MADISON — Highland freshman Drew Hennessey emerged from a pack of four talented Iowa–Grant/Highland state qualifiers to steal the spotlight at this weekend’s 73rd Annual WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament.
Hennessey upset second-ranked Micah Johnson of Boyceville in Friday’s night’s Division 3 semifinals en route to a second-place finish at 170 pounds.
Iowa–Grant sophomore Brady Peat finished fifth at 160 pounds, while returning state qualifiers Sawyer Sarbacker (113) and Max Maylor (132) suffered frustrating first-round losses and did not place.
Hennessey (32–11), who finished third at the Mineral Point Sectional a week earlier, opened his first state tournament with a 10–6 first-round victory over Kewaunee’s Sam Severin (37–5) Thursday night.
He then defeated fifth-ranked junior Alex Lemanski (32–8) of Edgar 5–2 in Friday morning’s quarterfinal round to earn a showdown with Johnson (22–4), who finished third at 152 pounds a year ago.
“In the semis, Drew had a returning state place-winner and Drew knew he was going to come out fast,” said Allen. “The kid hit a shot right away and Drew countered with a throw to put him on his back and got the pin in 40 seconds. It was probably one of the most electrifying matches I’ve ever been a part of.”
Hennessey suffered a last-second 3–1 loss to Random Lake junior Helton Vanderbush (47–3) in Saturday’s championship match.
With about 30 seconds left Hennessey had a single leg way up in the air.
“Drew just ran out of room and couldn’t finish that takedown and they went out of bounds,” said I–G/Highland head coach Ryan Allen. “Then, with about 10 second left, [Vanderbush] got in on our leg and dumped us right on our butt for the takedown and that was the match.
“Drew wrestled a great tournament,” Allen. “He wrestled aggressively and fearlessly. He went into the tourney with a plan to win it and he almost did it.”
Peat (39–10) scored a second-period pin of Edgar’s Will Raatz in his first state tournament match during Thursday’s opening round.
He then suffered a 7–4 loss to eventual runner-up Zach Coffeen (47–4) of Laconia in Friday’s quarterfinal round.
After a consolation victory over Mineral Point’s Riley Workman and a 6–5 consolation loss to Bonduel’s Jacob Banker, Peat closed the state tournament with 10–2 major decision over Saint Croix Falls’ Luke Clark in Saturday’s fifth-place match.
“I thought Brady also had a good tournament,” said Allen. “Brady has worked very hard all season and he knew it and wrestled like it. Although I’m sure he would have liked to place higher I think he did a good job, especially in his last match. It can be hard to rebound after a loss at the state tournament, but he came out and majored a tough kid for fifth.”
Sarbacker finished his season 39–9 after a 5–2 first-round loss to Dylan Bune (37–11) of Spring Valley/Elmwood.
“Sawyer has wrestled well all year, so I don’t think this match defines his season but it does hurt,” said Allen. “He has put in a lot of time and I hope this loss can push him to place high next year.”
Maylor, who placed sixth at 126 a year ago, finished his sophomore season 40–8, after a 16–8 first-round loss to Chequamegon’s Hunter Schienebeck.
“I don’t know if it was nerves, pressure, or what; but he just never got it going,” said Allen. “Like Sawyer, it was a bad match but it doesn’t define his season. Max has a lot of big wins this year as well as a few tournament championships. I really hope Max learns from this match and next year comes out firing.”
WIAA Division 3 State Championships
(from Feb. 25–27 @ Kohl Center, Madison)
Iowa–Grant/Highland state qualifiers
113 — Sawyer Sarbacker (39-9) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Dylan Bune (Spring Valley/Elmw.) 37-11 won by decision over Sawyer Sarbacker (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 39-9 (Dec 5-2)
132 — Max Maylor (40-8) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Hunter Schienebeck (Chequamegon) 37-9 won by major decision over Max Maylor (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 40-8 (MD 16-8)
160 — Brady Peat (39-10) placed 5th and scored 12.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Brady Peat (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 39-10 won by fall over Will Raatz (Edgar) 31-11 (Fall 3:38)
Quarterfinal - Zach Coffeen (Laconia) 47-4 won by decision over Brady Peat (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 39-10 (Dec 7-4)
Cons. Round 1 - Brady Peat (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 39-10 won by major decision over Riley Workman (Mineral Point) 28-20 (MD 10-0)
Cons. Semi - Jacob Banker (Bonduel) 41-9 won by decision over Brady Peat (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 39-10 (Dec 6-5)
5th Place Match - Brady Peat (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 39-10 won by major decision over Luke Clark (Saint Croix Falls) 39-5 (MD 10-2)
170 — Drew Hennessey (32-11) placed 2nd and scored 20.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Drew Hennessey (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 32-11 won by decision over Sam Severin (Kewaunee) 37-5 (Dec 10-6)
Quarterfinal - Drew Hennessey (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 32-11 won by decision over Alex Lemanski (Edgar) 32-8 (Dec 5-2)
Semifinal - Drew Hennessey (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 32-11 won by fall over Micah Johnson (Boyceville) 22-4 (Fall 0:40)
1st Place Match - Helton Vandenbush (Random Lake) 47-3 won by decision over Drew Hennessey (Iowa-Grant/Highland) 32-11 (Dec 3-1)