LANCASTER – Black Hawk sophomore Colin Novak was one of the few wrestlers without the name Lancaster, Mineral Point or Iowa-Grant/Highland written across the front of a singlet to advance to sectionals after finishing second in the 113-pound weight class at the WIAA Division 3 Regional Meet held at Lancaster High School on Saturday, Feb. 9.
Lancaster secured nine sectional qualifiers on the way to the team title with 278.5 points at their own regional meet, while runner-up Mineral Point (217.5) and third-place finisher Iowa-Grant/Highland (198) each garnered eight sectional spots leaving just three berths available for the other four teams.
Fennimore (143) grabbed two of the remaining berths en route to a fourth-place finish, while Black Hawk took the final spot to take fifth with 98 points. Darlington (59) and Pecatonica/Argyle (52) did not qualify a wrestler for sectionals.
Novak (32-8) made his way to the finals with an opening round bye and a 5:48 pin of Lancaster’s Dustin Reynolds in the semifinal round. MP’s Reid Suddeth captured the 113 title by pinning Novak in 4:11, but Novak avoided the wrestleback when Reynolds won his third-place match.
“It’s tough in this regional. You have to be ready to go. Colin was battling some nerves and things were iffy against Reynolds, but he got him on his back in the third period and pinned him,” said Black Hawk head coach Jim Seffrood. “He’s got a nice draw at sectionals and is on the good side of the bracket. Hopefully, his season will go on.”
Novak is matched against Necedah sophomore August Pintarro (31-6) in his opening round match at 113 at next Saturday’s D-3 Individual Sectional Meet in Mineral Point. Novak pinned Pintarro in the championship match at the Scenic, Ridge & Rivers tri-conference meet on Feb. 2.
Freshman Joe Quinn (16-17) had a wrestleback opportunity at 106 after pinning Fennimore’s Jason Wolf in 1:15 in a third-place match, but the Warrior got pinned by IG/H’s Shania Sarbacker in 1:25 to slip back into third.
Other thirds for the Warriors went to junior Jared Pickett (32-9) at 120, sophomore Beau Holland (21-16) at 132 and junior Dakota Meier (33-8) at 145.
Seniors Kyle Walters (7-13) at 152 and Logan Stietz (16-25) at 160 each placed fourth, while sophomore Dean Schlittler (5-24) at 195 and senior Mike Powers (13-11) at 285 added sixths for the Warriors.
“The kids looked very sharp most of the day. Those first and second place kids at this regional are a different caliber of wrestler than some of the other regionals,” Seffrood noted.
Senior Alex Schulte (24-10) went 2-2 on the day to take third at 170 for Darlington, but he didn’t get a wrestleback opportunity after losing to Fennimore’s Dalton Miles in a semifinal match. Miles was pinned by Lancaster’s David Chadd in the title match.
Sophomore Brandon Aardahl (8-19) at 120, senior Patrick Roche (12-12) at 132 and sophomore Zach Wolf (18-16) at 285 added fourths for the ‘Birds. Junior Kyrin Halvorson (12-17) at 126 and senior Nathan Fleming (2-20) at 138 placed fifth, while sophomores Casey Lobdell (11-23) at 145 and Slade Norton (3-14) at 160 finished sixth.
In one of the more notable losses of the day (which was actually more of a win for everyone involved), Schlittler got pinned by Pecatonica/Argyle’s Ben Meyer a minute and 34 seconds into their fifth-place match at 195.
Meyer, a senior, is an autistic young man with social, cognitive and learning disabilities who has been wrestling for many years and has become sort of a folk-hero in the wrestling community for his dynamic attitude and his rousing renditions of the national anthem.
Realizing a win was more important for Meyer in his final prep match, the Warrior sophomore decided along with his coaches to give his opponent the chance to go out a winner.
Meyer took the opportunity with an early takedown; and then, with the crowd on their feet, Schlittler allowed the Viking to pin his shoulders to the mat setting off a scene most will not forgot.
“It was very nice to see. Ben had such a big smile on his face as they raised his hand to both sides of the gym. It was rewarding to see that gym come unglued like that. His mom was there crying at the edge of the mat,” said Seffrood, who has known Ben’s dad, Chuck, an assistant coach at Pec/Argyle, for many years.
The standing ovation that followed the match was as much for Schlittler as it was for Meyer, according to his coach.
“It takes a big person with a big heart to do something like that, and I commend Dean for doing that,” explained Seffrood about his young wrestler, who he also noted has done this for Meyer before. “I left it up to him, and he was all for it. Being Ben’s senior year and his last match, he wanted to let him win it. It was a great way to end his season.”
The WIAA Division 2 individual sectional meet will be held at Mineral Point High School, on Saturday, Feb. 16, starting at 10 a.m. The top three finishers in each weight class advance to the 2013 WIAA State Tournament to be held at the Kohl Center in Madison on Feb. 21-23.
2013 WIAA DIVISION 3 REGIONAL MEET
Team Standings: Lancaster 278.5, Mineral Point 217.5, Iowa-Grant 198, Fennimore 143, Black Hawk 98, Darlington 59, Pecatonica/Argyle 52.
Black Hawk Individual Results: 106-pounds- 3- Joe Quinn, 2-2; 113- 1- Colin Novak, 3-0; 120- 3- Jared Pickett, 1-1; 126- 3- Beau Holland, 2-1; 145- 3- Dakota Meier, 1-1; 152- 4- Kyle Walters, 1-2; 160- 4- Logan Stietz, 1-2; 170- Taime Paul, 0-2; 195- 6- Dean Schlittler, 0-2; 285- 6- Mike Powers, 0-2.
Darlington Individual Results: 120-pounds- 4- Brandon Aardahl, 1-2; 126- 5- Kyrin Halvorson, 2-1; 132- 4- Patrick Roche, 1-2; 138- 5- Nathan Fleming, 2-1; 145- 6- Casey Lobdell, 0-2; 160- 6- Slade Norton, 0-2; 170- 3- Alex Schulte, 2-1; 285- 4- Zach Wolf, 1-2.
At Lancaster HS, on Saturday, Feb. 9