The young Hatchet wrestling team used balance, depth and improved performance to lock down a pair of lop-sided home dual meet victories and a runner-up finish in Saturday’s 17-team Rebel Invite in Wabeno.
“Our kids are wrestling well,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “We’re starting fast. We only wrestle one senior, maybe two, and we’re wrestling state-ranked kids and wrestling them tough. We’re giving them the work they need in practice and they’re improving quickly.
“It’s neat to see kids believing in it. Our kids believe they should win and they have confidence in the coaching staff because we’ve been here so long. We’re only going to get better.”
The Hatchets had a shot to win before getting edged 212-196 to Reedsville.
“Going into the last round we were ahead by 10 points, but we only won two of our last 12 matches,” Garrou said. “But it’s hard to be disappointed when you have six in the finals with only one senior (Henry Helland). We lost to kids that were better than us and they are taking away a whole bunch of learning.”
Tomahawk was unable to grab a title, but Blake Carstensen (113), Chase Erdman (126), Nate Flohr (145), Kaleb Kaminski (170), Helland (195) and Jake Borchardt (220) all earned runner-up finishes. Peter Pintens (182) placed third, and Cullen Wegener (120), Quinton Wallenfang (160) ranked fourth and Bryce Bishop (132) was fifth. Tasha Carstensen, Keagan Jach (138), Blake Mueller (152) and John Rupel (285) didn’t place, although Jach went 2-2.
Team standings– Reedsville 212, Tomahawk 196, Norway 179.5, Crandon 126, Elcho 111, Athens 108.5, Cedar Grove/Belgium 104.5, Crivitz 93, Kewaunee 78, Wausau East 69, Florence 63, Three Lakes 61, Coleman 49, Wabeno/Laona 48, Kingsford 40, Bark River 27, St. John`s NWern 22
Tomahawk topped Athens 56-21 on Tuesday, then crushed Ashland 70-3 on Thursday.
Against the Bluejays, THS rebounded from an 18-3 deficit with a tech fall from Wallenfang (15-0), pins from Kaminski (:30) and Borchardt (:40), a medical forfeit to Rupel and four forfeits to close the match. Flohr took an early 4-0 win. Erdman (:27), Jach (3:57) and Mueller (1:00) were pinned. The Carstensens, Wegener and Tim Pennington (126) received the forfeits.
The Hatchets built a 58-0 lead over the Oredockers before dropping a decision. Falls were registered by Wallenfang (3:16), Pintens (1:09), Helland (:57), Borchardt (:30 at 285), and Jach (3:17). Kaminski (16-6) earned a major, and Rupel (3-1 at 220) and Wegener (9-7) both pulled out overtime wins. Flohr, Mueller, the Carstensens and Dakota Tomek (132) received forfeits. Erdman was nipped 6-5.
“Unfortunately, around the state this year you see a lot of forfeits,” Garrou said. “Among the big teams, even some of the perennial powers are giving forfeits. The teams with full teams are going to win the dual.
“I talked to the lady who does the skin-fold testing and she said of all the teams she tested in northern Wisconsin, there were only three teams with 30 kids–Merrill, Tomahawk and Wausau West. It’s a bit of a trend we hopefully can fix.”