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CADOTT — A third of Glenwood City’s 2019 regional wrestling contingent will be moving on to sectional competition.
Of the nine Hilltopper wrestlers competing in last Saturday’s regional tournament in Cadott, three made the finals with one winning a championship in the six-team WIAA Division 3 Cadott Wrestling Regional held February 9.
Sophomore Andy Grant captured gold at 113 pounds while senior Bryce Fayerweather and junior Tucker Lagerstrom struck silver in their respective weight classes of 220 and 170 pounds.
The trio earned berths in the 2019 WIAA Division 3 Individual Sectional to be held this Saturday, February 16 at Independence High School.
Senior Dakota Dean-Immerman and freshman Thomas Moede just missed the sectional cut after they finished third at 195 and 126 pounds respectively.
Saturday’s meet was also the final stop of the season for junior Andrew Berends (285) and freshman Kyla Haaf (160) who both copped fourth-place finishes and junior Nick Melendrez (152) who came in sixth.
Glenwood City, who had open weight classes at 106, 132, 138, 145 and 182, finished fourth in the final regional team standings for a second straight year, tied with last year’s team victor, Clear Lake at 102 points.
Perennial runner-up Boyceville finally jumped to the top. The Bulldogs, ranked among the honor mentions in Division 3, rallied past host and 12th-ranked Cadott with a strong championship round to claim its first regional team championship since 2010 and a berth in Wednesday’s team sectional in Ladysmith. Boyceville scored 234.5 to edge out the Hornets who finished seven and a half points back.
Spring Valley/Elmwood finished third with 133 points followed by Glenwood City and Clear Lake in fourth with 102 and Cornell/Gilman scored 75 to take sixth.
Cadott had the most sectional qualifiers with eight, followed by Boyceville with seven, Clear Lake five, Spring Valley/Elmwood three like the Toppers and Cornell/Gilman had two.
After finishing second at 106 pounds last year, Andy Grant was bound and determined to reach the top spot in this, his second regional go-round.
And the Hilltoppers’ sophomore did just that.
Seeded second in his six-man bracket at 113 pounds, Grant received a bye to the semifinals where he meet up with Boyceville senior Eli Swanson, who won his quarterfinals’ match by pin in 45 seconds. It was a tussle but Grant established a lead before pinning Swanson at 5:27 of the third period.
In the championship match, Grant came up against top-seeded and fellow sophomore Shane Larson of Clear Lake and controlled the match through-out to claim the 113-pound gold with a convincing 9-3 decision.
“Andy Grant wrestled his best tournament of the year,” stated Hilltoppers’ head coach Shane Strong. “He was aggressive and on his attacks from the start.”
Glenwood City senior Bryce Fayerweather, who placed second at 285 pounds a year ago, was the top-rated 220-pounder coming into last Saturday’ regional tournament in Cadott. Ranked 12th among the state’s Division 3 field at that weight class, Fayerweather followed his opening round bye with a 23 second, semifinal pin fall over Spring Valley/Elmwood sophomore Paul Schwebach.
That gave Fayerweather a spot in the finals opposite upstart Ashton Duden of Clear Lake. The Warrior sophomore nipped second-seeded Mitchell Gunderson of Cadott 1-0 in the other semifinal. Likewise, he stunned Fayerweather in the championship match, pouncing on the Toppers’ senior for the pin at 2:55 of the middle period.
The loss forced Fayerweather into a wrestle back to retain his second-place finish.
Fayerweather rose to the challenger and pinned Gunderson at 2:59 to keep his silver and sectional berth.
“Bryce came out passive in his finals match,” noted Coach Strong. “I was proud of him for bouncing back to get the win in his wrestle back. I’m confident he can wrestle at a higher level if he has the right mind set.”
The third member of Glenwood City’s sectional-qualifying triumvirate is junior Tucker Lagerstrom, who chose to wrestle up one weight class, from 160 to 170 pounds, for the WIAA tournament series.
Tabbed as the number two wrestler in the 170-pound field of four, Tucker earned an opening-round bye.
In the semifinals, Lagerstrom held off Nolan Stans, a Spring Valley/Elmwood sophomore, to win 7-2 and earned a spot in the finals opposite the state’s second-ranked wrestler – Cadott senior James Pfeiffer. Lagerstrom got caught early in the first period and was pinned by Pfeiffer in 53 seconds and settled for the silver.
“Tucker has improved all year,” said Strong. “He decided to go up a weight class so he will need to wrestle very sound against kids with five pounds on him. He has the desire and gas tank to compete in big matches.
With an opening-round bye, Dakota Dean-Immerman started his regional wrestling in the 195-pound semifinals. Dean-Immerman was pinned by eventual champion Kenny Fesenmaier, a Spring Valley/Elmwood senior, in 1:13. He battled Boyceville’s Tristan Bowell for third, beating the Bulldogs’ sophomore on a 2:35 fall. That victory gave Dean-Immerman a chance to go for second in the wrestle back but Cadott freshman Gavin Tegels retained the silver and end Dean-Immerman’s career with a fall at 3:01.
Despite losing his only competitive match of the meet, Thomas Moede came in third in the three-man field at 126. Moede was pinned by Cadott’s Ethan Duck with a second left in the first-period of their semifinal’s match.
Freshman Kyla Haaf lost a pair of matches by falls at 160 pounds. She surrendered a 35 pin to the state’s top-ranked and unbeaten 160-pounder Brady Spaeth of Cadott. Then in the third-place match, she was pinned by fellow Boyceville freshman Nick Hillman.
Junior heavyweight Andrew Berends also finished fourth in similar fashion. Berends lost by pins to Clear Lake’s Sam Dusek in the semifinal match and Boyceville’s Josh Marzofka in the third-place bout and took fourth.
Junior Nick Melendrez lost his opening round match at 152 pounds to Santana Schlegel of Spring Valley/Elmwood by pin in the middle period. Melendrez then lost a fifth-place match to Cornell/Gilman’s Julian Krizan via another second-period pin to finish in sixth.
The three remaining Glenwood City wrestlers will be vying for medals and state berths this coming Saturday’s WIAA Division 3 Individual Sectional championship at Independence High School. The top three place winners in each weight class at the sectional meet will advance to the individual state championships to be held February 21-23 at the Kohl Center in Madison.