The Two Rivers wrestling team is in the middle of an impressive run.
The Raiders have won four consecutive Eastern Wisconsin Conference dual championships and the last three EWC tournaments. Wisconsin Wrestling Online currently ranks TR as the No. 4 team in Division 2.
Now, Two Rivers has a regional championship to add to its growing list of accolades. The Raiders advanced seven wrestlers in WIAA individual sectionals, including five regional champions en route to claiming the team title in Sturgeon Bay.
Though the boys from the Cool City have had plenty of success on the mat in recent years, competition at the regional tournament has been challenging. This year’s collection of teams was no exception. Including Two Rivers, the regional featured three of the division’s top-eight teams, including No. 8 Wrightstown and No. 3 Luxemburg-Casco, the returning state champions.
“As a team, they are just there for each other all the time. If one person stumbles, the other one will pick them up,” Two Rivers head coach Paul Gehrke said. “I just think we have an awesome camaraderie with our guys.”
“We just had a good time today. It was as laid back as it could have been.”
Paul Bianchi brought home top honors at 106 pounds with a 9-3 win over Wrightstown’s Michael Bannach, while Ty Pelot (120) pinned Michael Bertrand (Southern Door) in 38 seconds to claim his crown.
In the 138-pound championship bout, Chris Yauch topped Mason Berceau (Luxemburg-Casco) 10-3.
Chandler Donati (152) and Bobby Geiger (182) also won individual championships.
After falling to Luxemburg-Casco’s Dan Dorner in the 195-pound first-place match, Scott Skornicka pinned Matt Vanden Heuvel (Denmark) in 23 seconds in the second-place match to earn a sectional berth.
Kyle Behrandt (285) pinned by Southern Door’s Mitchell Overbeck in the championship match, but won by rule over Ronald Saldana (Denmark). Behrandt pinned Saldana in the semifinals.
Gehrke saw a sense of release come over his wrestlers when they realized just what they had accomplished.
“All you saw was smiles and high-fives when they knew it,” Gehrke said. “It was pretty cool.”
The Raiders square off with second-ranked Wittenberg-Birnamwood at team sectionals in Freedom on Tuesday.
“We’ll do a little bit of homework, but I know they have a quality team,” Gehrke said. “I think they qualified 10 for the sectionals, individually. They’re the No. 2 ranked team, so they’re there for a reason. We’ll just plan accordingly and make adjustments if we need to and hope for the best.”
Team results: Two Rivers 230, Luxemburg-Casco 213.5, Wrightstown 201.5, Southern Door 183, Denmark 164.5, Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol 60
Division 1 Kaukauna Regional
Seven Manitowoc Lincoln wrestlers qualified for sectionals as the Ships took seventh as a team.
Zac Youngchild (138) topped Evan Hietpas (Kaukauna) 4-1 in the first-place match to given Lincoln its regional champion.
At 126 pounds, Jose Acosta fell to Kolton Jansen (Kaukauna) 5-3 in the first-place match. Acosta advanced to sectionals by rule courtesy of his 5-1 win over Gavin Forster (West Bend East) in the semifinals.
Isaac Pethan (152) finished third to advance for the Ships.
Noah Meissner (113), Travis Brixius (145), Hunter Saubert (160), and Marcus Sonnenberg (285) also advanced for Manitowoc after finishing fourth in their weight classes.
Team results: Kaukauna 268, West Bend West 152, Port Washington 150.5, Sheboygan South 144, West Bend East 114, Kimberly 109, Manitowoc Lincoln 103.5, Sheboygan North 20
Division 3 Brillion Regional
Reedsville pushed five wrestlers through to sectionals en route to finishing fourth as a team.
The Panthers had a trio of regional champions. Grant Wedepohl (170) blanked Bonduel’s Jacob Wudtke 6-0 in the in the first-place match to clinch a trip to individual sectionals.
In the 182-pound final, Tyler Schuh pinned Hunter Stodola (Coleman) in 2:36, while Jordan Brandt (285) pinned Rydick Braden (Brillion) in 1:18 to take top honors in his weight class.
Mitch Schwahn (120) and Isaac Roffers (132) each advanced with second-place finishes.
Team results: Coleman 283.5, Bonduel 195, Oconto 176, Reedsville 172, Gillett/Suring 108, Brillion 87, Lena/St. Thomas Academy 14
Random Lake Regional
A total of five sectional qualifiers, including three regional champions, helped Mishicot to a third-place finish in Random Lake.
Weston Cracraft (138) topped Trent Gottsacker (Random Lake) in the championship match by a count of 6-3, while Boone Young (145) edged Jacob Behn (Random Lake) 4-3.
At 285, Jon Brendemuehl topped Reed Anklam (Random Lake) in the final by virtue of an ultimate tiebreaker.
Kyle Hutterer (126) and Mason Matthias (152) each finished second to advance to sectionals.
Team results: Random Lake 293, Oostburg 174, Mishicot 154.5, New Holstein 145, Cedar Grove-Belgium 122, Kewaunee 88.5, Elkhart Lake 69.5