Beloit’s Polizzi has dominated
A total of 26 wrestlers enter today’s WIAA individual state tournament with unbeaten records.
That group includes defending state champions, former state champions and first-time qualifiers.
But none of them carry the credentials or the aura of invincibility that Beloit Memorial’s Alex Polizzi has this season.
Polizzi is, pound-for-pound, the most dominating wrestler in the state this season. Just ask his opponents, and those that have been fortunate enough to watch his technical superiority on the mat.
How good has the 215-pounder been this season? There aren’t enough superlatives to describe him.
Polizzi is 41-0 this season and ranked fourth in the country in the 215-pound weight class. Other than Superior heavyweight Niko Bogojevic (6th), there are no other Wisconsin high school wrestlers rated in the top 12.
Only two of Polizzi’s 41 matches have gone into the third period, and those ended with Polizzi winning by major decision—eight points or more—or by technical fall—15 points or more.
Polizzi’s coach, Jason Glodowski, said his prize pupil is well-deserving of the accolades.
“You tell me how many kids have a six-days-a-week routine where they’re at school by 5:30 a.m. to lift for two hours, and then follow that up with two or three hours of practice after school,” Glodowski asked. “But that’s exactly what Alex does.
“He’s pretty exceptional, but you’ll never hear that from him. He’s very humble.”
Polizzi, a Northwestern University recruit, lost a controversial 9-8 decision to Vance Grube of Wisconsin Rapids in last year’s 215-pound state title bout. The loss has haunted Polizzi ever since.
“He’s definitely been on a mission this season,” Glodowski said. “That loss has stayed with him and consumes him, at times.
“He can’t do anything about it now, but he can still finish an unbelievable high school career by winning state.”
Parkview freshman has sights set on medal
While Polizzi tries to end his career on a high note, Orfordville Parkview freshman Alex Hauri will get a chance to compete on the big stage for the first time.
Hauri became the first Parkview wrestler to qualify for state since Andrew Lewis finished sixth in Division 2 at 135 pounds in 2005.
Hauri won the Richland Center Sectional title last Saturday. He takes a 34-4 record into his quarterfinal match on Friday and figures to have an excellent chance to medal in what his coach calls a wide-open bracket.
“It’s always tough at state, especially for a freshman, but Alex has a lot of experience wrestling at high-level tournaments,” Parkview coach Joel Steinman said. “He won five state titles as a youth wrestler, and has been wrestling all around the Midwest since he was five years old.”
Hauri needs to win one match to earn a spot on the podium, and that could come in his quarterfinal bout against possible opponent, Ryan Costello of Campbellsport. Costello defeated Hauri in an earlier meeting this season.
“Alex would like a shot at redemption with the Campbellsport kid,” Steinman said. “But he’s got to be ready to wrestle, whoever it might be.”
Milton enters Kohl Center with six qualifiers
There are plenty of other area wrestlers hoping to land a spot on the podium Saturday night.
The Milton Red Hawks lead the way with six qualifiers, including Wilmot Sectional champions John Wells (103), Ian Johnson (160), Michael Johnson (171) and James Miller (189). Miller is making his fourth trip to state and is 43-2 this season.
Landon Shea at 112 pounds and Chase Letson at 215 also qualified for the Red Hawks.
East Troy’s Jacob Zess joins Miller as a four-time state qualifier. The senior will take a 43-3 record into his quarterfinal match Friday. He could face Delavan-Darien’s Kyndle Bennett (43-5) in his quarterfinal bout if Bennett wins a preliminary match against Tri-County/Almond-Bancroft’s Joey Wiese (31-7).
Junior Steve Edwards (35-7) also qualified for the Trojans at 130.
Clinton’s Daniel Banh, who suffered his first two losses of the season at the sectional meet, will try to bounce back in his preliminary match at 112 pounds in Division 2. The junior takes a 40-2 record and a No. 2 ranking into his bout with Campbellsport’s Parker Peterson (31-9.) Teammate Brandon Wixom also qualified, and will wrestle a 125-pound preliminary match tonight against Luxemburg-Casco’s Jordan Seidl.
Brodhead/Juda freshman Hunter Colden takes a 39-6 record into his 145-pound preliminary match in Division 2 against Pewaukee’s Mike Dusel, and Jefferson senior Vince Racanelli is 38-7 heading into his Division 2 preliminary bout at 152 pounds against Ellsworth’s Tanner Eggenberger (26-8).
Delavan-Darien senior John Bentzon is 38-5 heading into a Division 2 145-pound match against Nathan Miller (41-9) of Winneconne.