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Feb, 2022

Waunakee's Hooker, Schweitzer are headed to state in wrestling

Kaden Hooker and Jack Schweitzer both survived and advanced. They are headed to the WIAA Division 1 State Individual Wrestling Meet.

Schweitzer’s day at the Sun Prairie sectional on Saturday, Feb. 19, was unusual, to say the least.

“One of the first times I’ve ever seen it happen actually happened,” said Waunakee Head Coach Mark Natzke.

 

Competing at 220 pounds, Schweitzer started off by pinning Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln’s Tanner Gormanson in 19 seconds. Next up was Holmen’s Carson Westcott, a wrestler Schweitzer beat earlier this season.

Westcott went in with a good plan and executed it perfectly, winning by major decision 12-2.

“Jack just couldn’t get him to wrestle his match,” said Natzke. “He’s one of the top kids in the state.”

That loss sent Schweitzer to the third-place match, but Sparta’s Hayden Brueggeman forfeited due to injury. In a true wrestle back, Schweitzer then moved on to the second-place match. Again, his opponent – Beaver Dam/Wayland Academy’s Nick Ludowese – forfeited because of injury, and Schweitzer ended up finishing second for his first trip to state.

“We tell the kids at sectionals you might see something you’ve never seen before,” said Natzke. “Crazy things happen.”

For Hooker, he took a more conventional route to the Kohl Center, where the state meet will be held Thursday through Friday, Feb. 24-26.

 

The Warriors’ 195-pounder had a tough opening match against Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln’s Damion Stirk, before pinning him in 4:18. Hooker took only 40 seconds to stick Holmen’s Griffin Banks’ shoulders to the mat.

Still getting his sea legs back after sitting out the entire month of January due to injury, Hooker submitted an injury forfeit in the first-place match, having already earned his second berth in the state tourney.

“He did a nice job,” said Natzke. “I think he’s shown great improvement coming back from injury, putting in extra work. He came out and took care of business. The first match took a little longer, and in the second match, he got a takedown right away and a pin in the first minute. He’s gaining more confidence. The doubt of wondering how the knee is going to hold up is not there anymore.”

At 126 pounds, Jayden Freie won his opening match at sectionals, edging Reedsburg’s Trenton Curtin 4-3. With about 20 seconds left, Freie was awarded a reversal for the winning points.

Freie then lost by pin in the next two matches. He went down fighting in the third-place match, going for the win.

In the third period, Freie was down by a few points and took a shot to get points. Natzke said he got out of position and was put on his back, getting pinned in 5:35.

“At the end of the day, he walked off the mat knowing he gave it all he had,” said Natzke.

Waunakee’s other qualifiers – Coltan Nechvatal (132), Gabe Guralski (138), Robert Lofreddo (152) and Jackson Lenzendorf (285) – all lost in the first round.

“Robert is graduating, but the other three will be back next year and were able to see what it was like to be there,” said Natzke.

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