Wolverines qualify team, 3 individuals for tournaments
By Chris Bennett
Six wrestlers did the work of 14 for Waterford Union High School Feb. 6 in a WIAA Division 1 sectional tournament at Brookfield East High School.
As a result of their effort and perseverance the Wolverines are going to the Division 1 Team State Wrestling Tournament Feb. 20 at Kaukauna High School.
But before that three Wolverines will compete Saturday in the Division 1 State Individual Wrestling Tournament, also at Kaukauna High School.
The Division 1 state and team wrestling tournaments are being held at Kaukauna High School due to the pandemic.
Hayden Halter (11-0) at 126 pounds and Evan Danowski (12-1) at 170 each won their weight class at the sectional. Joshua Cherba (11-1) at 138 finished second. The top two in each weight class advance from the sectional to state.
“There were a lot of good things that happened,” Waterford coach Tom Fitzpatrick said of the sectional. “Every one of them had a run at it. That’s par for this team. They never say die and fight to the end.”
The Division 1 bracket at each weight class consists of eight wrestlers this season instead of the usual 16. If a wrestler wins two matches at Kaukauna he is a state champion.
Halter beat Burlington’s Grant Koenen (10-3) by major decision, 12-2, for the title at 126. Halter opens at state against Beaver Dam/Wayland’s Kyler Neuberger (14-1).
Halter is ranked second in the state in Division 1 at 126 in the most recent Wisconsin Wrestling Online State Poll.
Danowski (12-1) is ranked ninth at 170, and beat Kenosha Bradford/Reuther’s Carson Widmar (7-2) 6-2 for the title.
Danowski wrestles DeForest’s Brody Hemauer (11-1) in his first match at state.
Cherba (11-1) wrestles Homestead’s Charlie Millard (16-0) in his first match at state. Cherba lost in the semifinals and wrestled back to eventually pin Wilmot’s Joel Sullivan (10-4) in 1:57 in the second-place match.
Hunter Rudzinski (10-4) finished third at 145 and Will French (11-3) finished fourth at 182.
Waterford finished with 99.5 points in winning the sectional title – nine points better than second-place Brookfield East (90.5). The top two teams advance from the sectional to team state.
“We knew we were going in with only six guys,” Fitzpatrick said. “Other teams had 10. We knew it would be an uphill battle, but they rose to the occasion.”
There are 13 weight classes in Wisconsin high school wrestling. The entire team – not just those who advanced to individual state – gets to wrestle at the team state tournament.
Among Southern Lakes Conference teams Burlington finished third (84), Union Grove fourth (80.5), Wilmot eighth (60), Badger 14th (42) and Westosha Central 23rd (16) at the sectional.