State Individual Wrestling Tournament Preview

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State Individual Wrestling Tournament Preview

Monday, February 24, 2020

State Individual Wrestling Tournament Preview

THE TOURNAMENT:  The 77th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Individual Wrestling Tournament will be held Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 27-29, at the Kohl Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis.

TICKET INFORMATION:  Ticket prices per tournament session are $10. Tickets are available on-line on the WIAA website with a $2 service fee until two hours prior to any respective session with the printing of the ticket by the purchaser. Tickets are also available at the Kohl Center during the tournament.

GATE SECURITY PROCEDURES:  Everyone entering the Kohl Center is subject to pass through metal detectors. Fans and media are encouraged to arrive early to avoid missing the start of each session. For the finals, gates will open 90 minutes prior to the start of competition to accommodate the larger crowds. For all other sessions, doors will open 60 minutes prior to the start of competition.

THE SCHEDULE:  Below is the schedule of competition for the individual tournament. All weight classes will be wrestled in consecutive order through the classes on a “next available mat” basis within the mat assignments.

Thursday, Feb. 27
Session 1:

Division 1 Preliminaries - 3 p.m.
Division 1 Quarterfinals - approximately 5:15 p.m.
Divisions 2 & 3 Preliminaries - approximately 7 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 28
Session 2:

Division 1 Consolations - 10 a.m.
Divisions 2 & 3 Quarterfinals - approximately 11:15 a.m.
Division 1 Consolation Semifinals - approximately 1:45 p.m.
Divisions 2 & 3 Consolation Semifinals - approx. 2:45 p.m.

Session 3:
Division 1 Semifinals at 7 p.m. on mats 1 & 2
Division 2 Semifinals at 7 p.m. on mats 3 & 4
Division 3 Semifinals at 7 p.m. on mats 5 & 6

Saturday, Feb. 29
Session 4:

Division 1 Consolation Wrestlebacks at 10 a.m. on mats 1 & 2
Division 2 Consolation Wrestlebacks at 10 a.m. on mats 3 & 4
Division 3 Consolation Wrestlebacks at 10 a.m. on mats 5 & 6

Note:  Third-place and fifth-place matches will run concurrently by weight class within divisions after all consolation matches are completed.

Session 5:
Division 1 Championships at 5:30 p.m. on mat 1
Division 2 Championships at 5:30 p.m. on mat 2
Division 3 Championships at 5:30 p.m. on mat 3

FINALS ON FS WISCONSIN:  The championship finals will be aired live on FS Wisconsin. Please check local cable listings for the FS Wisconsin channel in your area. All three mats of the championship finals will be streamed on the Fox Sports app. The live programming aired on FS Wisconsin will also be streamed on with cable provider authentication.

PRE-FINALS STREAMED LIVE:  All six mats of the pre-finals matches will be streamed live and can be viewed on WIAA.TV with a subscription to the NFHS Network. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $10.99 per month, log-on to or and click on the subscription button at the top right of the page. Archived streams of the sessions will be available on demand on 72 hours after the tournament without requirement of a subscription.

2020 TOURNAMENT BY THE NUMBERS:  There will be champions crowned in 14 weight classes in three divisions. Wrestlers who finished first or second in each weight class at last weekend’s eight Division 1 sectionals qualified for the State Tournament. The top three finishers in each weight class at the four Divisions 2 and 3 sectionals qualify for the tourney. There are 224 qualifiers for the championships in Division 1 and 168 in both Divisions 2 and 3. There are 220 programs represented at this year’s individual championships, including 83 from Division 1, and 71 in Division 2 and 66 in Division 3.

MORE NUMBERS:  Arrowhead, Kaukauna and Mukwonago have qualified the most wrestlers in the Division 1 field with eight. Burlington and Stoughton and next on the list with seven. Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro, Luxemburg-Casco and Prairie du Chien have the distinction of qualifying the most individuals in Division 2 with seven.  Port Washington is next on the list with six. In Division 3, Coleman claims the most qualifiers with 10. Fennimore and Random Lake are tied for second on the list with nine. There are 20 former champions in the tournament field this year.

TOTAL INDIVIDUAL TITLES BY SCHOOL:  Stoughton has produced the most individual championships with 51. Mineral Point is next with 50, followed by Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln with 44 and then Luxemburg-Casco with 40. Others with significant totals are Milwaukee South with 39, Coleman with 37 and Ellsworth with 33.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 1:  The Division 1 field features seven returning champions on a quest for another crown, including one wrestler seeking his fourth title and two seeking their third titles. Senior Keegan O’Toole of Arrowhead is attempting to be the 18th wrestler to win four State championships in a career. He has moved up to the 160-pound weight class after winning at 145 last season, at 132 in 2018 and at 120 in 2017. He enters competition this week with an undefeated mark of 43-0. Sophomore Nicolar Rivera of Stoughton is undefeated at 120 this season with a 44-0 record. He moves up two weight classes in pursuit of another title after earning the crown at 106 a year ago. Junior Hayden Halter of Waterford seeks his third State title. He moves up a weight to 126 after winning the title at 120 last year and the 106 championship in 2018. He has compiled a 43-2 record this season. Senior Cody Minor of Ashwaubenon jumps up three weight classes to 132 after winning the 113-pound title last year and finishing third at 106 in 2018. He has recorded a 36-3 mark heading into action this week. Senior Jalen Spuhler of Hartford moves up a weight to 138 following a championship season at 132 last year. He also posted a fourth-place finish at 120 in 2018. This season, he enters the State Tournament with a 43-2 record. Senior Da’jun Johnson of Whitefish Bay/Dominican/ University School of Milwaukee is a defending champion seeking his his title. He moves up to 170 after earning the gold medal at 160 in 2019. He has yet to be defeated this season with a 33-0 mark after a 40-0 mark in 2019. Senior Max Meeuwsen of Bay Port is the returning champion at 285. He is back to defend his crown with a 42-1 mark this season.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 2:  The Division 2 field has seven former champions, including a pair looking to add their third title. A pair of champions grace the 120-pound weight class. Junior Blaine Brenner of Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee moves up two weights after winning gold at 106 last season, and senior Tommy Larson of East Troy won the 113 championship last year and at 106 in 2018. He also has a sixth-place finish at 106 in 2017. They will meet in the final if they advance through their bracket. Something will have to give as both enter the tourney undefeated. Brenner is 42-0, and Larson is 10-0 in limited action. Junior Matty Bianchi of Two Rivers attempts to win his third championship. He moves up to 138 this season after winning at 132 last year and at 113 in 2018. He has won 42 of his 44 matches to this point in the season. Senior Aidan Medora of St. John’s NW Military/Brookfield Academy is another two-time champion targeting a third title. He moves up a weight to 145. Medora has placed no lower than second in his previous three experiences at the State Tournament. He won the title at 138 last year and at 132 in 2018 after a runner-up result at 126 in 2017. He enters competition with a 26-1 record. Sophomore Clayton Whiting of Oconto Falls won the 152-pound title a year ago as a freshman. He moves up two weights to 170 in pursuit of a second championship, entering action with a 44-1 record. Senior Reece Worachek of Luxemburg-Casco has a 45-1 record this season at 182 after moving up from his championship season at 170 last year. In 2018, he placed fifth in the 160-pound weight class. Senior Jake Rau of Medford is the defending champion at 220. He has his sights on back-to-back titles. He enters action this week with a 35-2 mark.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 3:  The Division 3 field has six former champions looking to add another gold medal after winning titles last season.  Sophomore Tanner Gerber of Cameron moves up one weight to 113 after winning the 106 title last year. He claims a 45-1 record heading into competition this week. Senior Max Schwabe of Stratford is returning the weight class he struck gold in last season. He won at 132 after a third-place finish at 120 in 2018. He enters the State competition this week with a 45-2 mark. Sophomore Kole Marko of St. Croix Falls won the crown at 138 last season as a freshman. He moves up to contend for the 145 title this year with a 33-1 record heading into the tourney.  Senior Brady Spaeth of Cadott has a wealth of quality State experience and hasn’t lost a match since the 2018 State finals. He is 43-0 this season and 89-0 the past two seasons. He moves up to 170 this year after winning the 160 title last season. Spaeth was runner-up at 152 in 2018 and was third at 138 in 2017. Junior Trett Joles of Boyceville returns to the weight he conquered last season, winning the title at 182 after placing third at the weight in 2018. He advances to State with a 43-1 record this season. Senior Trevor Dennee of Stratford has moved up two weights in his attempt to win a second consecutive championship. Prior to winning the 170-pound weight class last season, he was runner-up at the weight in 2018. He has won 46 of his 47 matches this season.

UNBLEMISHED MARKS:  In addition to the returning champions that have yet to lose this season, there are 14 other wrestlers who enter the State Tournament this weekend undefeated. In addition to Rivera, O’Toole and Johnson in Division 1, other qualifiers without a defeat include senior Justin Groshek of Stevens Point (42-0) at 113, who was third at 106 last year, second at 106 in 2018 and sixth at 106 in 2017; sophomore Mitchell Mesenbrink of Arrowhead (8-0) at 138, who was third at 120 last season; senior Kaden Reetz of Madison Memorial (39-0) at 152, who was third in 2019; senior Marques Fritsche of Tomah (19-0) at 170; junior John Gunderson of Baraboo (33-0) at 182, senior Marshall Kools of Neenah (40-0) at 195 after finishing third at the weight last season;  and senior Cullen Quick of Menasha (46-0) at 285. In Division 2, the undefeated competitors in the field besides Brenner and Larson include senior Jessie Tijerina of Portage (44-0) at 138, who was sixth at 126 in Division 1 last season and fifth at 120 in 2018; junior Jared Stricker of Ashland (44-0) at 145, who placed fifth at 106 in 2018; and senior Tyler Hannah of Prairie du Chien (50-0) at 195, who was runner-up at the weight last year and third at 170 in both 2018 and 2017. In addition to Spaeth, the other undefeated Division 3 qualifiers include sophomore Gavin Drexler of Stratford (47-0) at 126; junior Aiden Vandenbush of Random Lake (46-0) at 152, who placed third  at the weight last year; senior Ethan Heil of Edgar (28-0) at 220, who finished runner-up in the weight a year ago; and junior Tanner Gaffey of St. Croix Falls (43-0) at 285, who placed fifth at the weight class last year. There are an additional 34 wrestlers in the meet that have experienced defeat only once this season.

NEED THE QUALIFIERS?:  State Tournament brackets and tournament schedule are available in the restricted media area of the WIAA website or by accessing the site at:

NEED RESULTS?:  Access results through the WIAA website by navigating to the wrestling homepage and selecting the Tournament Information option in the right column or by accessing the website.

FOLLOW STATE MEET ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Receive updates of the State Individual Wrestling Tournament on the WIAA State Tournament Twitter account @wiaawistate with the hashtag #wiaawr. Also follow daily recaps on Facebook.


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