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By Amber Hayden
MADISON — It wasn’t the story-book ending that Sawyer Best and Bowen Rothbauer would have authored for themselves. But Bloomer/Colfax duo capped the 2019-20 wrestling season by earning medals at the 2020 WIAA Individual State Wrestling Championships held at the Kohl Center in Madison this past weekend.
In the Division 2 competition, Best, a Colfax senior, finished in fifth at 132 pounds while Bloomer teammate and sophomore Rothbauer captured third at 152 pounds.
Rothbauer and Best began their state-tournament runs in the D2 quarterfinals on Friday, February 28. Unfortunately, both wrestlers were upset in those matches.
Best was defeated by junior Matt Rogge (46-7) of Prairie Du Chien via a 5-2 decision in that quarterfinal’s match, sending him to the consolation side of the bracket.
Rogge, who went on to finish third, was able to get a takedown in the first period, but Best countered and earned his own takedown in the second period to tie things up at 2-2. An escape and takedown in the third period gave Rogge the upper hand and the win.
However, in his next match, a consolation semifinal bout during Friday’s midafternoon, Best earned an impressive major decision over Richland Center’s Gus Donovan (49-12) to remain in the competition. Best had a takedown and near fall during the first period, a take down in the second, and an escape, takedown, stalling, reversal, and another near fall in the 15-3 win.
On Saturday, Best started the day with a consolation final’s loss via a 12-4 major decision against Jordan Penard of Amery. Penard scored a takedown in the first period, a takedown and near fall in the second period, as well as an two escapes and two takedowns in the third. Best scored only four points off of two reversals in the third.
Best, however, went on to win fifth place in the Division 2, 132-pound weight class when his opponent, junior Cale Anderson of Viroqua, was unable to compete resulting in a medical forfeit.
Best finished his senior campaign with a 48-3 record and a state medal.
Bowen Rothbauer had a tough start at state as well. He lost by decision to Colton Nicolay of Lodi in his 152-pound quarterfinal’s match. After a scoreless first period, Nicolay (38-14) earned a point in period two via an escape and a 2-point near fall in the third, giving Nicolay the 3-0 victory.
But it was all Rothbauer in his second match of Friday, February 28 as he got a pin fall over Andrew Forsythe of North Fond Du Lac/St. Mary’s at 3:27 of the consolation semifinal. During the first period, Rothbauer earned a two-point takedown with 33 seconds left, and another two on a reversal with 1:47 left in the second period before getting the fall.
Saturday morning, February 29, started out on the right foot for Rothbauer as he took a win in his consolation final against Braden Maertz via pin fall. Rothbauer scored an escape, takedown, and stalling in the second period, and a penalty and takedown in the third period before the pin at 4:59.
About an hour later, Rothbauer exacted some revenge on Colton Nicolay. After being beaten by the Lodi wrestler in the previous day’s quarterfinals, Rothbauer turned the tables and earned a 6-1 victory of Nicolay to place third Saturday afternoon. In the pairs’ second meeting at state, Rothbauer was able to score a reversal and takedown in the second period and a takedown in the third for his 5-point winning margin.
Rothbauer finished the season with a 46-4 record.