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MADISON — Three of Boyceville’s four youth state wrestlers made the podium at the 2019 Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Kids Folkstyle State Championship held March 22-23 in Madison.
Luke Pember finished as the state runner-up in his weight division while Emma Gruenhagen took fifth and Lexton Benitz was sixth.
Pember, who wrestlers under the Menomonie Wrestling Club banner but practices and participates as a Bulldog, went 3-1 on his way to finishing second in the 72-pound weight class for boys born in 2008-09.
Pember opened this year’s state championships with a first-period pin (:35) over Tyler Miller of Boscobel. He then followed that up with a pair of decisions, besting Campbellsport’s Ashtyn Kreuser 8-4 in the quarterfinals and taking a 1-0 win against Aaron Knetter of Stratford in the semifinals. In the state title match, Pember was shut out 4-0 by Carson Neubert of Luxemburg-Casco.
Emma Gruenhagen, like Pember, has participated and placed in multiple Wisconsin kids folkstyle state tournaments.
This year was not different for Gruenhagen who copped a fifth at 115 pounds in the girls born in 2004-05 after going 2-2 in the 2019 state tournament. Gruenhagen scored a 28 second pin in her first match against Kylee Firari of Hustisford. Unfortunately, she dropped her next two matches, losing the semifinal match via a pin and was beaten in the first period of overtime in the consolation semifinal by a 7-5 count. Gruenhagen, however, rebounded in her final state bout, as she pinned Kaitlyn DeLaCruz of Cedarburg in 55 seconds to earn fifth place.
Lexton Benitz started well, winning his first two matches in the 66-pound weight class of the boys born in 2010-11 division. Benitz majored Keaton Achenbach of Prairie du Chien, 9-0, and then squeezed by Germantown’s Jack Brukbacher 6-4 in overtime. In the semifinals, Lexton was on the other side of a 6-4 overtime match which sent him into the consolation bracket where he lost a pair of decisions to finish in sixth place.
Cole Retz went 0-2 in the 90-pound weight class for boys born in 2008-09.
WWF River Falls Regional
Boyceville took 11 wrestlers to the March 18 WWF Kids Folkstyle youth wrestling regional in River Falls and four earned state berths by placing first or second in their respective weight classes.
Taking first place in River Falls were Lexton Benitz, Luke Pember and Emma Gruenhagen while Cole Retz placed second.
Just missing the state cut and finishing in third were Logan Hopkins (boys born 2008-09, 54 lbs.) and Ramon Stanford (boys born 2008-09, 69 lbs.).
Fourth-place finishes went to Owen Tuttle (boys born 2008-09, 110 lbs.), Noah Evenson (boys born 2006-07, 85 lbs.) and Jeffrey Rubusch (boys born 2006-07, 120 lbs.).
Also competing in the regional meet were Evan Johnson (boys born 2010-11, 54 lbs.), JB Mittlestadt (boys born 2010-11, 60 lbs.) and Landyn Leslie (boys born 2008-09, 78 lbs).