State Individual Wrestling Tournament Preview

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State Individual Wrestling Tournament Preview

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

State Individual Wrestling Tournament Preview

THE TOURNAMENT:  The 76th Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Individual Wrestling Tournament will be held Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 21-23, at the Kohl Center on the campus of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wis. 

TICKET INFORMATION:  Ticket prices per tournament session are $8. 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. 21 
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. 22
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. 23
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 MATCHES STREAMED LIVE:  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. In addition, all six mats of the pre-finals matches will be streamed live and can be viewed with a subscription to the NFHS Network. To purchase a subscription to the live programming for only $9.95 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. 

2019 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 225 programs represented at this year’s individual championships, including 88 from Division 1, and 74 in Division 2 and 63 in Division 3. 

MORE NUMBERS:  Mukwonago has qualified the most wrestlers in the Division 1 field with 11. Burlington  is next on the list with 10, and Marshfield has qualified nine. Ellsworth has the distinction of having qualified the most individuals in Division 2 with eight. Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro has the second-most with six, and Luxemburg-Casco has five. In Division 3, Coleman and Fennimore claim the most qualifiers with 10. Stratford is second with nine with Cedar Grove-Belgium, Random Lake and St. Croix Falls next with seven. There are 21 former champions in the tournament field this year and 18 seeking to defend the title they won last year. 

TOTAL INDIVIDUAL TITLES BY SCHOOL:  Mineral Point has produced the most individual championships with 50. Stoughton is next with 49, followed by Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln with 44 and then Milwaukee South with 39. Others with significant totals are Luxemburg-Casco with 39, Coleman with 34 and Ellsworth with 33. 

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 1:  The Division 1 field features six returning champions on a quest for another crown, including two wrestlers seeking their third titles and one that last won a title in 2016. Sophomore Hayden Halter of Waterford returns after winning the 106-pound class with Burlington last season. He moves up two weights to 120 this season with a 37-6 record. Senior Eric Barnett of Hortonville moves up two weight classes to 126 this season after winning the title last season at 113 and the 106 championship in 2017. He also has a third-place finish at 106 in 2016. Barnett enters action with a 43-0 record. The last time he suffered a defeat was in the State Tournament his freshman season. He has a 180-3 mark during his high school career. Senior Hunter Lewis of Stoughton won at 120 last year after finishing runner-up at 106 in 2017. He moves up to 138 this season and enters action with a 48-1 record. Junior Keegan O’Toole of Arrowhead seeks his third straight championship. He moves up two weights this season to 145 after capturing the crown last season at 132 and at 120 in 2017. With his 21-0 mark this season, he enters the tournament with a 105-5 career mark. Senior Kevin Meicher of Middleton won the 126 title in 2016 as a freshman, and he returns to State at 152 this season for his final attempt at winning another championship. He finished runner-up at 138 in 2017 and fourth at 152 last season. Meicher has compiled a 31-0 record heading into the opening round of the State Tournament. O’Tooles’ Arrowhead teammate, senior Joshua Otto, returns to State seeking his second consecutive title. He enters the 170 competition this season with a 38-1 record following a championship season at 152 a year ago and a third-place finish in 2017. Senior Parker Keckeisen of Nicolet moves up a weight class to 182 this season after earning the title at 170 last season, finishing runner-up at 170 in 2017 and placing fifth at 160 in 2016. He has compiled a 43-0 record to this point in the season.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 2:  The Division 2 field has nine former champions, including one attempting to become the 17th wrestler to win four State titles and one looking to claim another gold medal after winning one in 2017. Senior Bryce Bosman of Luxemburg-Casco began his prep career with a championship at 106, moved up a weight to capture the title at 113 in 2017 and moved up two weights last season to earn the crown at 126. He returns to the State  Tournament this season with a 33-6 record at 132, which gives him a 174-17 career mark. Junior Tommy Larson of East Troy enters action this week with a 43-2 record. He qualifies at 113 after wrestling to the title at 106 a year ago and a sixth-place finish in 2017. Senior Cody Holmes of Two Rivers won the 106 title in 2017 and moved up two weights last season to finish runner-up. This season, he has qualified at 126 with a 45-4 record. Bosman may have to contend with sophomore Matt Bianchi of Two Rivers if he is going to become a four-time State champ. Bianchi won the championship at 113 last season, and he moves up three weight classes to qualify this season at 132 with a 47-2 mark. Junior Aidan Medora of St. John’s NW Military Academy/Brookfield Academy is 30-0 at 138 this season after winning the title at 132 last season and finishing runner-up at 126 in 2017. He enters the tournament with a 102-4 career record. Senior Shane Liegel of River Valley has yet to drop a match over the past two seasons and has his sights on the third State title. He moves up to 182 this season after winning the 170 gold medal last year and the 160 title in 2017.  As a freshman in 2016, he placed third at 162.  Liegel has a 44-0 mark this season to have compiled a 174-14 tally in his career, including a 92-0 mark the last two seasons. Senior Stephen Buchanan of Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal moves up a weight class to 195 following last season’s championship run at 182 and a sixth-place finish at 170 in 2017. He has compiled a 45-0 record this season and a 91-2 mark over the past two seasons. Senior Ryan Larson of St. Croix Central won the 195 championship last year. He qualifies this season at 220 with an 18-3 record in pursuit of back-to-back titles. Senior Logan Zschemitz of Spencer/Columbus Catholic returns to the field at 285 after winning the title last season. He has yet to lose this season with a 43-0 mark, which gives him an 86-2 record the last two seasons. He also has a third-place finish in 2017 on his ledger.
TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 3:  The Division 3 field has five former champions, including one attempting to become the 17th wrestler to win four State titles. Among the returning champions are four that won titles last year and one that staked claim to a championship in 2017.  Senior Brock Schlough of Boyceville is in pursuit of his fourth State championship. After winning the 138-pound title in 2016, the 160-pound crown in 2017 and the 152 championship last season, he returns attempting to  defend his title at 152. Schlough hasn’t lost a match in the last two seasons. He enters the State Tournament this week with a 47-0 record, which gives him a 94-0 mark the last two seasons and a 179-5 record in his four years of competition. Senior Koltin Grzybowski of Coleman is back to defend the title he won at 113 last year after also winning gold at 106 in 2017. He has a 40-2 record this season and a 163-12 mark in his four seasons. His teammate at Coleman, senior Caleb Gross, also seeks his third championship. He moves up to 126 this season after winning the 120 title last season and the 113 championship in 2017. He owns a 40-3 record for the season, which gives him a 126-7 mark over the past three seasons. At 138, senior Trevor Wanek of Fennimore is targeting a return to the top of the awards podium this season after winning the 126 championship in 2017. He finished fourth last season at 132. He enters competition this week with a 30-14 record. Senior Ryan Neu of Dodgeland is a four-time qualifier to the State Tournament. He won the 170 title last year after placing fourth at 152 in 2017 and third at 138 in 2016. He returns to the 170 field this season with a 37-0 record and having not lost a match over the past two seasons, giving him a 159-13 mark in his career. 

UNBLEMISHED MARKS:  There are 21 wrestlers who enter the State Tournament this weekend undefeated, including nine in Division 1, six in Division 2 and six in Division 3. The nine Division 1 wrestlers are junior Justin Groshek of Stevens Point (41-0) and freshman Nicolar Rivera of Stoughton (51-0) at 106, senior Eric Barnett of Hortonville (43-0) at 126, junior Keegan O’Toole of Arrowhead (21-0) at 145, senior Kevin Meicher of Middleton (31-0) at 152, junior Dajun Johnson of Whitefish Bay/Dominican/University School (36-0) at 160, seniors Parker Keckeisen of Nicolet (43-0) and Jake Deates of Kenosha Bradford (14-0) at 182, and senior Jacob Somlai of Brookfield Central (44-0) at 220. Among the ranks of the unbeaten in Division 2 are senior Jacek Nickowski of Baldwin-Woodville (35-0) at 120, junior Aidan Medora of St. John’s NW Military Academy/Brookfield Academy (30-0) at 138, senior Shane Liegel of River Valley (44-0) at 182, senior Stephen Buchanan of Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal (45-0) and junior Gabe Wertel of Denmark (44-0) at 195, and senior Logan Zschemitz of Spencer/Columbus Catholic (43-0) at 285. In Division 3, those still without a loss heading into the State Tournament are senior Cian Fischer of Weyauwega-Fremont (44-0) at 120, senior Brock Schlough of Boyceville (47-0) at 152, junior Brady Spaeth of Cadott (43-0) at 160, senior Ryan Neu of Dodgeland (37-0) at 170, sophomore Trett Joles of Boyceville (47-0) at 182 and junior Ethan Heil of Edgar (32-0) at 220. There are an additional 33 wrestlers in the meet that have suffered defeat only once this season. 

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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