Hatchets shock Hodags for GNC title
The Hatchet grapplers completed an incredible Great Northern comeback when they locked up an unlikely conference title in Saturday’s GNC Tournament at Medford.
Rhinelander had suffered an upset loss to Mosinee the previous Thursday that opened the door for Tomahawk, and the Hatchets slammed it shut with an 80-point triumph over the Hodags at the GNC tourney. Tomahawk amassed 434 points to collect their 22nd conference title in school history and sixth in the last seven years.
“We really peaked at the right time” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “That loss to Rhinelander early in the year was the best thing that could happen to us. The kids got on fire and really wrestled well.
“Our kids were really excited. In 26 years of coaching, that was probably my best moment ever. We weren’t supposed to do it, but the kids weren’t prepared to hand it over.
“When we lost to them in the dual, head-to-head they beat us in 10 out of 14 matches. We beat them nine out of 14 on Saturday. We turned the tables completely around, and it was all the same kids. It’s not as if they lost kids for the season.
“It was a good day for Tomahawk wrestling.”
All 14 THS entries placed in the top four, and 13 ranked in the top three. The Hatchets crowned five champions and three missed by a single match as runners-up.
Collecting titles were: Kevin Zurfluh (103), Turner Wegener (120), Jake Borchardt (170), Henry Helland (182) and Austin Bellile (195). These were the second conference championships for Zurfluh and Bellile.
“Those kids really came to wrestle,” Garrou said. “Kevin pinned everybody and Henry pinned everybody, including a couple of kids that had beaten him in the dual season. Austin beat a kid that beat him during the year and the same thing happened at 170. Our kids didn’t back down.”
Placing second were Nate Flohr (126), Kaleb Kaminski (152) and Peter Pintens (160).
Third-place finishers included Cullen Wegener (113), Jacob McGuire (132), Bryan Tomek (138), Adam FauFau (220) and Mitchell Schauer (285). Quinton Wallenfang (145) was fourth.
The Hatchets’ big point total was enhanced by the sheer number of falls. They flattened 33 kids while giving up the pin in just eight instances.
“We pinned a ton of kids,” Garrou said. “That’s a lot of team points.
“We also won 23 out of 28 matches in the last two rounds. When you win that many matches, you’re going to win (the tournament). I’m just really happy with how the kids performed.”
The Hatchets took their first lead of the tourney after the fourth round, by a 14-point spread. Then they took charge with an 11-3 mark in the fifth and final round, pinning in seven of the 11 victories.
On the day. THS grapplers posted a 54-16 mark, and secured 60 of 91 takedowns.
Team standings-Tomahawk 434, Rhinelander 354, Medford 318, Mosinee 290, Lakeland 147, Antigo 119.