Merrill Varsity Wrestling Team had a busy two weeks culminating in Regional meet

Eight boys and one girl advance to Sectional meet this Saturday in Shawano; Ryder Depies wins first at Regional

With two dual in-conference meets–one against Wausau East and the other against DC Everest–and the Wisconsin Valley Conference Wrestling Tournament all occurring within a five-day span, the Merrill Varsity Wrestling Team has been grappling to make up for lost time. All of that competition proved to be good practice for last Saturday’s Regional meet, and as a result, nine Merrill wrestlers–eight boys and one girl–will advance to the Sectionals in Shawano this Saturday, with hopes of advancing to State.
Merrill Varsity Wrestling Coach Brian Suchocki explained the reason for so many meets in a short span of time. “We had to make up two duals that were canceled earlier in the year,” he said.

Hunter Opper has the upper hand in his match during the dual against Wausau East. Photo courtesy of Merrill Wrestling Program.

Wausau East
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023, Merrill wrestlers went to Wausau East to take on the Lumberjacks in a dual meet.
“We started off the week wrestling Wausau East,” Suchocki said. “We were at full strength for the first time all season. It was a great dual for us. We competed well in all our matches. Even the matches we lost.”
“Our guys were really aggressive,” he said. “Eight of them earned pins: Ryder Depies, Mikal Plautz, Brett Suchocki, Callum Wheeler, Preston Schuelke, Hunter Opper, Brian Ball, and Austin Depies.”
A few things that caught Coach Suchocki’s eye during this dual: “Mikal has really been wrestling well as of late,” he said. “Preston did a great job sticking with the technique we have been working on. The match went back and forth and Preston stayed under control and picked up the pin in the end.”
And “Hunter also wrestled really well,” Suchocki said. “It’s good to see these young wrestlers competing so well. The dual against Wausau East was a great win for us.”

Individual Merrill results:
106 Dustin Schmirler, Merrill won over Ben Lo, Wausau East Major 12-2
113 Joey Jensen, Merrill lost to Ryan Jaeger, Wausau East 3-2
120 Jon Hart, Merrill won over Jack Bessette, Wausau East 11-5
126 Brett Suchocki, Merrill won over Yongyi Lor, Wausau East Fall 0:30
132 Brady Norton, Merrill lost to Maddox Rye, Wausau East Fall 2:28
138 Callum Wheeler, Merrill won over Noah Rhea, Wausau East Fall 3:20
145 Preston Schuelke, Merrill won over Jacob Anderson, Wausau East Fall 5:44
152 Hunter Opper, Merrill won over Jalon Bailey Clark, Wausau East Fall 1:33
160 Gage Lassa, Merrill won over Garrison Stockwell, Wausau East TF 18-3 4:15
170 Brian Ball, Merrill won over Coltyn Muenchow, Wausau East Fall 1:55
182 Austin Depies, Merrill won over Amicus Liss, Wausau East Fall 0:48
195 Ryder Depies, Merrill won over Elmer Heard, Wausau East Fall 1:15
220 Noah Klug, Merrill lost to Aidan Haugen, Wausau East 8-7 OT
285 Mikal Plautz, Merrill won over Logan Glovinski, Wausau East Fall 1:47
Box Score
Merrill 60 @ Wausau East 12

Brian Ball battles hard in a match during the DC Everest dual at Merrill. Photo courtesy of Merrill Wrestling Program.

DC Everest
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the Merrill Wrestling Program hosted Senior Night and Kids Night, Suchocki said, in conjunction with a dual against the DC Everest Evergreens.
Before the dual, our middle school and youth wrestlers were recognized,” he said. “It was fun to have them come to see our team wrestle. We had a great crowd, and it was an exciting dual.”
“Even though we came up short, I was pleased with how we battled,” Suchocki said. “We had two big conference duals in two days. The guys were disciplined in their approach to compete back to back.”
“Seniors Ryder Depies, Brian Ball, and Ian Dreikosen all picked up wins on Senior Night. Ryder finished off the conference dual season with a perfect 6-0 record. I’m glad that all his hard work is paying off with so much success. It’s a lot of fun watching him compete.”
“Brian continues his strong Senior season,” Suchocki said. “Little details are helping Brian stay consistent.”
“It was also great to see Ian get a win for Senior Night,” he said.
“Gage Lassa (wrestler) and Erica Arneson (manager) were also recognized with Ryder, Brian, and Ian on Senior Night,” Suchocki said.
Beyond the Seniors, other Varsity wrestlers had a great night on Wednesday, as well. “Dusty Schmirler, Noah Klug, and Jon Hart had nice wins for us,” Suchocki said. “Dusty continues to compete well and earn each week. Jon had the match of the night, getting the pin late in the match. Noah continues to get better as the season progresses. Overall it was a great effort by the team.”

Individual Merrill results:
106 Dustin Schmirler, Merrill won over Caleb Jaeger, DC Everest Fall 2:29
113 Joey Jensen, Merrill lost to Tyler Modjewski, DC Everest 6-1
120 Jon Hart, Merrill won over Taylor Dillion, DC Everest Fall 5:50
126 Brett Suchocki, Merrill lost to Easton Cooper, DC Everest TF 15-0 2:00
132 Brady Norton, Merrill lost to Deakin Trotzer, DC Everest Fall 1:28
145 Preston Schuelke, Merrill lost to Cameron Saari, DC Everest Fall 3:18
152 Hunter Opper, Merrill lost to Blake Bangtson, DC Everest TF 20-5 3:17
160 Jace Olson, Merrill lost to Gavin Madson, DC Everest Fall 1:42
170 Brian Ball, Merrill won over Tanner Rickman, DC Everest Major 13-4
182 Austin Depies, Merrill lost to Daytona Pagel, DC Everest 15-10
195 Ryder Depies, Merrill won over Kyle Schmidt, DC Everest Fall 3:26
220 Noah Klug, Merrill won over Aedan Xiong, DC Everest Fall 0:28
285 Ian Dreikosen, Merrill won by Forfeit
Box Score
DC Everest 40 @ Merrill 34

Ian Dreikosen gets his hand raised by the referee on Senior Night. Photo courtesy of Merrill Wrestling Program.

Wisconsin Valley Conference Meet
Saturday, Feb. 4, Merrill hosted the 2023 Wisconsin Valley Conference Wrestling Meet, with teams from DC Everest, Marshfield, Stevens Point, Wausau East, Wausau West, and Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln all coming to compete. When it was over, Merrill had placed fourth out of seven teams and five Merrill wrestlers were named All Conference: Ryder Depies 1st, Jon Hart 2nd, and Ian Dreikosen, Noah Klug, and Brian Ball all were 3rd.
“Even though we had a busy week, we competed well,” Suchocki said. “Ryder led the way in dominant fashion, capping off a 10-0 conference season. Ryder won by technical fall in the finals. As we go into post season wrestling, Ryder is focused and dialed in.”
“Jon had some really nice throws in his semi-final match. It’s really good having Jon back in our line-up,” he said.
“Brian continues to battle,” Suchocki said. “He was in one of the toughest weight classes and dug deep to get an overtime win for 3rd place.”
“Noah wrestled well all day and finished it off with a nice pin,” he said. And “I’m so glad Ian was able to end as All Conference.”
“We had many other wrestlers take 4th and 5th to help balance out our team: Dusty Schmirler 4th, Joey Jenson 5th, Brett Suchocki 5th, Brady Norton 4th, Callum Wheeler 4th, Gage Lassa 4th, and Austin Depies 5th place. We were just 13 ½ points behind second place Wisconsin Rapids.” Hunter Opper was 6th and Preston Schuelke was 7th.
2023 Wis. Valley Conference Wrestling Meet Team Scores:

  1. Marshfield 238½
  2. Wis. Rapids 172½
  3. Wausau West 168½
  4. Merrill 159
  5. D.C. Everest 136½
  6. Stevens Point 112½
  7. Wausau East 65
Ryder Depies grapples with his opponent in his Wisconsin Valley Conference final Championship match. Photo courtesy of Merrill Wrestling Program.

Merrill Wrestling Regionals
On Saturday, Feb. 11, Wrestling Regionals were held in Merrill with Merrill. DC Everest, Lakeland Union High School, Rhinelander, Stevens Point Area, Wausau East, Wausau West, and Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln competing for the chance to advance to Sectionals in Shawano this Saturday, Feb. 18. This was the first step in the postseason, Suchocki said. “Wrestlers have to place in the top four to advance to the Sectional Tournament.”
Following a week of good practice, he felt his team was well prepared, and he was right.
Eight Merrill wrestlers qualified at Regionals and will now advance to Sectionals: Ryder Depies, Noah Klug, Austin Depies, Jon Hart, Brett Suchocki, Brady Norton, Callum Wheeler, and Brian Ball will all go on to represent Merrill at the Sectional competition this Saturday in Shawano.
“Leading the way was Ryder Depies winning the Regional with a first period pin in the finals,” Suchocki said. “Ryder continues to dominate in his matches. Ryder brings everything to each match. His timing and movement set-up his offense.”
Jon Hart, Noah Klug, and Austin Depies each took third place, advancing them to the Sectional, he said. “Jon had a big pin in the semi-final that punched his ticket through. Noah continues to improve, and he has put himself in a position to be successful. Austin is always battling.””
“Brett Suchocki, Brady Norton, Callum Wheeler, and Brian Ball made up the final four qualifiers with their fourth place finishes,” Suchocki said.
For these eight wrestlers, success at the Sectional on Saturday would move them on to competing in the State Tournament.
“We have a very tough Regional,” Suchocki said. “So it was impressive for us to qualify eight wrestlers to the Sectional. We haven’t had that many for quite a few years.”
“Our team was the only team at Regional to have all 14 competitors place in the top 6,” he added. “I don’t recall ever doing that. I’m very proud of all our wrestlers.” “The Merrill community can also be proud of those that didn’t qualify,” Suchocki said. “Even though it’s disappointing to see their season end, it’s not because of effort. Two Seniors, Ian Dreikosen and Gage Lassa, ended their careers in fifth place, winning their last high school wrestling matches,” he said. “They will always remember going out with wins.”

Individual Merrill results:
106 Dustin Schmirler (19-10) placed 5th and scored 9.0 team points.
113 Joey Jensen (15-20) placed 6th and scored 5.0 team points.
120 Jon Hart (21-7) placed 3rd and scored 17.0 team points.
126 Brett Suchocki (23-14) placed 4th and scored 13.0 team points.
132 Brady Norton (25-17) placed 4th and scored 9.0 team points.
138 Callum Wheeler (28-11) placed 4th and scored 11.0 team points.
145 Preston Schuelke (6-11) placed 6th and scored 5.0 team points.
152 Hunter Opper (17-18) placed 5th and scored 9.0 team points.
160 Gage Lassa (20-10) placed 5th and scored 7.0 team points.
170 Brian Ball (33-9) placed 4th and scored 13.0 team points.
182 Austin Depies (24-14) placed 3rd and scored 10.0 team points.
195 Ryder Depies (40-1) placed 1st and scored 26.0 team points.
220 Noah Klug (23-14) placed 3rd and scored 14.0 team points.
285 Ian Dreikosen (15-21) placed 5th and scored 8.0 team points.

Merrill Regional Wrestling Meet Scores

  1. Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln 210.5
  2. D.C. Everest 204.0
  3. Wausau West 193.0
  4. Merrill 156.0
  5. Stevens Point 147.5
  6. Lakeland/Mercer 100.0
  7. Wausau East 57.0
  8. Rhinelander 55.0
Ryder Depies was the Regional Champion, taking first place in his weight class at last Saturday’s Regional wrestling competition in Merrill. Photo courtesy of Merrill Wrestling Program.

“New this year, girls will be competing in their own brackets,” Suchocki said. “Allison Hunter will also be competing at the Shawano Sectional in hopes of making the State Tournament.”

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