MCDONALD'S SWNEWS4U.COM GAME OF THE WEEK (Feb. 28–March 7)
WIAA WRESTLING: D3 TEAM STATE TOURNAMENT
By Jason Nihles, The Platteville Journal / Fennimore Times / Boscobel Dial
Top-ranked Golden Eagles win second-straight Division 3 Team State title
MADISON — The was no drama this time around.
Top-ranked Fennimore dominated the competition Saturday at the UW Field House to win a second-straight WIAA Division 3 Team Wrestling State title. It was also the Golden Eagles fourth in the last eight years.
Undefeated Fennimore (17–0) made quick work of No. 4 seed Stratford in Saturday morning’s semifinals, 55–13, before handling No. 2 seed Shiocton in similar fashion later that evening, 43–18.
“Winning back to back state titles has been hard and it definitely is a big accomplishment,” said Fennimore head coach Chad Steldt. “This says a lot about our guys not taking their success for granted and working hard on a daily basis.
“This team deserves every inch of dominance. They have been the most consistent and hard-working group across the board. It is a sight to see and watch them drill for 45 straight minutes in perfect harmony with each other. They amaze me.”
Shiocton (23–3) scored first in the D3 championship dual with an Ilijah Sanchez 7–1 decision over sophomore Dalton Wolf at 220 pounds, but that would be the Chiefs’ only lead of the match.
Shiocton forfeited to Fennimore heavyweight state champion Evan Gratz at 285 pounds, before Mason Demerath scored a narrow 4–1 decision over Fennimore freshman Cade Birchman at 106 pounds to even the team score at 6–6.
Fennimore senior state champion Brett Birchman dominated Izaiah Sanchez with a first-period pin (1:16) at 113 to begin a run of four-straight Golden Eagle victories.
Sophomore Amryn Nutter, a third-place individual state place-winner, pinned Scott Daniels in 4:28 at 120, and senior Brecken Muench capped his career with a 2:53 pin of Zach Reif at 126 to give Fennimore an 18–6 lead.
“It was great to see Brecken close out his high school career in style with a final pin,” said Steldt. “That was an exclamation point of four hard years, a broken elbow, an injured hip that constantly popped out, and to end with a pin was a way to say he overcame the obstacles that came his way. I think this fortitude and toughness will do him good in his near future.”
Junior state runner-up Ian Crapp extended Fennimore’s lead to 23–6 with a 16–0 technical fall over Jordan Jahnke at Shiocton at 132.
“Out light weights are leaders,” said coach Steldt. “Brett, Amryn, Brecken, Ian and Jayden; the way they compete is just fun to watch. They attack. They scramble, and lucky for us they pin! Amryn’s pin was just marvelous. He knew he had one move to go to either tech and pin and he knows we want pins. His lateral drop with a 14–2 score is not only a momentum move but just Nutter style of letting it fly. I love it and the fans love it.”
Blake Carton earned the Chiefs’ third win with Blake Carton’s 6–0 win over Jayden Glassbrenner at 138, but sophomore Syler Zdanczewicz (3rd-place state place winner) got Fennimore back on track with a 6–2 win over Isaiah Carton at 145.
Senior Max Miles dropped an 11–6 decision at 152 but it was too little too late for the Chiefs.
Fennimore sophomore 160-pound individual state champion Tristan Steldt pinned Ben Kortens in 1:08 to officially secure Fennimore’s team victory in with a 37–12 lead and three matches remaining, despite losing a team point for taking his head gear off.
Shiocton got as close as 37–21 with a pair of close decisions at 170 and 182, but senior Cameron Wolf closed out Fennimore’s dominant victory in dominant fashion with a 2:21 pin of Dion Hesler to set off Fennimore’s championship team celebration.
“Cameron Wolf’s pin slammed the door shut,” said coach Steldt. “He know Cam wrestles best for the team and that’s why he really likes the sport is because of the team aspect.”
Fennimore’s state championship victory capped a perfect 17–0 season, which included SWAL duals, SWAL/Clash, regionals and team sectional titles.
“What a crazy year for this team,” said Steldt. “They were without their head coach for about a month. They had to miss one of the best tournaments in that same time period. There was a lot of anxiety and stress, but true to their character and our program, they rolled with the punches and persevered.
“Our motto is, ‘Embrace the Lifestyle,’ and I think this is very fitting for this team. This championship was perfected in the winter, but it was really earned by a core group of guys dedicating themselves to a lifestyle that is conducive to success and that lifestyle, that belief in be winners happens everyday, not just during season.
“This team is a team that rises to the occasion too. When the lights come on they like to perform. They look forward to the big stage. Much of this attitude is directly tied to their intense training. For example, Syler Zdanczewicz looks forward to breaking his opponent every chance he gets because he knows he out trains them. Ian is never phased by who he has because he believes he deserves what his training has earned him.”
Cameron Wolf (1:29, 195), junior Wyatt Miles (0:51, 220) and Gratz (1:30, 285) opened the 55–13 semifinal win over Stratford (15–3) and Fennimore never trailed.
Nutter (2:27, 120), Crapp (1:25, 132), Glasbrenner (3:22, 128) and Steldt (1:13, 160) also notched pins in the victory.
Brett Birchman on a 21–7 major decision at 113, and Muench at 126, 6–3, Zdanczewicz at 145, 3–0, and Miles at 152, 6–2, scored regular decisions for the Eagles.
Saturday was the final prep match for six Fennimore seniors, Brett Birchman, Muench, Glasbrenner, Miles, Konner Swatek and Cameron Wolf.
“Konner Swatek has always been our go to for a good laugh, to lighten the mood, and just being there as a reliable friend, teammate,” said Steldt. “Max and Jayden would of probably not been out due to past injuries in most programs, but their respect and willingness to commit to their teammates motivated to see to it that another state title came back to Fennimore.
“Cameron, as we all see, is our leader in the weight room. He also held the upper weights accountable on those hot summer days when they would rather not train.
“I can never say enough about Brett Birchman and Brecken Muench,” added Steldt. “Brett has been so dedicated the last four years and has really improved technically as well as mentally. His discipline to get to 113 purely for the team race shows how he respects and cares for his teammates, his friends.
“Brecken has been very similar. His daily commutes and often driving back and forth from Blue River two times per day for workouts really wears out a person. He did this for four years! Both Brecken and Brett stayed committed to the Fargo run as well throughout high school career which is a April to July training commitment. It is the type of commitment that really sits at the backbone of our program. It is also why it is so darn bittersweet to win this title; A new chapter for them and so many fond memories are now etched in our hearts and minds.”
WIAA Division 3 Team State Championships
(from Saturday, March 4 @ UW Field House)
Championship — Fennimore 43, Shiocton 18.
Semifinals — Fennimore 55, Stratford 13; Shiocton 43, Cedar Grove–Belgium 25
Division 3 State Championship Dual
#1 Fennimore 43, #2 Shiocton 18
220: CIlijah Sanchez (S) over Dalton Wolf (F) Dec 7-1. 285: Evan Gratz (F) won by forfeit. 106: Mason Demerath (S) over Cade Birchman (F) Dec 4-1. 113: Brett Birchman (F) over Izaiah Sanchez (S) Fall 1:16. 120: Amryn Nutter (F) over Scott Daniels (S) Fall 4:28. 126: Brecken Muench (F) over Zach Reif (S) Fall 2:53. 132: Ian Crapp (F) over Jordan Jahnke (S) TF 16-0. 138: Blake Carton (S) over Jayden Glasbrenner (F) Dec 6-0. 145: Syler Zdanczewicz (F) over Isaiah Carton (S) Dec 6-2. 152: Colten Schuh (S) over Max Miles (F) Dec 11-6. 160: Tristan Steldt (F) over Ben Kortens (S) Fall 1:08. 170: Dylan Herb (S) over Nathan Blaschke (F) Dec 12-7. 182: Brad Demerath (S) over Wyatt Ahnen (F) Dec 7-3. 195: Cameron Wolf (F) over Dion Helser (S) Fall 2:21.
Division 3 Semifinal Dual
#1 Fennimore 55, #4 Stratford 13
195: Cameron Wolf (F) over Mason Oertel (S) Fall 1:29. 220: Wyatt Miles (F) over Alex Mueller (S) Fall 0:51. 285: Evan Gratz (F) over Matt Kolb (S) Fall 1:30. 106: Colin Cournoyer (S) over Cade Birchman (F) Maj. Dec. 9-1. 113: Brett Birchman (F) over Lucas Forrest (S) Maj. Dec. 21-7. 120: Amryn Nutter (F) over Mathias Kaiser (S) Fall 2:27. 126: Brecken Muench (F) over Trenton Cournoyer (S) Dec 6-3. 132: Ian Crapp (F) over Cayden Leonhardt (S) Fall 1:25. 138: Jayden Glasbrenner (F) over Sawyer Grabow (S) Fall 3:22. 145: Syler Zdanczewicz (F) over Ryan Becker (S) Dec 3-0. 152: Max Miles (F) over Kaleb Krummel (S) Dec 6-2. 160: Tristan Steldt (F) over Jack Tubbs (S) Fall 1:13. 170: Carter Lueck (S) over Konner Swatek (F) Fall 1:11. 182: Jackson Ormond (S) over Wyatt Ahnen (F) Dec 3-1.