OSSEO — Nothing is deserved. Everything must be earned.
Those words and their meaning echoed in the ears of each of Glenwood City’s sectional qualifiers as they took the wrestling mats in the Osseo-Fairchild High School gymnasium last Saturday, February 16 for the 2013 WIAA Division 3 Individual Wrestling Sectional.
“The one thing we talked about all week long was nobody deserves anything,” said Shane Strong, Glenwood City head wrestling coach, following the conclusion of the annual sectional event hosted once again by Independence High.
“We have to earn it. So it doesn’t matter how much time you put in or what you have done, you have to earn it. So don’t feel like you deserve something, go out and take it,” Strong told his charges.
“And I think they have done that,” added Strong.
One would have to agree with the coach’s assessment.
Out of the seven Glenwood City wrestlers that competed in Saturday’s sectional tournament, four earned berths in this week’s state championships at the Kohl Center in Madison as three claimed individual sectional crowns.
“It was a great day for Glenwood City wrestling,” Strong stated. “I am happy and very proud of all the boys.”
After finishing as a sectional runner-up the previous two years, senior Adam Holmquist finally won his coveted gold when claimed the championship at 138 pounds. Fellow seniors Austin Moe and Riley Knops, who along with Holmquist comprise “The Hammer” triumvirate, each secured their third consecutive sectional titles. Knops won the 120-pound championship after winning at 106 pounds in 2011 and 2012. Moe, meanwhile, claimed his third different sectional weight title with a victory at 145 pounds. Moe had won at 130 and 138 pounds in his two prior trips to the sectional meet.
This will be the fourth trip to state for Knops with Moe and Holmquist both competing at state for a third straight year.
Junior Isaac Tuttle will also join the “Hammers” this week at the 2013 WIAA State Wrestling Championships which run Feb. 21-23. Tuttle placed third at 170 pounds to qualify for his first state championship meet. Not a small feat considering Tuttle missed much of the season due to a broken hand suffered late in the Hilltoppers’ state championship football run.
Tuttle will be competing in Thursday evening’s preliminary round which will get underway around 7:15 on Feb. 21. The prelims feature matches between second and third-place sectional finishers. Knops, Holmquist and Moe, by virtue of their sectional wins, do not wrestle until Friday morning’s Division 3 quarterfinals which begin at 11:15 a.m. Tuttle will also make the quarterfinals round should he win in Thursday’s prelims.
With full knowledge that nothing is given or deserved, Holmquist, Knops, Moe, and Tuttle hit the mats hard Saturday in Osseo and earned their berths to the state tournament.
The “Hammers”, all ranked number one in their respective weight classes for much of this season, providing demonstrations of their wrestling prowess en route to sectional titles.
Adam Holmquist, Glenwood City’s career wins leader with a 163-14 record over the past four seasons, was on a mission. He was not going to be denied a sectional championship in this his third and final attempt to secure the gold medal.
It took Holmquist just 1:49 to win his quarterfinals’ match at 138 pounds. He pinned Flambeau’s Jarod Bainter to earn a semifinal’s showdown against Erik Ulrich of Clear Lake. Ulrich has been ranked second or third behind Holmquist and Saturday’s battle did not disappoint. Holmquist controlled Ulrich and the match to claim a 5-1 decision and a spot in the championship.
“Adam wrestling the number two kid in the state, (Erik) Ulrich (of Clear Lake) is a very good wrestler and I thought Adam controlled the match from start to finish,” said Strong. “He was very focused today.”
Holmquist drew Spencer Bisek in the title bout and blanked the Arcadia senior 9-0 for his first sectional gold medal.
“Adam has run into a couple of Bruce kids (in the past) that were really tough,” said Strong. “It just seems like he ran into them every year but today he said ‘I’m not coming out of here with any thing less than gold’.”
“When Adam got done and he won I said ‘Okay, I want that same mentality next week’,” Strong recalled. “He is three matches away from his goal. We are going to take one match at a time obviously. He has worked for it.”
The focus of the champion. Holmquist has it as does the Hilltoppers’ two-time reigning state champions Riley Knops and Austin Moe.
While Moe, despite illness, dominated his weight class, Knops (now 153-14 overall) had to put in some extra effort particularly in a tight semifinals match. Knops pinned Phillips’ George Wolfe in 5:11 to open the tournament.
Knops would need every bit of his wrestling savvy to out duel Cumberland sophomore Trey Lundequam. Knops shut out Lundequam to take a 4-0 semifinal’s decision and a berth in the 120-pound championship.
“Riley wrestled really tough,” stated Strong. “Trey (Lundequam) of Cumberland is a really solid wrestler. I can see Trey becoming a state champ here in a couple of years. He is a sophomore and is a really good wrestler. He reminds me a lot of Riley when Riley was a sophomore and freshman.”
Knops continued to wrestle that way in the final where he majored fellow senior Tim Anderson of Clear Lake, 9-1, to lay claim to a third sectional crown.
An ailing Austin Moe delivered dominant performances throughout and easily ran through the 145-pound bracket to pick up his third consecutive sectional title. Moe pinned Pat Vehrenkamp of Balir-Taylor at the 4:46 mark of the pair’s quarterfinal match. He followed it by majoring Chequamegon’s Wyatt Juneau 13-2 in the semifinal and then teched of Spring Valley/Elmwood’s Zach Newton 15-0 in the finals for a second straight week. Moe, currently 157-16, also knocked off Newton in the D-SC/Big Rivers Challenge by a 12-1 count in the semifinals two weeks ago.
“Austin was not feeling well today and was a little bit lethargic but he battled and was able to dominate that finals match against a Newton kid that is pretty good,” Strong said.
All three of the Toppers’ sectional champions will enter this year’s state tournament with identical 39-1 records.
Tuttle (14-4) with just half the matches of the others will enter the state tournament with no less determination than the other three to win a state championship.
“A great day for Isaac Tuttle. He came in with a great mind set today.” Strong noted. “We talked about it and he said ‘I wrestle scared some times and I just don’t feel scared anymore’. He came after it.”
Tuttle opened his day at 170 pounds with a 1:23 pin of LaCrosse Aquinas’ Chris Poellinger. Despite being pinned by eventual sectional champ Kyle Heinsohn of Cameron in the semis, Tuttle rebounded to win his next two matches. He majored Joe Weisenberger of Ladysmith 10-1 in the consolation and followed with a 5:01 pin of Arcadia’s Hunter Tulip in the third-place match. That win gave Tuttle a shot at second but Clear Lake’s Garrett Paulson held on to the silver medal with a pin at 3:34 in the wrestleback.
“I thought he executed and I thought that was the highlight of the tournament, having a kid like that hasn’t been in all season and then come out and make it to the state tournament is awesome.”
Despite solid efforts, the season and in one case the career for the Toppers’ three other sectional competitors came to an end. Juniors Jake Carlson (126) and Blayze Wood (182), along with senior Kyle Peterson (285) each went 0-2 last Saturday in their respective weight classes.
Kyle Peterson (14-12) made it to the sectional meet in his one and only year of wrestling. The senior heavyweight lost on pins to both the heavyweight champion Alex Lennartson of Unity and runner-up Donovan Rolstan from Bruce.
“I am real proud of Kyle,” said the coach. “It’s his first year wrestling. He worked hard and got to the sectional tournament. I know he was feeling down about not winning a match but Kyle ran into two real good kids.”
The same could be said for both Woods and Carlson.
Like Peterson, Blayze Wood lost to the champion and runner-up at 182 pounds. He lost a heartbreaking 2-0 decision to Cumberland’s gold medalist Jaylen Lansin and then a 7-0 set back to Mike Scharenbrock of Flambeau in the consolation round.
“Unfortunately for Blayze, he wrestled well his first match but was having a little bit of an issue with his blood sugar today,” said Strong. “It was up and down all day long which causes him some issues and that is tough when you have a medical issue and to be out there and perform for six minutes.”
Carlson lost to Jordan Corcoran in the quarterfinals on a 4-0 decision. Corcoran would go on to win the 126-pound title. Carlson would fall 5-2 to Ed Watts of Cumberland in the consolation and be eliminated.
“I thought Jake Carlson wrestled real well today,” Strong noted. “He wrestled Corcoran (Aquinas), who I believe will be top three in the state. He had a nice takedown against Ed Watts (Cumberland). He does have a strength issue against some of these guys and he knows that but he is a worker and is trying to get better.”
Strong and his four state entrants will be working for “great tournament” performances in the season finale when they hit the mats in Madison this Thursday and Friday. Each will look to earn their place in Hilltoppers’ wrestling history.