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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Sawyer Sarbacker
IowaGrant senior wins 120-pound Bi-State title
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IowaGrant senior Sawyer Sarbacker defeated a pair of defending state champions en rout to winning the 120-pound title at last week's two-day, 60-team Bi-State Invitational.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Athlete of the Week is a web-only feature that will publish each Thursday throughout the calendar year

Sawyer Sarbacker, Sr., 120 pounds, Iowa–Grant/Highland wrestling

     Iowa–Grant senior Sawyer Sarbacker earned this week’s Mast Water Technology Athlete of the Week with an incredible run to the 120-pound championship at last week’s 35th annual Bi-State Classic at the La Crosse Civic Center. 

     Sarbacker (17–1) won his Bi-State crown in dramatic fashion taking out a pair of defending state champions to do so. Friday morning, he defeated two-time defending Division 3 state champion A.J. Schoenfuss 3–2 in the semifinals. Later that night, he held off defending Division 2 106-pound state champion Bryce Bosman of Luxemburg–Casco to win the title.

     In the semis, Sarbacker scored a big escape in the third period to go up by one, and stayed on the offensive, firing off shots the rest of the match. In the finals, he again escaped midway through the third to go up by a point, but really scrambled well to fend off takedown attempts by Bosman.

     “Sawyer had a great tournament,” said Iowa–Grant/Highland head coach Ryan Allen. “I thought he wrestled with a lot of confidence and did a great job of putting himself in positions where he can score points. Sawyer definitely turned a corner this weekend but we need to keep our eyes focused on our goals for the end of the year.”

     Sarbacker, a two-time state qualifier, is now the top ranked wrestler in Division 3 at 120 pounds in the latest poll. Later this year, he will look to become the third Sarbacker to win an individual state title for the Panthers. Sawyer's eldest brother Cade won state titles in 2006 and 2007, and his older brother Tucker won a state championship in 2013.

     The youngest Sarabacker’s Bi-State championship, along with teammate Max Maylor’s second-place finish at 152 pounds, helped Iowa–Grant/Highland to a third-place finish out of 19 teams in Division 3 at last week’s 60-team tournament.

     The Panthers (5–2, 1–1 SWAL duals, ranked 7th in Division 3) return to action Friday with a Southwestern Wisconsin Activities League dual at second-ranked Fennimore (6–2, 2–0 SWAL). The I–G co-op when then compete at the Lancaster Invitational on Saturday before traveling to Dodgeville for a non-conference dual meet on Tuesday.



HONORABLE MENTION (in alphabetical order):

Kayla Dougherty, Sr., G, and Emma Lawrence, Jr., F, Benton girls basketball

     Dougherty had 17 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and a steal in the Zephyrs' 73-53 win over Argyle on Tuesday. Lawrence had 18 points, 19 rebounds and four assists in that same game for Benton. 


Taylor Langmeier, So., G, River Ridge girls basketball 

     Langmeier averaged 16.5 points per game as River Ridge won its own holiday tournament last Thursday. The sophomore scored a game-high 17 points to in the Timberwolves’ 53–34 win over North Crawford, then led River Ridge’s balanced attack with 16 points in a 65–37 championship game victory over Kickapoo later that night.


Luke Fugate, Sr., 182, Belmont/Platteville wrestling

     Fugate (17–2) went 5–1 and reached the finals at 182 pounds to finish second out of 46 wrestlers at last week’s two-day, 60-team Bi-State Classic in La Crosse. Fugue jumped up to number one in Division 2 at 182 pounds in the latest rankings.


Max Maylor, Jr., 152, Iowa–Grant/Highland wrestling

     The Highland junior went 5–1 and finished second at 152 pounds at last week’s two-day, 60-team Bi-State Classic. Maylor (17–1) received a bye, then won four straight matches to reach the finals, including a narrow 9–8 quarterfinal win over Hudson’s undefeated Jacob Anderson, before suffering his first loss of the season to West Salem/Bangor’s undefeated Devin Bahr, 4–1.


Isaiah Mueller, F, Ithaca boys basketball

     Mueller scored 50 points to lead the Bulldogs (7–1) to a pair of non-conference victories of Cassville and New Lisbon last Thursday afternoon in a three-team tournament at Ithaca High School. He scored 20 points in a 62–54 win over Cassville, then topped all scorers with 30 points in a 74–66 victory over New Libson later in the day.


Braden Nies, Sr., G, Platteville boys basketball

     Nies pumped in a career-high 30 points and added 11 steals to lead the Hillmen to a 73–67 victory over River Ridge (Ill.) in the consolation game of the Mineral Point Holiday Tournament last Wednesday night. He also had 10 points and three assists in Platteville’s 56–50 semifinal loss to Black Hawk a day earlier.


Hattie Rennert, Sr., G, Shullsburg girls basketball 

     Rennert had five 3-pointers and went 9-for-12 at the free throw line on her way to a game-high 26 points in the Lady Miners' 68–57 win over Darlington on Monday. Last week Rennert, scored 17 points in as Shullsburg split a pair of non-conference games at the La Crosse Aquinas Tournament last week.