The dreams of state championships for the two Stevens Point Area Senior High wrestlers at the WIAA individual state meet are dashed, but a spot on the podium is still up for grabs.
Junior Mitch Mallek and senior Justin Pawlak are both still alive in the wrestleback bracket and can finish as high as third.
Mallek went 1-1 during Thursday’s Division 1 session at the Kohl Center, winning his preliminary match 3-2 over Mukwonago’s Mayson Madden, but fell 10-2 to undefeated Quinn Faust of Mt. Horeb/Barneveld in the 182-pound quarterfinals.
Mallek (42-10) will take his first step to the medal stand when he faced Richard Kuehl (30-8) of Oconomowoc in a consolation match.
“It’s been an exciting and cool experience wrestling down here in front of all these people,” Mallek said. “I get to wrestle tomorrow and hopefully I can win a couple matches.
“I have to battle the next few days and hopefully I can get on the podium,” Mallek added.
Pawlak, a senior who didn’t even wrestle last year, lost to Garrett Heder 7-2 in his 285-pound preliminary match.
Heder pinned his quarterfinal opponent, giving Pawlak (34-13) new life. Pawlak’s next match is against Cavontae Klyce of Racine Park/St. Catherine’s in the consolation wrestlebacks.
The big winner for the rest of the Wisconsin Valley Conference was Merrill, which brought four wrestlers to the tournament and advanced all four to tonight’s semifinals.
Wausau West’s Colin Baine (126) and Joe Umlauf (132) advanced to the semifinals, while Wisconsin Rapids’ Patrick Spray (106) went 1-1 and is still alive in the wrestlebacks.