Merrill Varsity Wrestlers grapple with competitors and illness
TINA L. SCOTT
Northern Exposure Tournament
The Merrill Bluejay Varsity Wrestlers competed at their own Northern Exposure Tournament here in Merrill on Dec. 28 and 29, 2021.
“Due to illness and injury, Merrill was without five Varsity wrestlers,” said Head Varsity Wrestling Coach Brian Suchocki. “The guys rallied to win two duals against Appleton West and Sauk Prairie. Even though we were shorthanded, the guys wrestled hard and did a nice job competing.”
“Austin Depies built upon his good performance at Rhinelander, winning all seven of his matches and getting six picks,” he said. “I really was impressed with how Austin competed as a Freshman at our tournament. He had some close matches but then would end with a pin. I’m glad all his hard work is helping him with his success.”
“We had other wrestlers step in and pick up wins, such as Ian Driekosen, Brindelyn Eternicka, Bridget Steinagel, and Adeline Callos,” Suchocki said. “The entire team is working even with some of these setbacks. We are a couple weeks from getting most wrestlers back.”
Rhinelander – Hodag Scramble
On Dec. 22, 2021, the Merrill Varsity Wrestling Team traveled to Rhinelander for the Hodag Scramble where 17 teams were competing. Bluejay Varsity Wrestlers finishing in highest place were Wyatt Bathke with a second place finish in the 195, Austin Depies with a fourth place finish in the 160, and Jon Hart with a fourth place finish in the 120.
Bathke scored 30.0 team points and won his matches in the the first three rounds, won his match in the championship bracket, but lost his first place match to a wrestler from Northwestern to end with second place. “Wyatt [Bathke] did a nice job getting to the finals in his second straight tournament,” said Suchocki. “Things are coming together for Wyatt. He is using all his experience and competing at a high level.”
“Austin [Depies] went from not placing or winning a match in his first Varsity tournament to placing fourth in this tournament,” he said. “As a Freshman, Austin is getting better each week. He has the work ethic that will continue to make him successful.”
Depies scored 16.0 team points after winning both his round 1 and quarterfinal matches but lost the semifinal and third place matches.
Hart scored 11.5 team points after winning two out of three of the matches in the first three rounds but losing the championship bracket and third place matches.
“Jon [Hart] placed fourth which is great to see,” Suchocki said. “Jon is a good wrestler, and he keeps climbing. He needs to build off this.”
“It was good to see some of our younger wrestlers placing high in a tournament this size,” Suchocki said. “All the other Merrill wrestlers competed hard. As a young team, they are learning to compete with Varsity competition.”
Other top Merrill scorers in their respective weight classes:
106: Joey Jensen placed ninth and scored 4.0 team points.
132: Brady Norton placed seventh and scored 6.0 team points.
170: Brian Ball placed seventh and scored 4.0 team points.
195: Jordan Smukowski placed 14th.
220: Mikal Plautz placed 11th and scored 4.0 team points.
285: Kieran Hehling placed 13th and scored 4.5 team points.