Website Manager

News Detail

6

Feb, 2019

Warrior wrestlers end Sauk Prairie's run atop the Badger North

For eight years, Sauk Prairie’s wrestling team has been perched atop the Badger North. Not anymore.

After sharing the title with the Eagles the past two seasons, Waunakee’s wrestlers claimed the Badger North title outright with their showing at the Badger Conference tournament in Fort Atkinson.

“It feels really good to take it away from them,” said Waunakee senior Zach Marek. “They had the conference title eight years in a row. We finally got it from them.”

 

Badger Conference Tournament

Four Warriors claimed individual titles at the tournament titles on Saturday: Sam Lorenz at 120, Colton Grindle at 170, Marek at 182, and Reed Ryan at 220. Each won all three of their matches to secure championship status.

“They dominated all the way through,” said Waunakee’s Head Coach Mark Natzke. “Zach Marek pinned his way through.”

Marek’s final pin – the one that won the title match – proved to be his fastest. Less than 30 seconds after the match’s start, Marek had his opponent in a headlock with his back to the mat.

“I work on it a lot…” Marek said of his go-to pin technique. “When I feel it, when it’s there, I know that it’s there, so I hit it. It works really well for me.”

The toughest competition for Lorenz and Ryan came in their championship matches; Lorenz faced Milton’s Mason Dutcher, ranked eighth in the state at 120 pounds, while Ryan matched up against fifth-ranked Matt Brewster of Watertown in his final at 220. Both proved to be up to the challenge. Lorenz used a strong second period to pull away from Dutcher, and Ryan overcame a bloody nose – which required an abundance of gauze and tape to finally stop – to score a major decision over Brewster.

“It means a lot to finally get a conference title after being a runner-up two years in a row,” said Ryan. “It just shows how you have to put in a little bit more than you did the year before just to get ‘er done. It’s a really great accomplishment, especially to have four individual champions and to finally get a sole conference championship as a team.”

For Lorenz, the conference title marked a significant step in his comeback from an injury prior to the season.

“I was, obviously, a little frustrated when I got injured…” Lorenz said. “I was out of sports for a while. I built up a drive and was able to work on my conditioning while it was out; it motivated me.”

Grindle’s final two matches were both grinders; he won his semifinal by a score of 6-3, and found a way score late points against Monroe’s Alex Witt in the final to win 6-2.

“I think I had more passion than him,” said Grindle of what gave him the edge in his first-place match. “He’s a great wrestler; it was great wrestling him. He’s great competition, and I hope he has a great season. I think I wanted it more than him.”

 
 

The Warriors weren’t just a top-heavy team, either. They had an abundance of wrestlers place highly to score 281.5 points: second to Stoughton’s 383 and 68.5 points ahead of Sauk Prairie.

At 113, Nick Schweitzer came in second, falling in his first-place match to Stoughton’s Nicolar Rivera, who came into the tournament ranked #1 in the state at 106 pounds. Winning third-place matches were Kolby Heinz at 106 and Berhett Statz at 126.

Braysen Ellis finished in fourth place at 132, while Kyle Wilcox and Kael Johnson added sixth-place finishes at 138 and 152, respectively.

“Today, we wrestled incredibly,” Natzke said of his team’s effort. “We had 10 guys place top-six. Four champs.”

The strong performance culminated a season-long goal for the Warriors to finally claim a conference title without sharing with the Eagles.

“It just makes it that much more special to finally get it and keep it to ourselves,” said Ryan. “Not to be greedy, but it was great to finally put them away for good and get our own title.”

Waunakee didn’t get much time to spend relishing their new title; their postseason run begins the following Saturday, when they host their WIAA Regional meet.

“We’re not done yet; the season’s still going,” Natzke said at the conclusion of the meet. “We’ve got regionals next week. We’ll look to repeat and win that, and see how it goes from there.”

Copyright © 2019 Waunakee Wrestlebackers  |  Privacy Policy |  Terms of Use  |  License Agreement |  Children's Privacy Policy  Log In