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Chouinard will represent Toppers in wrestling sectional

BOYCEVILLE — “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do!”

The lyrics from the song “One”, written by Harry Nilsson and made popular by the Beatles and Three Dog Night, could be Hogan Chouinard’s anthem for this Saturday’s sectional wrestling tournament.

And while he will not exactly be alone, Chouinard will have his coaches, parents, fans and friends there to cheer him on, the Glenwood City junior will be the Hilltoppers’ lone representative in the 2015 WIAA Division 3 Individual Wrestling Sectional at Osseo-Fairchild High School on Saturday, February 21.

Chouinard earned a berth in the tournament with his second-place finish in the 220-pound weight class at the WIAA Division 3 Wrestling Regional held last Saturday, February 14 at Boyceville High School.

“Hogan wrestled a solid tournament,” said Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong. “Hogan is a fighter and never backs down to competition. He doesn’t look strong, but he is.”

Just getting through and advancing past last week’s tournament was a feat in and of itself.

The Boyceville regional tournament, arguably one of the strongest division 3 regional fields in the state, saw many fine wrestlers’ seasons come to an abrupt end. Among them were the other nine Glenwood City wrestlers that competed. The Toppers had open weight classes at 132, 160, 182 and 195 pounds.

Sophomores Marcus Ullom and Jake Logghe came oh so close to qualifying after finishing third at their respective weights of 126 and 170 pounds. Just the top two place winners in each of the 14 weight classes advanced to the individual sectional.

Another pair of sophomores, Jake O’Meara and Spencer Peterson finished the season with fourth-place showings in Boyceville. Freshman Brad Kessler, Jake Nadeau and Trevor Larson finished sixth

“Coming into this regional I knew it was going to be tougher than the sectional tournament at most of the weights.” Coach Strong stated.  “I would love for the WIAA to take a look at this, but they don’t seem to be concerned about it. I believe there are kids that could place at the state tournament that do not get out of our regional tournament.”

As a team, Glenwood City finished sixth in the seven-team regional field with 80.5 points just nipping Durand, who finished with 77.

Two-time defending state runner-up Spring Valley/Elmwood edged host Boyceville for the third straight year to take the regional title and team sectional berth. The Cardinals rallied in the final round to beat the Bulldogs 259 to 251. Clear Lake took third with 170. All three schools were ranked in the top 10 in the latest Division 3 state team poll.

Cadott collected fourth with 119 points followed closely by Mondovi with 118 and then Glenwood City and Durand.

“It is unfortunate that Spring Valley and Boyceville are not wrestling a dual at sectionals,” said Strong. “They are clearly the two best teams in Northwest Wisconsin, yet only one of them wrestled Tuesday night.”

Spring Valley/Elmwood faced host Ladysmith in one semifinal at the Ladysmith Team Sectional last night (Tuesday, Feb. 17) while Cumberland took on Arcadia in the other. The winners competed in the championship match also held later that evening. The winner earned a berth in the state team championships in Madison on Saturday, March 7.

Meanwhile, Glenwood City’s wrestling season will continue with Hogan Chouinard who will be battling for sectional hardware and a state berth in Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Individual Wrestling Sectional at Osseo-Fairchild High School.

Chouinard went 3-1 in the regional to earn a spot in the sectional field.

After receiving a bye in the quarterfinals, Chouinard was paired against Clear Lake’s Mitch Lien in the semifinals.

The Warrior senior was ranked sixth in the recent Division 3 polls at 220 pounds. But that did not intimidate Chouinard, who took the fight to Lien from the opening-period whistle.

The Glenwood City wrestle took an 8-3 lead when the match was stopped due to an injury to Lien. Chouinard was awarded the win by injury default at 4:25 and a spot in the finals.

“We felt if he kept the match close with Lien in the semi-final that he would beat him in the third period,” noted Strong. “You never want to see a wrestler hurt in a match or not be able to continue but I believe Hogan would have won that match if it went the distance. He was up 8-3 with gas still in the tank.”

In the championship, Chouinard had to wrestle yet another state ranked grappler – fifth ranked Ethan Hofacker, a Spring Valley/Elmwood junior with an impressive 33-3 mark.

Hofacker showed his dominance taking Chouinard to the mat and the pin in just 28 seconds to secure the 220-pound championship medal.

But Chouinard would have to defend his second place finish in the wrestlebacks against a familiar foe.

Boyceville junior Jake Lake had taken third place after Lien forfeited due to his injury and was eying Chouinard and the silver.

Chouinard, however, would have none of that as he controlled the entire match from start to finish to take a 6-2 win,  the silver and sectional berth. Just a few weeks prior, Chouinard held off Lake for a 3-2 win.

“Hogan really stepped up his last match,” said his coach, referencing the wrestleback against Lake.

“We were not happy how he wrestled Lake in our dual,” added Strong. “We talked about that match quite a bit the past couple of weeks and how we need to be on the attack. The key to that match was the single leg he finished. He was able to get an angle and elevate the leg for the finish giving him a comfortable lead.”

“Jake Lake is a great kid, you hate to see kids staying home that could compete at sections, but we are very happy for Hogan,” said Strong. “He works really hard every day and never makes excuses.”

Both Marcus Ullom and Jake Logghe finished 2-1 at the regional tournament and in third place just missing a sectional berth.

“We had some great opportunities to send a couple more guys,” Strong would later remark.

Ullom opened the tournament with a first-period pin at 126 pounds. The Toppers’ sophomore need just 1:18 to take care of Durand’s Lucas Wayne in a quarterfinal’s match. In the semifinals, Ullom wrestled Isaiah Eitrem, a junior from Spring Valley/Elmwood and lost a close 11-8 match.

In his third place match against Boyceville Brock Swenson, Ullom took the early advantage and eventually pinned the Bulldog junior at 3:58 to land the bronze.

Ullom would not receive a wrestleback as Eitrem was beaten by Cadott’s Austin Najbrt in the championship.

“I felt Marcus Ullom wrestled a good match against Eitrem in the semi-finals,” said Strong. “He was down three late, but created a scramble on a granby that put him in position to win the match, but it didn’t go our way. His effort there was good and I was also pleased how he bounced back to take third.”

Jake Logghe came close to a trip to the sectional tournament despite going up a weight class in Boyceville.

“We decided in the seeding meeting to move Logghe up to 170.,” noted Strong.

“Despite the weight difference, Jake wrestled well and was on the attack,” Strong continued. “I think the strength difference right now makes it difficult for him to finish his shots. If he improves his strength he finishes leg attacks on these upper weight guys. His effort is outstanding.”

Logghe scored a quick 44 second pin over Cadott’s Ethan Haider in the quarterfinals. His only loss came in the next round where Logghe dropped an 8-3 decision to Ryan Asher, a junior from Spring Valley/ Elmwood.

The Glenwood City sophomore bounced back in the third-place match as he picked up his second pin of the day, a 2:34 fall against Trevor Kivi of Clear Lake to take the 170-pound bronze.

Like Ullom, Logghe was denied a wrestleback opportunity when Asher was pinned by Boyceville freshman Garrett Joles in the championship match.

Jake O’Meara and Spencer Peterson both finished the tournament 1-2 and in fourth place.

O’Meara received an opening round bye at 145 pounds. He then fell 3-1 in the semifinals to Mondovi’s Brett Larson and was pinned by junior Ryan Berg of Spring Valley/Elmwood in the third-place match.

“I know Jake O’Meara is a little down right now on how he competed, but I’m very proud of him,” said Strong. “I don’t believe he is fully healthy yet from last years injury. He lost so much strength without activity for months and he is just starting to get back to where he once was. He won 31 matches this year and still has two years to compete.”

Despite his 12-22 record, Spencer Peterson came out strong in the 152-pound quarterfinal’s round at regional and earned a 3:29 pin over Cadott’s Isaiah Pecha. But the Toppers’ sophomore ran into defending state champion Micah Johnson of Boyceville and was himself a victim of a pin (42 seconds). Peterson also fell by pin in the third-place match to another Johnson – Devon Johnson of Spring Valley/Elmwood – in 1:54.

Brad Kessler (106), Jake Nadeau (113) and Trevor Larson (120) each went 1-2 and took sixth. Kessler’s win came on a 16-0 technical fall in the consolation semifinals while both Nadeau and Larson were via byes.

Cody Bonte (138) and Anthony Melstrom (285) lost both their regional matches and did not place.

“I felt the kids wrestled better than we did at conference, we seemed to be more focused during the week in preparation,” Strong said.

“We need to get to work if we want to get back to competing at a high level. We return everyone on our team next year, but weight room commitment and time in the wrestling room are a must if we want to compete in this regional.”

Sectional wrestling at Osseo-Fairchild will get underway at 10 a.m. with quarterfinals’ action.