Merrill wrestlers wrap up their season


Saturday’s Division 1 Sectional competition in Marshfield effectively wrapped up the season for Merrill Wrestling, both boys and girls.

Boys at Sectionals

Eight Merrill wrestlers were competing at the WIAA Divisional 1 Sectional A in Marshfield on Feb. 17, 2024, in Marshfield. Only the top two wrestlers in each weight class advance to the State tournament in Madison to be held Feb. 22-24, Merrill Head Boys Wrestling Coach Brian Suchocki said.
Merrill’s Noah Klug narrowly missed the cut with a third place finish, and two Merrill wrestlers finished in fourth, also coming up just short of making the trip to State. Both Callum Wheeler and Remington Skic finished fourth in their weight classes.
“Noah lost a heartbreaker to James Clements (Marshfield) 22-7, which ultimately could of been the match to send him to State,” Suchocki said. “Noah battled so hard. Trailing 5-3 in the last 10-12 seconds, Noah throws James to his back, picking up 3 back points, but quickly was rolled through, giving up a reversal and 2 near fall to lose the match.”
“I know it wasn’t the result Noah wanted, but he gave it his all and gave himself a chance,” he said. “Wrestling is full of could of, would of should of’s. Noah will use this as motivation to be better.”
“Callum Wheeler picked up a first round pin over Jackson Wesner (Regis/Altoona) 39-14 (Fall 2:34),” Suchocki said. “Callum had a great run this season. He was very close to making the State tournament. I know he will work hard to put himself in position to make State next season.”
“Callum is physical and is a complete wrestler,” he said. “Making the Sectional semi final is another step for him.”
“Remington Skic started the day with a great victory over Aaron Howard (Menomonie) 32-13,” Suchocki said. “Remington gives everything he has every time he steps on the mat. Even though Remington came up short of going to State, taking fourth at Sectionals, he gained valuable experience and will continue to work hard toward his goals.”
Five other Merrill wrestlers – Dustin Schmirler, Hunter Oopper, Austin Depies, Carson Brooks, and Mikal Plautz – also wrestled at the Sectionals but came up short of top placements.
“Dusty Schmirler was eliminated in the first round by Austin Schmidkunz (Hudson),” he said. “Dusty wrestled his butt off in his match, but unfortunately he came up short. I’m impressed with the season Dusty put together. He will build off of this success going into next season.”
“Jake Krager (Chippewa Falls) 31-14 won by decision over Hunter Opper (Merrill) 32-14 (Dec 10-4),” Suchocki said. “Hunter found himself down 8-0 after the first period, but then battled back, scoring the final four points of the match.”
“I was pleased with how Hunter finished his match. He went out battling. You can”t ask for more than that,” he said,
“Austin Depies had a very difficult first round match-up in Dawson Clymer (Hudson) 42-11,” Suchocki said. “Austin competed hard and came out wrestling hard. Austin will learn from this experience and build off of it in the future.”
“Carson had highly State ranked Ethan Winkelman (Hudson) 50-3 in the first round,” he said. “Carson made the most of a shortened season. He knew he had a tough opponent today but came to compete.”
“That type of attitude will be beneficial in the future, as well,” Suchocki said. “Carson worked hard these last few weeks to get himself in shape to compete.”
Lastly, “Mikal Plautz lost to Andrew Schaefer (Menomonie) 40-11 in the first round,” he said. “Mikal went after it but wasn’t able to get the win. It was good to see Mikal wrestle at Sectionals in his Senior season. He has always represented Merrill well. He and all our Seniors will be missed.”
“I’m proud of all our wrestlers,” Suchocki said. “It was a good season even though it didn’t finish the way many wanted it to.”
“We have most of the Wrestling Team returning next year with a lot of motivated underclassmen,” he said. “The wrestlers will work hard in other sports and in the off-season to improve for next year.”

Girls at Sectionals

The Merrill Girls Wrestling Team also wrestled last Saturday in Marshfield at the Sectionals.
“It was a very tough tournament with 16 teams represented for the competition,” Coach Scott Arneson said. “Only the Champion from the Sectional qualifies for the WIAA Individual Girl’s State Wrestling Tournament.”
While none of the Merrill Girls made it to the top, meaning “Merrill failed to qualify a girl for the State tournament,” they did a nice job representing Merrill at the tournament.
“Allison Hunter finished her career with a first round bye and then lost her semi final match,” Arneson said. “Since only the first place individual qualifies for the State tournament, if you lose your quarter final, semi, or finals match, you are eliminated.”
“Allison has been in Merrill Wrestling for the past 12 years and represented Merrill with class her entire career,” he said.
“Caylynn Allen and Merin Yates lost their first round match and were also eliminated from the competition,” Arneson said.
“Adison Clark joined the team this weekend for her first ever tournament,” he said. “Cool note was she won her first match of her life, which was her quarter final match, with a pin. She was then defeated in her semi final match which put her out of the tournament.”
“The girls all wrestled hard today and were all excited and nervous about competing in the Sectionals,” Arneson said. “Even though we started the season late and did not have a full season, all the girls wrestled well and competed at their best.”
“We hope the girls in Merrill read this article, get excited about wrestling, and will give wrestling a try next season,” he said. “Women’s wrestling is the fastest growing high school sport in the nation.”
Arneson said he and Coach Buntrock are planning for more participants next year and growing the middle and high school programs.
“Merrill Women’s Wrestling will grow each and every year,” he said. “and continue to be successful, as well.”
He issued a challenge to Merrill girls. “If you want to be in a sport that tests your mind, your body, and your grit, wrestling is it. Girls, if you want a sport that will get you in shape, stronger, more fit, teach you disciple, determination, and let you be an individual on a team, Merrill Wrestling is the sport for you,”
“We hope to see many of you girls soon,” he said. “Keep wrestling. Every day is a new match.”

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