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MCDONALD'S GAME OF THE WEEK (Prep Wrestling): Fennimore wins Badger State Invite
Golden Eagles top Division 1 #1 Stoughton to win 22-team tournament
Fennimore wrestling
The Fennimore wrestling team scored 243.5 points to win the 22-team Badger State Invitational Saturday at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison. The Golden Eagles edged out the host Stoughton Vikings, the top-ranked team in Division 1, for the team title.

WRESTLING: Fennimore tops D1 #1 Stoughton to win Badger State Invitational

MADISON — Fennimore wrestling coach knew Saturday’s tournament format showdown with Stoughton, the top-ranked team in Division 1, would be a good barometer of where his team is at early this season.

Steldt’s Golden Eagles passed with flying colors, even without one of its top seniors.

Fennimore (#1 in Divison 3) sent four wrestlers to the finals, had 10 top-five finishes and scored 243.5 points to edge the host Stoughton Vikings 243.5–221 to win the team title at Saturday’s 22-team Badger State Invitational at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

“Not only is Stoughton ranked number 1 in the state, but they are also ranked 42nd in the nation,” said Fennimore head coach Chad Steldt. “I would have to think this is the first team in Fennimore sport ‘s history that has ever beat such a nationally recognized team. It was a complete team effort as expected.”

SWAL rivals Mineral Point (124.5), Iowa–Grant (95) and Darlington/Black Hawk (91) placed seventh, ninth and 12th respectively.

“We held Mason Lull out of action so he could be better prepared for the Cheesehead, but Kaden Hahn performed very well and earned some team points at 152. Also, Aaron Ragels was back in action and took third at 220 and Luke Blair was back in the line-up at 126. He wrestled very well on his way to the championship match before he ran into one of the best wrestlers in the entire nation.

“The boys did a great job putting kids away when they could. Their pinning percentage was very high the first two rounds. On top of that, we had Jayden Glasbrenner, Hahn and seniors Nick Blaschke and Logan Klaas beat Stoughton kids in head to head matchups, which really took some major points away from their team. Glasbrenner really performed well, earning over 25 points for the team. His ability to bar kids and mentally break them on top is pretty impressive for a freshman.”

Glasbrenner (15–2) went 4–1 to place second at 120 pounds. Glasbrenner received a bye and won three straight matches (an 8–0 major decision and back-to-back pins) to reach the finals, before a loss to Waunakee’s Kolby Heinz. 

Senior Luke Blair (5–1), who wrestled his first match of the season in Friday’s SWAL dual victory at Boscobel, also went 4–1 Saturday to finish second at 126 in his first tournament of the season.

Blair received a first-round bye, scored a 12–1 major decision in the second round, a first-period pin and a 9–1 major decision over River Valley’s Jimmy Jennings to reach the finals. His day ended with a first-period pinfall loss to undefeated Nicolas Rivera (16–0) of Stoughton.

Junior Brody Lee (13–5) also finished second at 132 pounds, after a bye first-round and recorded three straight pins before a third-period loss to Lake Geneva Badger’s Jake Stritesky in the finals.

Lee and senior Will Ahnen finished the tournament with a co-team-high 28 team points apiece.

Senior Will Ahnen (14–5) went 4–1 to finish second at 195 pounds. After a first-round bye, he recorded three straight pins befoer a 10–2 loss to Neenah’s Marshall Kools in the 195-pound championship match. 

Fellow senior Aaron Ragels (6–1), who had knee surgery in April to repair a torn ACL went 4–1 in his first tournament of the season to place third at 220 pounds.

After a frist-round bye, he notched a 45-second pin of Mason Baribeau or Baldwin–Woodville, then scored an 18–8 major decision over Iowa–Grant’s Donald Laufenberg. 

Ragels suffered a 4–1 loos to De Pere’s Kyjaun Vengrowsky (10–2) in the semifinals, but bounced back to pin Darlington’s Bailey Schilling (11–2) in the third place match.

“It was nice having our upper weights in place,” said Steldt. “Will wrestled great all day with three big pins on his way to a second place finish. He is improving every week right now. 

“Aaron looked as expected. His technique was fine, but he definitely is out of shape. Hats off to him though. He wrestled as hard as he could, but his body just needs more time to catch up to the intensity. Once we get Ragels into the best shape he can be in, we will see a totally different wrestlers. The good thing is, he took third, scored over 20 points for the team and his knee feels great.”

Freshman Brett Birchman (12–6) had a pair of byes and a first-period pin of Brookfield East’s Aiden Crawley and went on to finish fourth at 106.

Senior Alex Birchman (13–5) also went 3–2 to finish fourth at 138. He had a bye, a 16–1 technical fall over Mineral Points’s Wyatt Evans and a 56-second pin of Lucas Migliaccio of Catholic Memorial before back-to-back losses to end the day.

Fellow senior Aidan Nutter (11–5) also went 3–2 to place fourth at 145. He scored a 40-second pin ver Jhovanny Cruz in the second round, then earned a 6–2 win over Waunakee’s Braysen Ellis in the quarterfinals.

“Nutter was probably in the toughest bracket of the day, which was great for him,” said Steldt. “He is really improving with wrestling within himself. He is still a weight class above what he will eventually be at, and once he gets their his shots and throws will come a little more easier.”

Klaas (10–4) opened his tournament with a bye and back-to-back decisions en rout to a fourth-place finish at 182.

Blaschke (11–7) dropped a quarterfinal match, but finished 4–1 to place fifth at 160.

NEXT: Fennimore will now travel to Kaukauna Friday, Jan. 3 for the two-day Cheesehead Invitational.

“The Cheesehead is one of the toughest tournaments in the nation for high school wrestling,” added Steldt. “There will be over five nationally ranked teams there. World team members, national champs, and multiple-time state champion wrestlers will be there. The best wrestling in Wisconsin will happen on January 3-4. Fennimore hopes to crack the top eight. If we get some guys to really perform well, we can possibly see a top five finish.”

2019 Badger State Invitational
(from Saturday, Dec. 21 @ Alliant Energy Center, Madison)
Team scores1.Fennimore 243.5, 2.Stoughton 221, 3.DePere 216, 4.Neenah 176, 5.Waunakee 167.5, 6.Baldwin–Woodville 155.5, 7.Mineral Point 124.5, 8.Brookfield East 96, 9.Iowa–Grant 95, 10.Fort Atkinson 93, 11.Lake Geneva Badger 92.5, 12.Darlington 91, 13.Viroqua 85.5, 14.Two Rivers 76.5, 15.Milwaukee Marshall 53, 16.Lake Mills 52, 17.Kettle Morraine 50, 18.Wisconsin Dells 46, 19.Johnson Creek 38, 20.River Valley 34, 21.Catholic Memorial 26, 22.Cambridge 18.  
Fennimore match results
106: Brett Birchman (12-6) went 3-2 to place 4th and scored 19.0 team points.
3rd Place Match - Lucas Sullivan (Mineral Point) 18-2 won by fall over Brett Birchman (Fennimore) 12-6 (Fall 4:49)
113:  Brecken Muench (13-6) went 3-2 to place 6th and scored 14.0 team points.
5th Place Match - Tyler Fink (Baldwin-Woodville) 11-5 won by decision over Brecken Muench (Fennimore) 13-6 (Dec 6-4)
120: Jayden Glasbrenner (15-2) went 4-1 to and place 2nd and scored 27.0 team points.
1st Place Match - Kolby Heinz (Waunakee) 14-1 won by fall over Jayden Glasbrenner (Fennimore) 15-2 (Fall 1:55)
126: Luke Blair (5-1) went 4-1 to place 2nd and scored 26.0 team points.
1st Place Match - Nicolar Rivera (Stoughton) 16-0 won by fall over Luke Blair (Fennimore) 5-1 (Fall 1:18)
132: Brody Lee (13-5) went 4-1 to place 2nd and scored 28.0 team points.
1st Place Match - Jake Stritesky (Badger) 7-1 won by fall over Brody Lee (Fennimore) 13-5 (Fall 5:43)
138: Alex Birchman (13-5) went 3-2 to place 4th and scored 18.5 team points.
3rd Place Match - Sam Lorenz (Waunakee) 14-2 won by decision over alex birchman (Fennimore) 13-5 (Dec 7-1)
145: Aidan Nutter (11-5) went 3-2 and placed 4th and scored 17.0 team points.
3rd Place Match - Gavin Model (Stoughton) 16-2 won by fall over aidan nutter (Fennimore) 11-5 (Fall 4:26)
152:  Kaden Hahn (9-9) went 1-3 and scored 2.0 team points.
160: Nick Blaschke (11-7) went 4-1 to place 5th and scored 15.0 team points.
5th Place Match - Nick Blaschke (Fennimore) 11-7 won by major decision over Caleb Quest (Lake Mills) 9-3 (MD 12-0)
170: Mason Miles (1-2) went 1-2 and scored 4.0 team points.
182: Logan Klaas (10-4) went 3-2 to place 4th and scored 15.0 team points.
3rd Place Match - Thomas Witkins (Fort Atkinson) 16-2 won by decision over logan klaas (Fennimore) 10-4 (Dec 5-4)
195: Will Ahnen (14-5) went 4-1 to place 2nd and scored 28.0 team points.
1st Place Match - Marshall Kools (Neenah) 11-0 won by major decision over Will Ahnen (Fennimore) 14-5 (MD 10-2)
220: Aaron Ragels (6-1) went 4-1 to place 3rd and scored 22.0 team points.
3rd Place Match - Aaaron Ragels (Fennimore) 6-1 won by fall over Bailey Schilling (Darlington) 11-2 (Fall 3:22)
285: Braxton Wilson (13-5) went 4-1 and scored 8.0 team points.