Two area wrestlers win WIAA state championships
By Rich Palzewic
BROWN COUNTY – Dreams came true for two area wrestlers last weekend.
Bay Port’s Jacob Ward and De Pere’s Shane Corrigan each came home with Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) Division 1 state titles in their respective weight classes.
The state tournament was Feb. 24-26 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Ward wins in dramatic fashion
The junior, Ward, who finished the season 48-2, wrestled in the 145-pound class.
“It means lots to win a state title,” Ward said. “It’s been a dream of mine to win since I started wrestling. I went to the state tournament my sixth-grade year and remember seeing all the guys standing at the top of the podium. I wanted to be one of them.”
Ward won his first match with a technical fall (21-5) over Eli Rabideau (Germantown).
“The first match is tough with the nerves,” Ward said. “My goal was to get a good match in, which I did. (Rabideau) was tough off his back, so I figured I wouldn’t be able to pin him. I focused on getting as many points as possible.”
After beating Brett Skaug (Brookfield East) via decision (10-7) in the quarterfinals, Ward next wrestled Parker Kratochvill (Holmen) in the semifinals.
“That was big for me,” Ward said about the semifinal victory. “(Kratochvill) gave me my first loss this season. I probably watched that loss 17 or 18 times throughout the season, thinking he was going to be one of the kids I had to beat at state. I went over the match one last time before the match. Emotions were high because I had lost in the semifinals the last two seasons. I stayed on the attack.”
In the finals, Ward went up against Cody Goebel (Mukwonago) and came through with a 6-5, double-overtime victory.
Ward recorded an escape with one second remaining for the win.
“I got the escape point basically as the buzzer sounded to win it,” Ward said. “It was my favorite match of the year. (Goebel) is good at moving people around and wearing kids out. He’s known for winning those close matches in overtime.”
Ward, who also participates in track and field and plans to play football for the Pirates this fall, said he’s not quite sure where he’ll attend college yet, but he plans to wrestle.
Corrigan dominates field
The senior, Corrigan, capped an undefeated 55-0 season with a dominating performance at 120.
After pinning Matthew Seim (Brookfield East) in 44 seconds in his opening round, Corrigan won via technical fall (15-0) over Cole Fitzpatrick (La Crosse Logan/Central) in the quarterfinals.
In the semifinals, Corrigan won with a major decision (12-1) against Andrew Martin (Pewaukee) before winning with another major decision (9-1) in the finals over Kaukauna’s Lucas Peters.
Allowing only two points combined in his four matches, Corrigan said he expected to dominate his opposition.
“I always expect to do that, no matter who I wrestle,” he said. “I have confidence on the mat, but you still have to stay focused and take care of business. I don’t want to win matches by two or four – I want to keep putting points on the board.”
Corrigan said he always dreamed about winning a state title.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” he said. “It was the last run for me, so I went out in style. It was a perfect ended.”
Corrigan had wrestled Peters the week before in the sectional finals.
“I beat him at sectionals, 12-0,” he said. “I was confident going into the finals. It’s hard to juggle those things – being confident but not overconfident. I was in the state finals twice before (2020, 2021), so that helped me (this past weekend).”
Corrigan said he took a trip to the state tournament his eighth-grade year, and that was one of the first times he believed he could win a state title.
“Seeing those guys wrestle and win – some of which I knew – was an awesome feeling,” he said. “It was an awesome atmosphere, and I knew I wanted to be there someday.”
Corrigan’s sister, Brooke, also won a state title about a month ago in the first-ever WIAA Girls’ State Wrestling Tournament.
“Brooke works hard, so I was excited she got the job done, too,” he said.
Corrigan, who will wrestle at Division II University of Wisconsin-Parkside, has some lofty goals set for himself.
“I have big goals – I want to be a four-time national champ,” he said.
Other area results – Division 1
113: Ethan Eggert (PUL – fifth)
182: Trenton Gibbons (PUL – second); Michael Alexander (DP – third)
220: Mason Wells (PUL – third)
138: Ryan Tomazevic (SEY – fifth)