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24

Feb, 2021

Warriors earn spot in state team semifinals

After a season that looked like no other, the Waunakee prep wrestling team found itself in more uncharted waters this past Saturday at the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament in Kaukauna. The Warriors not only competed at the state team tournament for the first time, but made their first trip to the semifinals.

“It’s been a trying year with all the COVID stuff, but the kids came out and fought all year,” Warrior coach Mark Natzke said. “To get to the semifinals, where we have never been before, is something to build on for the future.”

Waunakee earned a spot in the semifinals after rallying to beat Marshfield 40-32 in the quarterfinals.


The Warriors were not able to overcome an early deficit to eventual state champion Kaukauna in the semifinals. The Galloping Ghosts captured a 60-18 victory.

“It’s tough to lose but we lost to the No. 1 team in the state,” Natzke said. “We battled to the end.”

The Warriors finished the season with an overall dual record of 5-2.

“To make it out of a really tough sectional and be at team state was really special,” Waunakee senior Sam Lorenz said. “It is crazy to see all the big steps we have taken. Nobody would have picked us to be in the state semifinals.”

The loss in the state semifinals marked the end for the Lorenz and the Warriors’ senior group of Kolby Heinz, Cade Reddington, Braysen Ellis, Charles Borchardt, Daniel Ford and Jackson Reischel.

“We are a close group and hold each other accountable,” Lorenz said. “I think this senior group has shown the young guys what it takes to compete at a high level and hopefully they can carry that on.”

Natzke is very pleased with the legacy the senior group has left.

“They have never given up and have battled for four years,” Natzke said. “They have been a part of three conference titles, but unfortunately they didn’t get a chance to defend the title this year. They have been tremendous leaders for our program. To watch them grow up over the last four years and become great young men has been great.”

Waunakee 40

Marshfield 32

The Warriors looked to be in trouble after falling behind 24-0 to start the dual. Marshfield opened with four straight first-period pins.

“We knew where they were the toughest and starting out the dual at 152 we knew we might have to dig out of a little bit of a hole,” Natzke said. “We just had to make sure we were ready to go when we needed to.”

Marshfield got going when 152-pounder Brett Franklin pinned Scott Jezik in a minute, while 160-pounder Ryan Dolezal struck Tori Bialkowski in 8 seconds. At 170, Marshfield’s Garrett Wiluweit pinned Charles Borchardt in 1:23, while 182-pounder Camren Denee closed out the run by pinning Jacob Lyftogt in 1:55.

The Warriors responded with a big run of their own. They claimed seven straight victories to erase the deficit and take a 37-24 lead.

Waunakee dominated the upper weights, as 195-pounder Kaden Hooker, 220-pounder Daniel Ford and heavyweight Jack Schweitzer all had wins.

“Hooker, Forde and Schweitzer got us going and set things up for our lower weights,” Natzke said. “We just stayed after it and kept building momentum.”

Hooker scored a takedown and two nearfall points in the third period to knock off Cody Weix 6-2 , while Ford scored at least three points in all three periods to propel himself to a 13-1 major decision over Jaden Wilhelm. Schweitzer followed with a fall in 4:21 against James Clements.

Schweitzer started a run of three straight pins for Waunakee. 106-pounder Max McKinley and 113-pounder Jayden Freie followed with first-period pins. McKinley pinned Jace Kelnhofer in 1:26, while Freie struck Landon Taylor in 33 seconds.

The Warriors finished off the run with forfeit wins by 120-pounder Coltan Nechvatal and 126-pounder Dane Spencer.

Marshfield cut the deficit to 10, 37-27, after 132-pounder Keagan Cliver edged Heinz 5-3.

With the dual still hanging in the balance, Waunakee turned to Lorenz, who separated his shoulder early in his 138-pound match with Hoyt Blaskowski. Despite the injury, Lorenz used a second-period takedown to edge Blaskowski 3-2.


“I knew that if I didn’t win, we were going to have trouble winning the dual,” Lorenz said. “I told them to pop my shoulder back in because I was going to finish out the match. I didn’t wrestle how I would have liked, but I did what I had to do for the team.”

Marshfield 145-pounder Gabe Pugh closed out the dual with an 18-3 technical fall over Gabe Guralski.

Kaukauna 60

Waunakee 18

Just like in the quarterfinals, Waunakee dropped the first four matches of the semifinal to fall behind 18-0. But this time, they were unable to erase the deficit.

“It is tough when a good team like Kaukauna gets on a roll,” Natzke said. “They are hard to stop when they have the momentum.”

The dual started at 160 pounds and Kaukauna’s Clay Wendzicki pinned Jezik in 1:43, while 170-pounder Drew Wendzicki stuck Borchardt in 38 seconds.

In a battle of state place winners at 182, the Ghosts’ Griffin Bekish defeated Hooker 7-3, while at 195 Trevor Stuyvenberg outlasted Ford 15-10.

“We had some guys who battled,” Natzke said. “Kaden and Daniel battled two guys who placed high at the state tournament. When you make it this far, you are going to face some really tough competition.”

Waunakee finally got on the scoreboard at 220, as Schweitzer pinned Ben Krueger in 26 seconds.

After Kaukauna heavyweight Alex Ashauer pinned Reischel in 1:06, the Warriors picked up their second win of the night. McKinley earned his second win of the day after pinning Michael Posorski in 2:57.

Kaukauna took complete control with consecutive pins by 113-pounder Connor Smith, 120-pounder Bryan Winans, 126-pounder Greyson Clark and 132-pounder Jager Eisch.


Smith started the run by pinning Freie in 59 seconds, while Winans stuck Nechvatal in 2:20. Clark, who was coming off an individual state title, pinned Heinz in 1:29, while Eisch, who also won an individual state crown a week earlier, recorded a fall in 38 seconds against Dane Spencer.

Lorenz had the final win for Waunakee. He pinned Carson Smith in 3:44.

Kaukauna closed the dual with wins by 145-pounder Logan Stumpf and 152-pounder Titus Hammen. Stumpf pinned Guralski in 1:31, while Hammen received a forfeit.

Kaukauna defeated defending champion Stoughton 38-26 in the championship dual.
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