MADISON – Darlington/Black Hawk freshmen Hunter Bredeson and Kolbe Ubersox took a lot away from their brief appearance at the 2016 WIAA Individual State Wrestling Meet held at UW-Madison’s Kohl Center on Feb. 25-27.
The WarBirds duo had just one chance each on the state mats after getting pinned in their preliminary matches on Thursday evening, but the experience they gained leading up to the tournament and at the state meet will pay dividends from themselves and the team for years to come.
“The state meet did not go the way we hoped obviously but the experience was incredibly important to their development,” said WarBirds co-head coach Tom Donar. “Looking towards the future, these two will look to take leadership roles by working hard in practice and performing on the mat. It is not often we send two freshmen to the tournament, so we can definitely build around them.”
Bredeson (25-15, ranked #12 in Division 3) had a difficult time finding scoring opportunities in his 113-pound preliminary match against Cochrane-Fountain City freshman Max Dascher (31-9, #9). The Pirate grappler built up an 8-0 lead heading into the third period, and then pinned #12-ranked Bredeson in 5:54 to end his stay at state.
Random Lake junior Josh Depies (39-4, #2) pinned Dascher in 3:55 in a quarterfinal match at 113, and Depies advanced to the finals before falling to Fennimore’s Riley Lull by a score of 7-0 to finish second.
Dascher also lost his wrestleback match by a 4-2 decision to Spring Valley/Elmwood junior Dylan Bune (38-13, #10).
“I thought Hunter’s match was winnable, but I knew he would have to wrestle well to pull it off. It showed us that we have room for improvement between now and next season and our goal next year will most definitely to get out of the first round,” stated Donar.
Ubersox (34-11, #9) had a tough draw in his 120-pound preliminary match as he went up against Stratford sophomore A.J Schoenfuss (45-3, #6) on Thursday night. Schoenfuss, a 2015 D3 state champion at 106, pinned the WarBird freshman in 3:44, and then advanced on to capture the 120 state title by pinning Laconia sophomore Zachary Foth (41-8, #3) in 1:19 in the quarterfinals, defeating SV/E junior Seth Schlegel (38-6, #1) by a 4-2 decision in the semifinals and beating Fennimore sophomore Riley Blair (25-5, #2) in the finals on Saturday night.
Blair took second and Schlegel placed third in the weight class.
“(Kolbe) knows he has a long ways to go before he can compete for a state title, but I know that is his goal for next season. I think he could have placed in the top six had he drawn almost anybody else for the first round,” Donar commented.
The WarBirds finished the season with a winning dual meet record, a regional team title and team sectional appearance, two wrestlers who had 30+ wins and seven others who had 20+ wins (all but three who will return next season), eight individual sectional qualifiers (including six underclassmen) and state freshmen state qualifiers. All in all, not a bad year for the co-op; and there is plenty to build on for the future.
“Overall, we had a good season. We could have one two or three more dual meets, but we still got the win at regionals, which was the number one goal from the beginning,” said Donar. “For our individuals, we did not have any happy endings for our juniors and seniors, which is unfortunate. We will use it to help us learn in the future to be better prepared for the end of the season.”