Jays and Hatchets grab top spots in Bluejay Challenge
A second-place finish in Saturday’s 24-team Bluejay Challenge was a mild disappointment to the Merrill wrestlers, mostly out of tradition, since it represented a up-surge for this season.
The Hatchets worked their way to a strong fourth.
Both squads worked solid dual wins on Thursday.
“Our kids were putting together better matches,” MHS coach Scott Arneson said. “It’s hard to win a tournament if you don’t have 14 weight classes filled. We were giving up three forfeits. We’ve won it since it began, so it would have been nice to do it again.”
The Jays haven’t had a 106-pounder this year and illness killed two other classes last week.
The ones who did wrestle came up big. Devon Schultz (120), Scott T. Arneson (138) and Mason Reinhardt (170) all racked up championships, with Arneson and Reinhardt ranking 1-2 for the tourney MVP award. Aidan Ball finished second at 113.
“Scottie has been working hard for a long time so it’s nice coaches recognized him,” Arneson said. “Mason would have been the runner-up. It’s neat people recognize two kids from our program.
“Devon and Aidan both started to turn the corner on Saturday. Devon’s got a motor.”
All 11 Jays ranked in the top eight, including Tanner Pettit (4th, 145), Brady Schmelling (6th, 132), Collin Zoellner (6th, 220), Christian Kleinschmidt (6th, 285), Lucas Lee (7th, 160), Riley Kurtz (8th, 182) and Seth Collins (8th, 195).
The Hatchets’ Kaleb Kaminski improved to 28-0 on the season while wrapping up the 182-pound title. Nate Flohr (152) ranked second and Dane Borchardt (195) and Jake Borchardt (220) finished third. Other Hatchet finishes included: Slade Erdman (4th, 170), Cullen Wegener (7th, 126), Keagan Jach (7th, 138), Dakota Tomek (7th, 145), Jake Phifell (9th, 170), Blake Carstensen (10th, 120), Matt Turkewitz (11th, 132), Brady Anderson (12th, 113), Blake Mueller (12th, 160), Jake Schaper (13th, 285) and Tyler Wittman (19th, 160).
“We did good,” THS coach Bob Garrou said. “I was happy. Arnie always runs a nice tournament. Our kids performed well and they’re improving fast.
“We’re teaching Kaleb how to keep pouring it on and he’s listening. Both Borchardts and Nate Flohr wrestled very well.”
Team standings– Wittenberg-Birnamwood 432, Merrill 391, Southern Door 373.5, Tomahawk 351, Spencer 350.5, Escanaba 332.5, Sun Prairie 300.5, Oconto 280, Crandon 219, Waterloo 199, Barron 193, Green Bay Preble/East 180, Adams Friendship 178, Almond Bancroft/Pacelli 152, Lakeland 147, Waukesha West 146, Marathon 140, Amherst 138.5, Ozaukee 126.5, Tri-County 107, La Crosse Aquinas 86, Three Lakes 65, Elcho 33, Xavier/St. Mary Central 22.
The Bluejays dropped Wausau West 42-24, only giving up two forfeits after the fourth bout.
“A win in the Valley is always huge,” Arneson said. “West has got a good program, so any time you can beat them is a good time. We were in most of the matches with a chance to win. The kids are starting to wrestle better as a team.”
Pettit (1:14), Kleinschmidt (1:00) and Ball (3:27) pulled pins, while West forfeited to Arneson and Reinhardt. Zoellner (5-3), Schultz (3-2), and Hunter Welch (6-4) won decisions.
Lee (7-2) and Collins (8-4) lost decisions and Kurtz (2:22) was pinned.
Robin red bested
The Hatchets handled Antigo on Thursday, turning a 19-9 match into a 56-12 rout.
“That was the best we wrestled all year,” Garrou said. “Antigo was undefeated in the Great Northern and we took it to them. We ended up dominating. All 11 JV wrestlers won by pin and we kept it going the rest of the night.”
Pins came from Jake Borchardt (1:22) Anderson (:44), Wegener (1:52), Jach (5:26), Tomek (3:35) and Kaminski (2:29). Major decisions were collected by Dane Borchardt (13-0), Mueller (10-0) and Wallenfang (15-2), and Carstensen prevailed 14-11. Trevor Thieme (126, 9-6) and Flohr (6-5) were decisioned, and Isaac Tomek (106, 4:33) was pinned.