PULASKI – The Bay Port wrestling team needed a lot of things to go its way Tuesday to beat Wisconsin Rapids for a third straight year to advance to the WIAA Division 1 team state tournament.
A starting weight of 152 pounds wasn’t one of them.
With junior Dylan Sundin injured at that weight class, the Pirates had to make decisions on how to shift their lineup right away. They never fully recovered after falling behind 12-0 three matches in.
The Red Raiders beat Bay Port 34-22 to advance to team state for the first time since 2012 and a state record 18th time under the dual tournament format.
Wisconsin Rapids will face Pewaukee March 6 at the UW Field House in Madison.
The Red Raiders won eight of the first 10 matches, including five with bonus points, to top Bay Port, which came up short of winning a program record third straight sectional title.
“Tonight was just a matter of meeting a better team out there,” Bay Port coach Brad Shefchik said. “We needed a lot of things to go right to have a chance at the end. Not having any momentum early and start at (152 pounds) was a tough draw for us.
“We had our (138) pounder (Marshall Jeppeson) go up and wrestle him. Marshall is a tough kid. He’s always the first one to volunteer to take on the challenge. He came to me and said he’s willing to give it a shot and minimize the damage there.”
Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln’s Matrix Jisko controls Bay Port’s Jarod Maes, who is blinded by his out-of-position headgear in their 113-pound match during a WIAA Team Sectional at Pulaski High School.
Jeppeson, an individual sectional qualifier at 138, saved a point by not getting pinned by junior Brock Benitz, who is ranked sixth in D1 at 152 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online.
Bay Port picked up its first win at 182 with a major decision from sophomore Ben Kitslaar over Jake Timm, who was nearly pinned in the first period.
The teams would exchange pins at the next two weight classes.
Wisconsin Rapids senior Cody Abel – ranked No. 3 in the state at 195 – recorded one over Jake Flisakowski. Bay Port senior Alec Ingold – ranked No. 3 at 220 – followed with one over Mike Weinfurter.
The Red Raiders decided to move senior Beau Thompson, who is ranked No. 2 at 220, up to heavyweight for both the individual tournament and Tuesday’s dual.
Thompson didn’t disappoint, picking up a major decision over Bay Port senior Ryan Van De Walle, who lost a 1-0 decision to Thompson in last year’s dual.
“We felt good about that match all the time,” Wisconsin Rapids coach Scott Benitz said. “That’s one of the reasons (he’s) at 285. I think (he’s) a state champion at 285, and he wrestles heavyweights really well. He’s as strong as any heavyweight and quicker than most.”
The Red Raiders won matches at the three lowest weight classes and virtually wrapped up their ticket to state with a pin by Patrick Spray at 120.
Bay Port’s Henry Prange (126), Brady Shulfer (132), Jordan Delfosse (138) and Sam Rathburn (145) won the final matches of the dual, giving the squad some positive momentum heading into Saturday’s individual sectionals, where the Pirates will have 13 wrestlers competing.
As a team, Bay Port won a fifth straight Fox River Classic Conference title this season and a fourth regional title in five years.
“The fact that we won conference this year and won a tight regional is still a plus and definitely a good season for us,” Shefchik said.
Wisconsin Rapids 34, Bay Port 22
106: Bryson Einerson, WR, dec. Harrison Prange, 9-4; 113: Matrix Jisko, R, dec. Jarod Maes, 4-1; 120: Patrick Spray, WR, pin Travis Jahnke, 2:10; 126: Henry Prange, BP, dec. Max Benitz, 5-2; 132: Brady Shulfer, BP, dec. Bergh Diebel, 7-3; 138: Jordan Delfosse, BP, dec. Cody Sawyer, 3-0; 145: Sam Rathburn, BP, dec. Dylan Hall, 5-1; 152: Brock Benitz, WR, tech. fall Marshall Jeppeson, 23-6; 160: Peyton Einerson, WR, maj. dec. Jack Rathburn, 9-0; 170: Nathan Fuller, WR, dec. Landis Hanson, 9-5; 182: Ben Kitslaar, BP, maj. dec. Jake Timm, 12-2; 195: Cody Abel, WR, pin Jake Flisakowski, :31; 220: Alec Ingold, BP, pin Mike Weinfurter, 1:38; 285: Beau Thompson, WR, maj. dec. Ryan Van De Walle, 13-4. Matches started at 152.Rapids