Iribarren places third at WIAA State Wrestling Tournament
The Merrill varsity wrestling team was able to send one wrestler to the WIAA Division 1 State tournament this season, as heavyweight (285 pound class) Zach Iribarren dominated all year long, going 44-2 in the regular season. Iribarren would continue his dominance in the regional tournament and the sectional tournament, going undefeated in both events.
At the state tournament Iribarren got off to a great start, pinning Jay Hanson of Verona in just one minute. In his second match Iribarren would face off with the top ranked heavyweight in Wisconsin, Max Meeuwsen of Bay Port, who would get the best of Iribarren by 3-2 decision. Meeuwsen would go on to take first place in the tournament and with the loss, Iribarren wouldn’t be able to finish any better than third place.
Following his loss to the eventual champion, Iribarren would go on a tear and wrestle his way to a third place finish.
Iribarren’s third match of the tournament saw him pin Cassius Rohadfox of Sheboygan North in just 1:41. In his next match Iribarren would get the pin on Kyle Freund of Badger in 1:49. Iribarren then matched up against John Champe of Brookfield East. Champe put up a solid effort, however Iribarren was able to secure the 6-1 decision the make it to the third place match where he wrestled Tyler Pitcel of Mukwonago. Iribarren would get the quick finish, pinning Pitcel in 2:44 to secure third place.
“It’s pretty incredible what Zach was able to accomplish in four years, seeing how he didn’t even start wrestling until he was a freshman,” said Merrill head coach Brian Suchocki. “Starting any sport late, you put yourself at a disadvantage so to become one of the best wrestlers in the state in just four years is amazing.”
“I think Zach should also be recognized for how great his sportsmanship is,” continued Suchocki. “He was so great with all of the media and the fans and other wrestlers, even other coaches started to notice. He was just really impressive all around.”
As a Merrill High School senior Iribarren was competing in only his fourth year of wrestling, beginning his career as a high school freshman. Iribarren would learn quick and has now finished his high school career with a bronze medal at the WIAA Division 1 State Tournament and a senior season record of 49-3.
In an interview with the Merrill Foto News Monday evening, Iribarren explained that he was happy with how he wrestled, desipte not taking first place.
“It was a special moment and I was really happy with how I wrestled and with taking third place,” said Iribarren. “I lost to the reigning state champ by just one point and it was a really tough match, but I thought I wrestled well. The state tournament was a great experience overall and I’m very humbled to have placed third.”