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Feb, 2023

Waunakee's Guralski, Spear, Ottoson headed to state

Gabe Guralski came back with a vengeance. Mason Spear met a familiar foe, and Katelyn Ottoson made it to the Kohl Center.

Taking different paths to get there, the three Waunakee wrestlers are headed to the WIAA Division 1 State Wrestling Meet in Madison, which runs Thursday through Saturday, after the Warriors were knocked out of team sectionals by Stoughton on Tuesday, Feb. 14.

At 138 pounds, Guralski opened individual sectionals — hosted by Waunakee — with an 18-0 technical fall in 4:19 over Stoughton’s William Hollister, before edging Reedsburg’s Colton Herritz 8-6.


“Gabe had a down tournament at regionals, but he bounced back,” said Mark Natzke, head coach for Waunakee.

Guralski won in dramatic fashion over Herritz, giving up an escape late that tied the match. With two seconds left, Guralski scored a takedown with two seconds remaining that lifted him to victory.

“That shows his grit and determination,” said Natzke. “He didn’t give up and got the win.”

As for Spear, he pinned his first two sectional opponents at 106, sticking Monona Grove/McFarland’s Chaston Dotzauer in 1:40 and winning by fall in 1:27 over Verona’s Tayvion Howard.

In the first-place match, Spear lost 4-3 to Reedsburg’s Treynor Curtin, but he put the disappointment behind him to dominant Baraboo’s Dezmen Severson in a 17-0 technical fall in 3:34, as Spear had to compete in a true wrestleback to take second.

Ottoson reached the first-ever girls’ state meet last season, along with teammate Madison Mercurio. Unlike last year, female wrestlers had to qualify to get there, and Ottoson won by pin in 3:54 over Oregon’s Emily Kramer in the 120-pound first-place match at sectionals to advance. This year’s girls’ tournament will be held in the Kohl Center.

“She went on the offensive, attacking right away,” said Natzke. “She got the first takedown to get nearfall points and got a pin in the second period.”


Mercurio ran into a tough customer in the finals at sectionals, after pinning Oregon’s Julia Ibrahim in 1:45. In the first-place match, Middleton’s Jessica Bristol defeated Mercurio 9-3. To reach state, female wrestlers had to win a sectional title.

“She ran into a quality girl,” said Natzke.

Other Waunakee wrestlers just missed out on going to state. Colton Nechvatal (132), McCoy Smith (182), Jackson Lenzendorf (285), Jack Schweitzer (195) and Joe Kaney (170) all placed fourth, which left them on the outside looking in.

Team Sectional

The Warriors made it to Baraboo, after taking second at the DeForest regional as a team.

They drew Stoughton in the semifinals, losing to the Vikings 49-22. Down 15-0, Waunakee got a 20-3 technical fall in 5:47 over Hollister.

It was 31-5 when Smith pinned Brandon Hohol in 33 seconds at 182 and Schweitzer won by fall at the 4:39 mark at 195 over Kaeson Salonek.

Spear secured Waunakee’s final win of the night, as he notched a 16-0 technical fall in 5:56 over Gabe Schneider.

Stoughton’s road to state was blocked by Reedsburg, as the Vikings lost 48-27 in the next round later that night to the Beavers.

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