Dynamic duo on to state for THS
One week after a less-than-satisfying regional showing, the Hatchet wrestlers jumped their performance in a big way and qualified two underclassmen for the big show.
Sophomore Austin Bellile (189) and junior Payton DuPlayee (215) both worked runner-up finishes in Saturday’s 23-team WIAA Waupaca Sectional.
“I think we wrestled as good as we could,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “It was a tough sectional. We didn’t wrestle anybody that didn’t make it to state, so it’s hard to be disappointed.
“Turner (Wegener) beat a kid that beat him last year that went to state, and then he lost to two state qualifiers. Mitch (McAllister) and (Nate) ‘Harvey’ (Kuehn) both lost to two state qualifiers.”
Bellile (37-6) pulled a pin and 10-6 win before losing 8-3 to Freedom’s 37-9 Ben Beyer. There was no wrestleback.
Duplayee (46-4) dropped a 5-1 opener, then rebounded with 17-5 and 3-1 decisions, and took second by injury default.
“I expect both to medal,” Garrou said. “Hopefully they both wrestle to their ability and do some damage.
“That experience they both will get is going to make them even better next year. We’re excited. That experience should help them be better leaders next year.”
Garrou had hoped Kuehn would reach state.
“It’s sad to see his year end,” he said. “He was a two-time sectional qualifier. He’s a great kid with a great attitude, and he was a great leader. You really hate to see those kids graduate.
“He did what he could. He was 70 pounds light for his (285) weight class.”
Kuehn (33-10) was pinned twice. Wegener (112, 41-10) took a 12-7 win over Sturgeon Bay’s Cole Nebel, then lost 9-0 and in 3:06. McAllister (160, 38-9) pinned in 3:17 before losing 20-8 and 7-2.
Tomahawk finished 8th with 28 points, just a half-point behind Two Rivers. Luxemburg-Casco (106) topped Oconto Falls (95) for the title, and Wrightstown (50.5) was a distant third.
Bellile will open state with Melrose-Mindoro’s 40-4 Jorey Dobbs. DuPlayee will meet Omro’s 34-2 Zach Baehman. Both will wrestle their first round on Thursday night in Maison’s Kohl Center.