MADISON — Belmont/Platteville freshman Isaac Wiegel has endured a steep learning curve during his impressive rookie campaign, so it’s not surprising his first state match taught him a valuable lesson.
Wiegel’s state experience was short-lived after getting pinned by Barron junior Quincy Stephens in 5:07 of their Division 2 106-pound preliminary match at the 2015 WIAA State Wrestling Meet held at UW-Madison’s Kohl Center on Thursday, Feb. 26.
Stephens (35-10) trailed Wiegel (33-10) by a score of 3-2 with just over a minute remaining in their match when the Belmont freshman was called for locked hands, which would have tied the match at three all had the match been stopped right there.
Instead, Stephens took advantage of his “free move” opportunity to try and escape the freshman’s grasp, In the ensuing scramble, the long and lean Golden Bear grappler got Wiegel in an awkward position on his back and scored a surprising defensive pin with 53 seconds remaining in the match.
“That kid was a scrambler and he knew that position where Isaac, as a freshman, didn’t,” said Belmont/Platteville head coach Andrew Campbell. “He got put in a situation he wasn’t used to being in and he came out on the short end of it. Hopefully he gets this out of the way as a freshman and can build on it in the years to come. He’s a fighter. He has no quit in him.”
Wiegel is just the second freshman in Belmont wrestling history to advance to the state tournament, and the experience was a little overwhelming for him as he took the mats in front of the large crowd just minutes after the D2 meet began.
“As a freshman, I wanted to soak it all in,” Wiegel commented. “It was a tough first match. That’s what I get for being a freshman and not knowing what’s coming at me. It’s definitely a motivation for me to get back here next season.”
Campbell noted that the strides Wiegel made during the season were greater than those of many of the other wrestlers, and he also noted that he feels Wiegel has a lot more potential to grow in the sport if he puts the work in during the off-season.
“I think he has the right mindset going forward. He’s going to have a great career,” stated Campbell. “He has a lot more room to grow than a lot of kids. For someone who qualified for state as a freshman, that says a lot.”
Only 50 of this year’s 560 state qualifiers were freshmen (nine percent), and of those rookies only 20 finished on the medal stand (eight percent).
Stephens lost an 8-0 major decision to Denmark sophomore Brock Bergelin (45-1) in a quarterfinal match at 106, and then dropped a 7-4 decision to Ellsworth freshman Owen Matzek (39-12) in his consolation match.
Bergelin advanced to win the 106-pound title with a 3-0 decision over Mosinee sophomore Josh Ehster (37-8) in the championship match on Saturday. River Valley’s Zach Licht (43-9) finished fourth in the class, while Matzek placed sixth.
WIAA Division 2 State Championships
(from Feb. 26–28 @ Kohl Center, Madison)
Belmont/Platteville state qualifiers
106 — Isaac Wiegel (33-10) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Quincy Stephens (Barron) 35-10 won by fall over Isaac Wiegel (Belmont/Platteville) 33-10 (Fall 5:07)