Bay Port sends five wrestlers to state; De Pere, Pulaski advance three
By Greg Bates
SHAWANO – Sending 13 boys wrestlers to sectionals, Bay Port had a big opportunity to advance a number of kids to state.
The Pirates ended up advancing five with three champions (Alois Schlumpf, Owen Noel and Jacob Ward) and two second-place finishers (Owen Wathke and Vaughn Campbell) at a WIAA Division 1 sectional in Shawano on Saturday.
De Pere will be sending three boys to state with two champions (Mycah Beckett and Michael Alexander) and one runner-up finisher (Brennan Kincade). Pulaski will also have three competing at state after having one sectional champion (Mason Wells) and two second-place finishers (Trenton Gibbons and Broc Ambrosius).
Ashwaubenon qualified one wrestler to state after being a sectional champ (Troy Dietzler).
Just four days earlier, Bay Port advanced to team state, so to advance five individuals was icing on the cake for coach Brad Shefchik.
“It’s a good day,” Shefchik said. “Every sectionals is bittersweet, you’re going to have some happy, exciting stories, then you’re going to have some sad stories whether it’s a senior that’s getting left behind or an underclassman who had big dreams as a freshman or sophomore or junior. But at the end of the day, we know that going in there’s going to highs and lows and we accept that, and now that we’re at the end of the day, we’re happy for our five guys. The good thing is every one of these kids gets
a chance to be a state champ in two weeks [at team state], so you’ve got the team on the backburner right now for a little bit. It’s looming and we’ve got to be ready for that, too.”
Ward defended his 145-pound sectional championship by winning all three of his matches by major decision.
It means a lot for Ward to win another sectional title.
“It’s been one of my big goals, being a four-time sectional champ, four-time regional champ, it’s only been done, I guess five times in Bay Port history, I was told,” Ward said. “That’s huge to me and that was one of my big goals coming in as a freshman and to succeed. To have fun like I did today, it always means a lot whenever I wrestle.”
Ward (37-1) won a state title last year after placing fourth as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore.
As a senior, it’s not win a state title or bust for Ward, who will wrestle in college at the University of the Cumberlands in Kentucky. He keeps everything in perspective.
“Honestly, I’m just looking to have fun,” Ward said. “I’m not looking for necessarily winning a state championship or going out there and taking first all the time. It’s to get better and obviously to get better for college, because that’s what I’ve got going on next year. But just to have fun more or less. I love the sport, I love wrestling, and it’s not necessarily a failure, but it’s is a goal? Yeah.”
Having competed at the Kohl Center in Madison for three state meets, Ward knows what to expect in the big venue with a large crowd.
“I think just having the time, being in the Kohl Center the three years I’ve been there, having that experience, that opportunity I had is really going to help me in the future,” Ward said.
Ward loves having four other wrestlers join him at state.
Schlumpf (36-8) was nothing short of dominant at 113, winning all three of his matches by fall.
Noel (38-6) won the 132-pound weight class by winning all three of his sectional matches, downing Wausau East’s Maddox Rye in the final.
In the true second-place match at 120, Wathke (40-7) trailed Pulaski’s Ethan Eggert — who placed fifth at state last year at 113 — 2-1. With just seconds left in the match, Wathke, a sophomore, picked up a pair of points to pull off a 3-2 decision.
The Bay Port coaches were ecstatic as Wathke jumped into the arms of Shefchik after the stunning comeback.
“Pulaski is a really, really tough team and their 120-pounder obviously was probably expected to come out of this, but we knew we had a really tough kid in Owen Wathke, who worked really hard for the last few weeks with this on his mind,” Shekchik said. “He set a goal to compete here today, and he came out
here and competed and finished with a really exciting match at the end.”
In another exciting showdown for true second place, Campbell injured his left elbow just one minute into his 285 match against Rhinelander’s Owen Kurtz. Campbell — even in obvious pain — dug deep and scored a pin at 1:40 to earn a trip to state.
“Wrestling’s about toughness and sometimes it’s wrestling through a little bit of pain, other times it’s coming back out of a bad situation, you’re down by points or maybe you’re the underdog. But at the end of the day, it’s a fight and fortunately, he was able to fight through it and himself [to state].”
De Pere had a strong showing at sectionals. It had four wrestlers compete, with three advancing to state.
Alexander (17-1) won his first two matches by fall at 182 to set up a rematch with Pulaski’s Gibbons (37-3) in the final. One week earlier at regionals, Gibbons dealt Alexander his first defeat of the season.
The sectional match went to sudden death overtime tied at 1-1. Alexander scored two points to escape with a victory to secure the senior’s fourth trip to state.
Alexander doesn’t look at the victory over Gibbons redemption.
“You can’t treat any match differently,” said Alexander, who has a 3-2 career record against Gibbons. “I just trust my coaches, trust what they’re telling you and if I execute what the plan is, good things will happen.”
Alexander, who missed half the wrestling season due to injury, had a sound mindset going into overtime.
“Frankly, I’m still trying to get back into things, so I wanted to push the pace, try to get him tired, obviously,” Alexander said. “A little different than last year — last year I was trying to get as many points as I could, but I just wanted to drag this one out and see what happens.”
Beckett (42-2) was absolutely dominant on his day, capturing three pins en route to winning the 106 bracket.
Kincade (32-6) won his first two matches at 195 via fall before being pinned in the title match against Merrill’s Ryder Depies. With there being no need for a wrestleback, Kincade advanced to state.
Alexander loves that he will be going to Madison with some teammates.
“It’s awesome,” Alexander said. “Now I get to room with Brennan, and obviously this is awesome for him, this is his first time coming to state in his high school career. It’s good for me too, because I get a practice partner then. It’s good for everyone.”
Pulaski had 13 wrestlers compete at sectionals with Wells winning the lone title at 220.
Coming off injury, Wells (7-1) had wrestled just five matches heading into sectionals, and he swept his three matches — two by pins and the final he beat Wausau West’s Cayden Kershaw, 10-7.
Gibbons placed second at 182 with his loss to Alexander.
Ambrosius (21-12) finished runner-up at 113. He fell in the championship match to Bay Port’s Schlumpf.
Dietzler (35-3) won all three of his matches via pin at 285 to move on to state.
Division 2: Wrightstown Sectional
Seymour had 10 wrestlers compete in a WIAA Division 2 sectional at Wrightstown on Saturday, with one advancing to state.
Ryan Tomazewic (34-2) swept his three matches at 138. He beat Luxemburg-Casco’s Caleb Delebreau 7-2 in the final.
Three local girls will be advancing to the state meet after placing first in Division 1 at the Shawano Sectional.
De Pere’s Brooke Corrigan will return to Madison after winning a state title last year. At 100, Corrigan picked up first-period pins in her only two matches.
Pulaski junior Marna Andre won her only match of the day to advance at 235.
West De Pere’s Bella Bolek won 126 by scoring two falls in her only two matches. The senior is trying to cap her high school career with a state title.
In Division 2, Seymour’s Ava Peters placed second at 107 and advanced to state in her first year competing. She’s the first girls wrestler in Seymour history to qualify for state.s
The individual boys’ and girls’ state wrestling tournaments will be held at the Kohl Center on Thursday- Saturday, Feb. 23-25.