195: Jake Reiter, Clintonville, dec. Austin Egge, Hayward, 8-1.
Division 3 consolation semifinals
132: Austin Riehl, Shiocton, dec. Daniel Rice, Lancaster, 3-1; 182: Casey Johnson, Manawa, major dec. Jesse Verbanac, Random Lake, 14-2.
Division 1 consolation semifinals
132: Hank Mattson, Mukwonago, dec. Evan Hietpas, Kaukauna, 5-1; 160: Alexander Walla, Bay Port, dec. Blair Mulholland, Kimberly, 3-2; 220: Nick Gomez, Oconomowoc, dec. Tyler Nelson, Kaukauna, 2-1; 220: Lucas Stromberg-Windau, Tomah, pinned Zeek Hooyman, Menasha, 3:33.
Division 2 quarterfinals
106: Jason Clapper, Lodi, dec. Dillan Micke, Wrightstown, 6-4; 120: John Roddick, Sparta, dec. Patrick Breckheimer, Chilton/Hilbert, 5-1; 120: Cody Walrath, Freedom, major dec. Jared Boon, Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal, 12-1; 126: Alex Fitzgerald, Sheboygan Falls, pinned Bryce Zdanovec, Little Chute, 4:19; 132: Alex Maes, Wrightstown, major dec. Brock Polhamus, Sparta, 10-2; 145: Andrew Philibeck, Freedom, pinned Joe Crook, River Valley, 3:58; 152: Mitchell Fucile, Chilton/Hilbert dec. Ronny Ponick, Stanley-Boyd, 5-3; 195: Joey Dedick, East Troy, dec. Jake Reiter, Clintonville, 4-1; 195: Austin Hephner, Chilton/Hilbert, pinned Zach Koch, River Valley 4:55; 220: Reed Ambrosius, Freedom, pinned, Alex Marshall, Grafton, 2:57; 285: Brandon Elrick, Little Chute, dec. Logan Maurer, Brohead/Juda, 3-1 in OT.
Division 3 quarterfinals
132: Alex Hauri, Parkview, dec. Austin Riehl, Shiocton, 3-2; 170: Zech Riehl, Shiocton, dec. Kyle Kemmerling, Johnson Creek, 8-2; 182: Jack Nett, Cambridge, dec. Casey Johnson, Manawa, 5-4; 285: Silas Petrie, Brillion, dec. Ben McFall, Iowa-Grant/Highland 12-8.
Division 1 consolation
120: Bill Holz, Menomonee Falls, pinned David Granatelli, Appleton North, 2:30; 126: Turner Pruett, WB East, dec. Jimmy Sell, Menasha, 10-8; 126: Darius Wright, Holmen, pinned. Kolton Jansen, Kaukauna, 3:54; 132: Evan Hietpas, Kaukauna, dec. Kody Zembal, Wilmot, 4-3; 138: Austin Powell, Sauk Prairie, dec. Justin Kloehn, Kaukauna, 9-2; 160: Blair Mulholland, Kimberly, sudden victory Rudy Hernandez, Madison East, 19-5; 220: Zeek Hooyman, Menasha, pinned Cole Ryan, Union Grove, 3:45; 220: Tyler Nelson, Kaukauna, pinned Dallas Wanta, West Allis Hale, 3:45.
— Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or email@example.com; On Twitter @PCRicardo