MADISON — Emeric Williams’ first season as Belmont/Platteville’s head wrestling coach came to an end Saturday after a successful showing at the WIAA Individual State Tournament at the Kohl Center.
Junior Will Schaefer wrestled his way to a fifth-place finish at 195 pounds in Division 2, while sophomore Michael Douglas went 1–2 at 285 pounds and gained valuable experience that will serve him going forward.
Schaefer (43–6), ranked fifth entering the state tournament, made his state tournament with a first period pin of Grafton’s Alec Davis in Thursday night’s opening round.
He then suffered a quarterfinal loss to eventual state champion Stephen Buchanan of Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal before Friday morning before bouncing back with a 7–0 victory in the consolation round later in the day.
Then after, a 5–4 loss to Campbellsport’s Matt Koebl Saturday morning, Schaefer capped his state tournament run with a pin of Ellsworth’s Logan Melstrom in the fifth-place match.
“Placing his first time qualifying for the state tournament is a huge accomplishment for Will,” said coach Williams. “He finished his season with a fall in the second period to earn his fifth place finish. Talking with Will after the tournament, he is very happy to have placed fifth, but is also not content with it, and has a big goal for next season, one which we both believe can be accomplished.”
Douglas (36–15) opened his first state tournament with an 2–1 overtime victory over Wrightstown’s Ethan Witcpalek Thursday night, but unfortunately suffered a concussion just 45 seconds into his quarterfinal match against eventual state champion Logan Zschernitz (46–0) of Spencer/Columbus Catholic Friday morning. Douglas had to forfeit the match, as well as his consolation match later that day.
“Michael won his first match on Thursday night in overtime and was looking real good, but unfortunately suffered a concussion in his next match on Friday morning, which ended his state tournament run,” said Williams. “I believe Michael is good enough to be on that state podium, unfortunately, it did not work out that way. Having him qualify as a sophomore and getting state experience in early is going to be a big advantage for him moving into his next two years.”
Looking back at his first year as head coach, Williams is happy, but by no means satisfied.
“During my first season as head coach, we had 247 individual varsity wins, and 142 of those wins were bonus point wins,” said Williams. “We had five sectional qualifiers, two state qualifiers, and one state place-winner. The kids bought in to the new coaches from day one and it really showed all season long. With only nine or 10 kids in the varsity lineup consistently, we were still competing for team trophies every weekend.
“If we continue to believe in ourselves and keep battling against everyone we wrestle, we will see some good things happen in the coming years. I am very proud of the team this year and with 12 kids returning next year we are expecting more success to come at the team level as well as individual next season.”
WIAA Division 2 State Tournament
(from Feb. 21–23 @ Kohl Center, Madison)
Top 10 team scores — 1.Luxemburg-Casco 84, 2.Two Rivers 64, 3.Ellsworth 60, 4.Freedom 49, 5.Wrightstown 48, 6.River Valley 37.5, 7.Baldwin-Woodville 36, 8.Jefferson 34, 9.Nekoosa/Assumption/Port Edwards 32, 9.Spooner/Webster 32, 9.Viroqua 32.
Belmont/Platteville state qualifiers
D2-195 — Will Schaefer (43-6) placed 5th and scored 12.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Will Schaefer (Belmont/Platteville) 43-6 won by fall over Alec Davis (Grafton) 34-9 (Fall 1:59)
Quarterfinal - Stephen Buchanan (Neillsville/Greenw./Loyal) 48-0 won by fall over Will Schaefer (Belmont/Platteville) 43-6 (Fall 3:32)
Cons. Round 1 - Will Schaefer (Belmont/Platteville) 43-6 won by decision over Gabe Wertel (Denmark) 44-2 (Dec 7-0)
Cons. Semi - Matt Koelbl (Campbellsport) 42-4 won by decision over Will Schaefer (Belmont/Platteville) 43-6 (Dec 5-4)
5th Place Match - Will Schaefer (Belmont/Platteville) 43-6 won by fall over Logan Melstrom (Ellsworth) 28-9 (Fall 2:01)
D2-285 — Michael Douglas (36-15) place is unknown and scored 2.0 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Michael Douglas (Belmont/Platteville) 36-15 won in tie breaker - 1 over Ethan Witcpalek (Wrightstown) 36-12 (TB-1 2-1)
Quarterfinal - Logan Zschernitz (Spencer/Columbus Cath.) 46-0 won by injury default over Michael Douglas (Belmont/Platteville) 36-15 (Inj. 0:45)
Cons. Round 1 - Isaiah Hahm (Wisconsin Lutheran) 35-12 won by forfeit over Michael Douglas (Belmont/Platteville) 36-15 (For.)