INDEPENDENCE — Take two for Jake.
For the second consecutive year, Glenwood City’s Jacob Nadeau has punched his ticket for the state wrestling tournament.
The Hilltoppers’ junior placed second at 120 pounds in last Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Individual Wrestling Sectional held at Independence High School to earn a berth in the state wrestling championships which will be held this Thursday through Saturday in the Kohl Center in Madison.
“Jake wrestled a very good tournament,” stated Glenwood City head coach Shane Strong.
“He has been very focused this year on his goals as an individual,” added Strong.
Unfortunately, Nadeau will be the Toppers’ lone act in the 2017 WIAA State Wrestling tournament after he was the only one of Glenwood City’s sectional trio to qualify for this weekend’s championships.
Fellow junior Carson Strong, in his first sectional competition, came up just short in his bid to join Nadeau, losing a heartbreaking decision in the 132-pound third-place match at the Independence Sectional February 18 and finishing fourth. Strong just missed a state berth by one place as only the top three in each of the 14 weight classes qualify for state.
Glenwood City’s third and final competitor, senior Dan Taylor, lost his first and only sectional match at 106 pounds via a pin and was eliminated.
Nadeau will once again open his state tournament competition with a preliminary-round match-up which get underway around 7:15 p.m. Nadeau is slated to face third-place sectional finisher Matthew Grossman, a junior from Pittsville who sports a 28-10 record.
Carrying an impressive 34-8 mark so far this season, Nadeau, who is currently rated ninth in the latest individual state poll at 120 pounds, opened Saturday’s sectional meet with a pair of shutout, albeit close, decisions.
In the quarterfinal, Nadeau scored a 3-0 victory over Arcadia sophomore Tyler Klar.
Then in his semifinal bout against Jasper Bushman (21-14), a Phillips senior, the Glenwood City grappler was able to once again hold his opponent scoreless as he advanced to the championship match with a 2-0 decision.
Cochrane-Fountain City junior Andrew Rothering (28-8) used a couple of shooting takedowns to take a lead on Nadeau in the finals. Rothering added a third takedown in the final two minutes of the match and then staved off a spirited comeback by Nadeau to win 6-4.
To hold on to his silver medal, Nadeau had to wrestle and beat Unity senior Adrian Bearhart in the wrestleback which he did with a pin at 3:14.
“He never seems to get frustrated in a match regardless of the situation,” said Coach Strong of Nadeau.
“He struggled to score on his feet in the first period in all of his matches,” Strong added. “But he kept his focus and won his matches on the mat where he is strongest. I’m very proud of him for his work ethic and commitment to his goals.”
Nadeau teammate and classmate Carson Strong made an opening-round splash in his sectional debut, beating Dustin Roach of Ladysmith by a fall just 1:18 into the pair’s quarterfinal match at 132 pounds.
That win advanced Strong to a semifinal bout against the weight’s top ranked wrestler in the state – Tate Murty of Cochrane-Fountain City. In the match, Murty showed why he has earned his ranking and 33-1 record as he scored a 16-1 technical fall over Strong in 4:48. The Pirate junior went on to defeat Seth Schlegel of Spring Valley/Elmwood 10-2 in the finals.
Despite the setback, Strong rebounded with a dominate performance in the consolation semifinals blanking Shell Lake senior Jack Skluzacek (22-10) for a 12-0 major decision.
Strong, however, came up a point short in his next match for third place. Chad Waldera, a 29-8 senior from Blair-Taylor scored a 4-3 win and the final state berth.
“Carson suffered a heart breaking loss in the third place match,” said his coach and father Shane Strong.
“I felt Carson wrestled with great heart Saturday, but made a couple of little mistakes that cost him that close match,” continued the elder Strong.
“His effort and attitude all year has been great. Sometimes things do not go the way you plan or you suffer defeats that you felt you could win. That is what life is all about, he will need to work hard to overcome the pain he is feeling right now,” the coach added.
“He does all of the right things and that makes me proud as a dad. He practices hard, lifts weights, follows all athletic codes and cares about our school. I couldn’t ask for more than that as a coach or dad,” concluded Shane Strong of his son, who finished he season with a 34-6 record.
Senior Dan Taylor’s first and only trip to the sectional tournament was all too brief.
Taylor, 15-12 on the year, lost his 106-pound sectional quarterfinal match by a fall to top-ranked Logan Steglich (37-6) of Cumberland. The Beavers’ junior scored the pin in 2:55 and went on to take the gold medal.
“It was a tough draw for him but I’m very proud of Dan being a first-year varsity wrestler and only wrestling two and a half years,” Strong said. “He has been very coachable and committed to this team. I wish we could have worked with him in youth and junior high. Overall you couldn’t ask for a better kid than Dan Taylor, he has a bright future ahead of him.”