By Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – The Bay Port wrestling team had 13 individuals place in the top four — including five champions — to advance to sectionals as the Pirates won their WIAA Division 1 regional at Green Bay West on Feb. 11.
Bay Port (275.5 points) moved on to team sectionals along with Fox River Classic Conference foe Pulaski (248.5), which finished runner-up at regionals. The Red Raiders also had 13 individuals place in the top four to move on, including four champions.
Shawano (155) came in third at regionals, followed by Ashwaubenon (149), De Pere (116.5), Green Bay Preble (92), West De Pere (74.5) and Green Bay West/East/Southwest (34).
“The goal going in was we wanted to be regional champs, that was the goal from Day 1,” said Bay Port senior Peyton Garcia, who was a regional champ at 126. “We knew that from the beginning of the season. We knew we had a special team this year and that if we just put in the effort, all the practices that we have that we could do it and that we’d have a great team to go to team state.”
Bay Port coach Brad Shefchik thought his guys wrestled well in preparation for deeper postseason runs.
“Our goal coming in was to finish two top and then individually is really just to come in and wrestle tough and set the tone for the postseason,” Shefchik said. “We feel like the kids came out strong today, looked good, wrestled hard and had a lot of energy.”
In a good bracket at 126, Garcia (23-12) beat Green Bay Preble’s Mason Vandenbush in the semifinals, 8-6, and then downed Pulaski’s Conner Nooyen (27-10) in the championship match, 2-0.
The regional title is Garcia’s first in his varsity career.
“Going into the day, I knew I had the chance, I knew I had the opportunity, I just had to wrestle my matches, be the aggressor and I knew that if I just did that that I could come out on top,” Garcia said.
Also winning regional titles for Bay Port were Alois Schlumpf (33-8), who won both his matches by first-period falls at 113; Owen Noel (35-6) at 132 had a hard-fought match in the finals, beating Pulaski’s Colin Pratt, 7-4; Nicholas Schomaker (35-11) dominated at 138, winning all three matches; defending state champion Jacob Ward (34-1) cruised at 145 with a pair of first-period pins.
For Pulaski coach Nathan Preslaski, everything kind of shook out as planned with his guys.
“It was us and Bay Port kind of coming in, and that’s kind of what we expected,” Preslaski said. “I don’t think we wrestled our best, but I think (Bay Port) wrestled really good. It’s good for them. But, really, the sectionals is the one that really matters, so hopefully we can figure it out this week and compete at our best next week.”
Coming off a broken arm, Mason Wells (4-1) wrestled well at 220 and took home the title. He scored two first-period takedowns in his only two matches.
“I just want to go out there and wrestle my best match possible,” Wells said. “Coming back from injury, I just want to get in and get out quicker rather than longer so I don’t aggravate it.”
Along with Wells, Trenton Gibbons (35-3) competed well at 182 and handed De Pere’s Michael Alexander (14-1) his first loss of the season with a 6-3 decision in the championship match. Also winning regional titles for Pulaski were Ethan Eggert (36-3) at 120 and Tristan Taylor (21-2) at 160.
Coach Preslaski wants his guys to wrestle better at sectionals this coming weekend.
“It’s a mentality,” Preslaski said. “It’s realizing that this is it — everyone’s got to be at their best this time of year otherwise you get knocked off and that’s just how it goes and that’s a good thing. You want to be at your best and you want to beat other teams’ best kids, that’s what we’re working for.”
De Pere had two individual champions in Mycah Beckett (39-2) at 106 with a first-period pin and major decision and Brennan Kincade (30-5) at 195, where he pulled off a come-from-behind victory in the championship match to beat Ashwaubenon’s Easton Hockers, 8-7.
Troy Deitzler (32-3) from Ashwaubenon took home first at 285 with three falls.
Bay Port and Pulaski will wrestle in team sectionals at D.C. Everest on Feb. 14. Division 1 individuals will compete at sectionals at Shawano on Feb. 18.
Division 2 regional results
Seymour competed in a Division 2 regional at Oconto Falls on Feb. 11 and placed second as a team to advance to team sectionals.
The Thunder moved 10 wrestlers on to individual sectionals.
Ryan Tomazevic (30-2) was the lone champion for Seymour, winning the 138 bracket with three falls.
Placing runner-up at their respective weight classes for the Thunder were: Connor Steffens, 120; Conner Patz, 126; Nicholas Peters, 132; Cael Leisgang, 195; and Brock Socha, 285.
Seymour will compete in team sectionals at Freedom on Feb. 14 and individual sectionals at Wrightstown on Feb. 18.
By Greg Bates