Wrestlers get set for regionals
With WIAA Division 1, 2 and 3 regional tournaments today, and individual sectional competition next Saturday, the road to the Kohl Center in Madison is about to begin.
“There’s a lot more pressure on each kid now,” Janesville Craig coach Jeff Kaster said. “For a lot of these kids, especially the seniors, their career is on the line every match.
“You can’t look past any opponent because you’re never guaranteed anything in this sport. Just go out and wrestle hard, and take it one match at a time.”
In Division 1 regional competition, the top four in each weight class advance to the sectional meet. In Divisions 2 and 3, the top two advance.
Along with individual competition, sectional qualifiers for the WIAA state team tournament will be decided today. The winning teams at each regional qualify for the sectional team duals on Tuesday night.
Big Eight Conference tournament champion Janesville Parker will compete in the Division 1 regional at Sun Prairie, with Janesville Craig and Badger Conference powerhouse Stoughton.
Unbeaten and fourth-ranked Ryan Holden at 112 pounds leads Parker. Holden is 27-0 and the top seed in his weight class.
The Vikings’ Harold Lloyd, a state qualifier a year ago, is 22-2 at 285 pounds and a top seed at Sun Prairie.
Craig is led by freshman Siven Furseth at 103 pounds. Furseth is 33-0 and ranked fourth in the state by Crossface Magazine.
Other top wrestlers for Craig are Blair Kessler (29-7) at 215, and Trevor Gregoire (27-9) at 171.
Stoughton, the Badger Conference runner-up to DeForest, is the prohibitive favorite to win the Sun Prairie Regional. The Vikings return five state qualifiers, led by Ryan Dougherty (189) and Tanner Klitzke (112).
Milton and Beloit Memorial are the co-favorites to win the Lake Geneva Badger Regional, which pairs up with the Sun Prairie Regional to form the Wilmot Sectional.
Milton won its 15th straight Southern Lakes Conference title last Saturday. James Miller and Seth Underwood, both returning state qualifiers, lead the Red Hawks, while unbeaten and third-ranked Alex Polizzi at 215 pounds is the Purple Knights’ top wrestler.
Kaster thinks Parker could challenge Stoughton for the team title at Sun Prairie.
“Parker is a very good tournament team,” Kaster said. “And I don’t know if Stoughton is as strong as they have been in the past.
“I would think Milton would have the edge in the Badger Regional because they have more depth than Beloit, but a couple of head-to-head matches could change things.”
East Troy’s Chesten Kesselhon is the top returning state place-winner in the area. A junior, Kesselhon was fourth a year ago at 160 pounds and is 22-1 this season at the same weight.
Other state-ranked wrestlers in Division 2 competing today are Clinton’s Daniel Branh at 103 pounds, along with East Troy’s Jake Zess at 119 and David Edwards at 145.
WIAA Division 1
Sun Prairie Regional (Janesville Craig, Janesville Parker, Madison East, Madison La Follette, Oregon, Stoughton, Sun Prairie, Verona), 10:15 a.m.
Lake Geneva Badger Regional (Badger, Beloit Memorial, Delavan-Darien, Kenosha Bradford, Kenosha Tremper, Milton, Westosha Central, Wilmot), 10 a.m.
n Team sectional 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Stoughton.
West Allis Central Regional (Burlington, Elkhorn, Fort Atkinson, Muskego, New Berlin Eisenhower, Waterford, West Allis Central, West Allis Hale), 10 a.m.
Wisconsin Lutheran Regional (Milwaukee Custer, Milwaukee King, Milwaukee Pius, Milwaukee Washington, Nicolet, Whitefish Bay/Domincan, Wisconsin Lutheran), 10 a.m.
n Team sectional 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Milwaukee Custer.
Middleton Regional (Baraboo, DeForest, Madison Edgewood/Monona Grove, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Middleton, Sauk Prairie, Waunakee), 9:30 a.m.
Reedsburg Regional (Holmen, La Crosse Centrral, La Crosse Logan, Onalaska, Osseo-Fairchild/Altoona/Augusta, Reedsburg, Sparta, Tomah), 10 a.m.
n Team sectional 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Sparta.
WIAA Division 2
RICHLAND CENTER SECTIONAL
Evansville/Albany Regional (Columbus, Evansville/Albany, Jefferson, Lake Mills, Lakeside Lutheran, Lodi, Portage). 11 a.m.
Clinton Regional (Beloit Turner, Big Foot/Williams Bay, Brodhead/Juda, Clinton, Edgerton, Orfordville Parkview , Whitewater), 10:30 a.m.
Belleville Regional—Belleville/Monticello/New Glarus, Belmont/Platteville, Cuba City/Southwestern, Dodgeland, Iowa-Grant/Highland, Monroe, Mount Horeb/Barneveld), 10 a.m.
Westby Regional (Mauston, Prairie du Chien, Richland Center, River Valley, Westby, Wisconsin Dells), 11 a.m.
n Team sectional 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Lodi.
MILW. LUTHERAN SECTIONAL
East Troy Regional (Burlington Central, East Troy, Greendale Martin Luther, New Berlin West, Pewaukee, St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy, Union Grove), 10 a.m/.
Lomira Regional (Berlin, Lomira, Omro, Ripon, Waupun, Winnebago Lutheran, Winneconne), 10:30 a.m.
New Holstein Regional (Chilton, Kiel, New Holstein, St. Lawrence Seminary, Sheboygan Lutheran/Christian, Sheboygan Falls, Valders), 10 a.m.
Kewaskum Sectional (Brown Deer, Campbellsport, Grafton, Kewaskum, Mayville, Milwaukee Lutheran), 10 a.m.
n Team sectional 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at Campbellsport.