MADISON – Late in the third period of the biggest match in his life, Ramsey Bloy looked to his fans in the stands and gave them a quick nod.
It was at that moment that Bloy knew that Saturday’s Division 2 195-pound title match was his for the taking.
The Freedom senior, always a strong finisher, saved his best for overtime, recording a takedown in the extra period to give him a 6-4 victory over Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s August Peplinski and secure the 195 title in exhilarating fashion.
“I knew that I have a bigger gas tank than everybody,” Bloy said. “I knew he broke he went flat out of bounds one time. I was like ‘Alright, boom! He’s easy. I can kill him.’ “
And the first person to hug him off the mat? His biggest hero: older brother Hunter, who had taken special request leave from Navy training. He traveled from Annapolis, Maryland, just to offer support in the biggest moment in his little brother’s life.
An emotional Ramsey Bloy explained how much it meant to him to have his “inspiration” there to watch him in his finest hour.
“He’s been that ever since I was a little kid. It feels awesome,” Ramsey said. “I started working hard because of him.
“I just never thought … I guess hard work makes dreams come true. That’s the biggest thing. A lot of hours went into this.”
Hunter, 21, said his little brother put in the time to make himself a champion.
“I love him so much. He works his (butt) off,” Hunter said. “He does everything that he can to help make himself better and everybody else better. There’s not one person that has anything bad to say about Ramsey. You’re not going to find a better kid out there. I’m lucky to have him as a brother.”
Bloy joined Kaukauna’s Robert Lee as Post-Crescent area state champions. Lee defeated Burlington’s Ben Hornickle 5-4 to win the 138 title in Division 1.
Lee, a senior, secured his third state title on Saturday while Bloy won his first to lead the area’s six state finals qualifiers.
Freedom’s Mason Manteuffel (120) and Seth Vosters (160), Kaukauna’s Tres Leon (132) and Shiocton’s Henry Fielding (182) all lost their respective matches.
Kaukauna’s Tres Leon (45-4) started fast, leading Burlington’s Josh Bird 6-0 early in the first period but Bird quickly rebounded as the match was close throughout.
Bird has a history with Kaukauna, namely Leon’s teammate Robert Lee. Bird defeated Lee in the 120 title match in 2013 and was defeated by Lee in the 132 championship match last season.
The two battled to a 9-9 tie after the second period, but a late flurry of points from Bird clinched the match in the third period.
“You get a 6-0 lead and with (Leon’s) defense, that’s like putting up six runs in the first inning and having (Justin) Verlander on the mound and a backup to back him up,” Kaukuana coach Jeff Matczak said. “You feel that good about it. But, you have a heavyweight lineup (Bird) and puts a 5-spot on the board and then it’s a ballgame again.”
Manteuffel (34-16) fell to Prescott’s Sam Stuhl 6-3 in the Division 2 120 championship. The Irish senior fell behind 4-1 to Stuhl at the end of the first period and couldn’t recover in dropping the match 6-3.
“I feel like if I had done better in the first period I would have won the match,” an emotional Manteuffel said following the loss.
Vosters (45-5) lost to Portage’s Jacob Poches 6-5 in the D2 160 title match. Vosters led 5-4 until the closing seconds when Poches pulled a reversal to secure the win in stunning fashion.
“That’s the sport of wrestling, you need to wrestle your style and within yourself,” Freedom coach Justin Lancaster said. “Seth didn’t wrestle his style. It’s a big environment and there’s a lot of nerves and a lot of mental anguish that goes into things. Ultimately the guy that sticks to their game plan is who wins.”
Fielding fought gallantly despite an injured knee suffered in the first period in his 5-0 loss to Stratford’s Kamren Bornbach in the D3 182 title match. Fielding ends his season with a 44-3 record.
The march of champions before the WIAA individual wrestling state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday.
WIAA STATE WRESTLING
At Kohl Center, Madison
132: Josh Bird BURL dec. Tres Leon KAU 12-10. 138: Robert Lee KAU dec. Ben Hornickle BURL 5-4.
132: Jordan Weinzetl KIM dec. Scott Arneson MER 5-3. 152: Jason Ipsarides CED dec. Bailey VanHandel KAU 2-1. 182: Blair Mulholland KIM dec. Dalton Hahn REED 9-2.
132: Matt Koski HUD dec. Scott Cook NL 10-4. 170: Zach Shukoski KAU pinned Brady McFarland MUS 4:43.
120: Sam Stuhl PRES dec. Mason Manteuffel FREE 6-3. 160: Jacob Poches PORT dec. Seth Vosters FREE 6-5. 195: Ramsey Bloy FREE dec. August Peplinski WIT-BIRN 6-4 in OT.
120: Jordan Sarver NEK pinned Abraham Sell CHI/HIL 2:32. 132: Cody Walrath FREE dec. Gabe Braam ET 3-1. 170: Brandon Buechler WRI dec. Jordan Michael LOM 5-1. 195: Brady Wetter DODGE major dec. Duncan Calnin CHIL/HIL 9-1.
145: Austin Keuler CH/HIL dec. Taylor Gilardi VIR 7-1. 182: Taylor Rivers WT/WR dec. Stetson Burmeister WRI 11-9.
182: Kamren Bornbach STRAT dec. Henry Fielding SHIO 5-0.
145: Trenton Pasch ROY dec. Austin Riehl SHI 3-2 UTB.
182: Rowdy Kocheva FLAM dec. Austin Stebane BRILL 3-1.
285: Matt Stensrud MARK pinned Andy Bork WEY-FREM :47.
— Ricardo Arguello: 920-993-1000, ext. 558, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCRicardo