MADISON – Boyceville wrestling has been blessed with talent for the past quarter of a century.
And this year’s crop is no different!
Headlined by a pair of veteran state champions, the Bulldogs also have a talented group of freshmen including a pair of first-time state qualifiers – Trett Joles and Walker Retz.
But with youth sometimes comes impatience.
While most first-year high school wrestlers would broadly grin while they accepted a third-place medal in their inaugural state tournament, not Trett Joles.
[emember_protected]He had much bigger aspirations than just winning the bronze medal in the Division 3, 182-pound weight class at the 75th annual WIAA State Individual Wrestling Championships that took place last Thursday through Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison.
“Trett is not happy,” said Boyceville head coach Jamie Olson. “You know, he had higher goals and it didn’t quite turn out the way he wanted it to. He was as good as anybody in that weight but he made a mistake.”
“But he came back and wrestled really hard today (Saturday) and that says a lot about character and being mentally tough,” added Olson. “A lot of kids would have still been worrying about that or pouting about it.”
Despite a shocking loss, just his second of the year, in Friday’s quarterfinals, the younger Joles came back to claim victories in his next three matches including a pin in the third-place match against the wrestler who had beaten him a day earlier.
Trett Joles’ fellow classmate and teammate, Walker Retz, on the other hand, seemed to enjoy his first trip to the Mecca of Wisconsin high school wrestling and the fourth-place finish he accrued at 113 pounds.
“To get a third and fourth out of two freshmen is really awesome,” Olson stated.
The coach added, “Those two kids are just phenomenal, they are great wrestlers and great kids. The sky is the limit for both of them.”
Trett Joles and Walker Retz were among half a dozen Boyceville Bulldogs that wrestled in the 2018 state tournament which also included Justin Malean and Noah Novotney.
The two seniors, who both placed sixth in their initial state tournament appearances last season, were looking to add more precious medal to their collections and Boyceville’s tally.
Unfortunately, neither Malean nor Novotney were able to garner spots on this year’s awards podium.
Malean lost a close decision in Thursday’s Division 3, 170-pound prelims and Novotney was twice pinned in Friday’s competition at 285 pounds.
The defeats brought an end to their second straight state meet competition and high school careers.
“Both placed sixth last year, but they came up short this year,” said Coach Olson. “They kind of go out together in kind of the same way. It didn’t work out (this time) but that’s what happens some times, it’s a tough tournament.”
Olson said the pair was disappointed.
A feeling that Joles shared with them.
Ranked second in his weight class, Joles suffered only his second defeat of the season when he was a victim of a surprisingly quick pin call from the referee at the 1:37 marked his 182-pound quarterfinal match Friday afternoon against Troy Klein, a junior from Lancaster. Joles was leading 4-2 prior to being pinned.
To his credit, the first-time state participant recovered to deliver an 8-5 decision over Royall senior Noah Friedl in the consolation semifinal later that day.
“A touch fall, I’ll say, it was a touch fall, a quick pin,” acknowledged Olson. “That guy is a college ref that officiated that match, so what do they do in college, they give quick pins, they do, that’s what they do.”
Olson continued by saying, “We got caught in a situation where you can’t go to your back and that kid is a thrower and so is Trett. So it was like, what is going to happen here but Trett turned it around and that was nice to see and ended on a great note.”
The victory over Friedl (40-5) put Joles into the consolation finals where he dominated he dominated his match against Edgar junior William Raatz (33-5).
Joles scored the combination of a takedown followed by a three-point near fall four different times in his match against the fourth-ranked Raatz.
Trett added his seventh takedown of the contest in the closing seconds of the bout for the 20-6 major decision. Scoreless through the one-minute first period, Joles lead 7-2 after the second frame and scored 13 points in the final two minutes for the lopsided victory and a berth in the third-place medal match.
“The Raatz kid, Trett beat 5-4 in the Merril (tournament), and then beat him 20-6 here, almost teched him, that shows a lot about a young kid that lost a heartbreaking match,” said Olson.
It not often that a wrestler gets an opportunity to avenge a heartbreaking loss suffered in the same tournament, but that very scenario does happen from time-to-time at the state meet.
It’s one that was afforded to the Bulldog’s Trett Joles.
24 hours after being knocked out of gold medal contention in the D3, 182 weight bracket, Joles came face-to-face once again with the wrestler that did the dirty deed – Lancaster’s Troy Klein.
Klein, ranked sixth, had caught Joles with a quick pin at the 1:37 mark of their quarterfinal match on Friday sending the Boyceville freshman into the consolation bracket.
As it turned out, Klein lost in the semifinals, setting the two on a collision course for a repeat performance.
Joles would exact his revenge.
A pair of first-period takedowns had Trett in front 4-1. Klein rallied to tie the match at four with an escape and takedown. Joles responded with the same combination for a 7-4 lead but Klein again came back to tie the match by the end of the second period.
Joles chose to take the down position to begin the third period. An illegal slam by Klein gave Joles a penalty point and the lead. In a quick series of moves, Joles broke free, scored a takedown that resulted in a match-ending pin at 4:27.
The fall gave Joles third place and his 46th win in 48 matches to set a new freshman mark, eclipsing the previous high of 44 wins set by three-time state champion Brock Schlough in the 2015-16 season.
Boyceville freshman Walker Retz opened his first-ever state tournament with flare and a 2:22 pin against Tristen Mascarette of Florence/Niagara at 113 pounds.
Scoreless through the first period of Thursday’s preliminary match, Walker began the second on top and quickly caught Mascarette (36-4), who had come into the meet ranked third, in a cradle and stuck him just 21 seconds into the middle period.
The win propelled Retz to the quarterfinals the next day where he faced eighth-rated Kolton Tesarik (32-14), a fellow freshman from Mishicot. Although he fell behind a 2-0 early in the first period, Retz scored a reversal and two near fall points to jump into the lead at 4-2. Tesarik came up with reversal to tie the match in the closing seconds of the first period.
Retz would then go on a 9-0 run the rest of the way to secure the 13-4 win with an escape, takedown ad three-point near fall in the second and another escape and takedown in the final frame.
That victory put Retz into Friday night’s semifinal round where he faced off against fifth-ranked sophomore Chad Moegenburg of Wittenberg-Birnamwood.
Walker scored first in the bout, taking Moegenburg to the mat for a 2-0 lead early in the opening period.
Moegenburg would work free with 52 second on the first-period clock and added a takedown to gain the advantage at 3-2.
That is how the match ended as neither wrestler was able to score in the final four minutes.
The loss pitted Retz against fellow freshman Griffin Slezewski of Southern Door in a Saturday morning consolation final at 113 pounds.
And the Boyceville freshman took control of the match quickly.
Retz scored a takedown and a three-point near fall in the final 15 seconds of the 1-minute opening period to lead 5-0. He then added another takedown and three-point near fall in the middle stanza to go ahead 10-1.
For a third consecutive period, Retz added a takedown and followed with three near fall points to up his lead to 15-1. Slezewski earned a late reversal but it was much too little and too late as Retz won 15-3 to punch his ticket to the third-place match where he faced second-ranked Mason Lull, a sophomore from Fennimore.
Retz’ bid for bronze in his first state visit came up short.
Following a scoreless first period, Retz’ opponent, Fennimore sophomore Mason Lull, was able to turn him for three back points and the lead. Retz scored his first points in the third period on an escape but Lull took him back down for a 5-1 lead which turned out to be the final score in the bronze-medal match.
Retz finished his first year of varsity wrestling with a 29-6 record despite suffering through bouts of illness and injury.
“Walker Retz today came back after a tough loss in the semis and wrestled really well,” said Olson.
“I am excited for the next three years, they are hard working kids and are hungry to get better,” Olson said of Retz and Trett Joles.
Unfortunately, it was a bittersweet ending for the wrestling careers of Bulldog seniors Justin Malean and Noah Novotney, both of whom finished without a win in their second consecutive state go-round.
Two-time state qualifier, Boyceville senior Justin Malean, who placed sixth a year ago in the 170-pound weight class, came up short in the same class this year, losing a 4-2 decision in Thursday evening’s prelims to Travis Reinke of Kewaunee.
Malean finished his final season 36-10.
Several times Malean tried to execute his best move, the Granby Roll, without success. His only points came via a pair of escapes.
“Justin lost to a tough kid in a good match,” stated Olson.
Noah Novotney, who also placed sixth in last year’s state meet, returned to the D3, 285-pound field once again, but was pinned in the first period in both his matches on Friday afternoon.
Novotney, who came into the state quarterfinals as a sectional titlist, was pinned in 32 seconds by Brookwood sophomore Trey Kaiser ( 40-7), who went on to place fourth.
An hour later, Novotney was out of the tournament following his second loss of the day, a 46-second pin at the hands of senior Ben Wheeler of River Ridge/Cassville in the consolation semifinals.
“Noah got caught, which was disappointing,” said Olson. “Both kids that Noah wrestled were really good, and we had to wrestle really well to beat them and didn’t have our best day.”
Novotney, who capped his senior year, with a 39-7 mark, finished with an overall record of 115-56 while Malean tallied 111 victories and 60 defeats.
“Great careers and good kids and I will miss them and the stability that they brought to the upper weights,” Olson said of Novotney and Malean.
“It is what really made us tough this year were those two guys mixing with the other horses we have.”