LANCASTER – Though the Flying Arrows weren’t able to take a team regional title away from Fennimore last Saturday at home, they were able to crown two regional champions and advance six wrestlers on to this weekend’s division 3 sectional meet held in Mineral Point.
Coach Brad Sturmer’s squad finished last Saturday’s D3 Lancaster Regional with a team score of 198, which earned them second place behind the Golden Eagles, who scored 255.5 total points and moved on to this past Tuesday night’s team sectional.
Coach Kyle Johnstone’s River Ridge/Cassville co-op squad scored 34 team points with seven wrestlers, and got one individual through to the sectional meet.
Six of Lancaster’s 14 wrestlers extended their season by placing among the top two of their respective weight class, two of which claimed regional titles and the other four finishing as runners-up.
“We went into the regional with a total team concept, trying to come out of there first as a team, but obviously that didn’t transpire,” said coach Brad Sturmer. “But in reflecting afterward, I thought the day went pretty well, individually to get six out was nice.”
Collecting individual regional titles for the Flying Arrows were 106-pound freshman Remington Bontreger and senior heavyweight Tyler Hale.
Bontreger goes into Saturday’s sectional meet with a season record of 37-4 after going 3-0 last Saturday.
In his championship match, Bontreger defeated Fennimore’s Brody Lee (32-12) by a score of 9-4. He will open sectional action against Kobe Grossman (24-14) of Marshall, with the winner taking on Nolan McKittrick (38-8) of Royall.
Hale won the heavyweight division in exciting fashion last Saturday, improving his season record to 34-9 with a third-period pin of River Ridge/Cassville’s Ben Wheeler (27-8) in his championship match.
Wheeler, who is a state qualifier from a year ago, had beaten Hale earlier in the year by a score of 3-2 at the Darlington/Black Hawk Invite.
The two squared off again on Saturday for the 285-pound championship, and it looked as if Wheeler was on his way to a regional title with a 7-2 lead over Hale late in the third period.
Then, with 30 seconds to go, Hale put Wheeler on his back and collected a pin with 22.5 seconds to go in the match to steal the regional title.
Hale will kick off the sectional tournament against Cameron Johnson (2-12) of North Crawford/Seneca, while Wheeler will take on Charlie Langeberg (16-10) of Aquinas.
Wrestling in Saturday’s championship round, but finishing second in their weight class were: 113-pound freshman Carter Lull, 145-pound junior Collin Lull, 182-pound junior Troy Klein and 195-pound sophomore Caden Straka.
Carter Lull just might be the biggest surprise of Lancaster’s sectional qualifiers, who advances with a season record of 15-8.
“As far as surprises go, you look at a kid like Carter, who started the year wrestling on junior varsity, and now all of a sudden last week is a conference champion and is moving on to sectionals. Individually that is quite a turn-around for him,” said coach Sturmer.
Lull lost by pin to Fennimore’s Mason Lull (12-2) in his championship match after beating Alec Zimmer, 2-0, of Iowa-Grant/Highland in the semifinals.
He will start his sectional tournament against Tagan Starkey (14-10) of North Crawford/Seneca.
Collin Lull, who has a season record of 18-11, lost his championship match to Riley Blair (23-2) of Fennimore by technical fall. He will start his sectional tournament off against Korben Brown (19-12) of Orfordville/Parkview.
Klein currently has a season record of 35-6 after suffering a 9-1 loss to Brady Peat (38-3) of Iowa-Grant/Highland in his regional championship match.
Klein will first take the mat against Peter Riley (17-6) of Aquinas at Saturday’s sectional.
Straka takes with him into the sectional meet a season record of 29-9, and will first match up against Cade Nettesheim (32-7) of Ithaca/Weston.
Last Saturday, Straka defeated Fennimore’s Brayden Leffler by a score of 8-4 in his semifinal match, after Leffler had beaten Straka a week earlier at the conference clash.
In his regional championship match, Straka was pinned in the second period by Riverdale’s Caleb Johnson (42-2).
Coach Sturmer feels confident all six of his sectional qualifiers have a good shot at advancing to the state meet, considering how strong their regional is, and that the top three from Saturday’s meet move on.
“Our regional in general, is by far the strongest of the four regionals that go to our sectional,” Sturmer said. “If you can make it out of our regional, it’s obviously not a guarantee, but it really bodes well for moving on to the next level.”
“It will be interesting to see this Saturday at sectionals, how many kids from our regional will move on to the state tournament,” Sturmer added. “You just see a lot of times over recent years that there’s a pretty good success rate from the kids that come out of our regional.”
Saturday’s sectional meet will be held at Mineral Point High School, with first-round action slated to begin at 10 a.m.