If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
BOYCEVILLE — What this year’s Boyceville wrestling team lacks in quantity, it hopes to make up for with quality.
With just 14 wrestlers, the fewest the Bulldogs’ storied program has had in several years. Boyceville, who finished second in the Dunn-St. Croix last season and made the team sectional, will need to rely heavily on its experienced and decorated veterans over the course of the 2020-21 season, especially with the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
The Bulldogs return four state participants headlined by two-time, 182-pound state champion Trett Joles and state runner-up Josiah Berg.
Joles, a three-time state medalist, enters his senior season with an eye-popping 142-3 record. Although the first-round of rankings is not yet out, Joles, 46-1 last year with a team-leading 30 pins, will likely be at the top of the state’s 182-pound, Division 3 field as a favorite to claim his third state title, if there is a state tournament that is.
Junior Josiah Berg looks to take the final step this season to claim his first state crown, after coming up short in last year’s 120-pound state championship where Cash Stewart of Poynette prevailed 4-3 in the overtime tie breaker. Berg has a had a meteoric rise in his first two season of varsity wrestling, also claiming a fifth-place state finish at 106 pounds his freshman season and holds an 80-12 mark heading into this year.
Head coach Jamie Olson, who enters his 21st year at the helm of the program, will also look to his other two-time state participants – senior Nathan Stuart and junior Ira Bialzik – for leadership and wins.
The pair, who helped lead the Boyceville football team to its best finish in years, will look to step onto the medals podium come tournament time.
Stuart, who competed at 126 pounds last year and tallied a 30-15 record, will likely move up to 138 pounds this season according to Olson. Meanwhile, Bialzik will be at 145 pounds after going 25-19 at 138 pounds a season ago.
Junior Tyler Dormanen, another key cog in the football team’s success and a 30-win wrestler last season, is eager and ready for reach for more after just missing a state qualifying spot after finishing fourth in the sectional a year ago at 152. He will likely be wrestling at 160 pounds this season.
Boyceville’s other three juniors will solidify varsity spots.
Brice Evenson, who was 18-3 as a sophomore, will likely wrestle at 120; Keegan Lemon will return as the Bulldogs heavyweight (285); and varsity newcomer Kyle Lipke will slide in at 152 pounds.
After a solid freshman season in which he notched 17 victories, Bash Nielson looks ready to build upon that early success at 195 pounds in 2020-21.
Fellow sophomore Emma Gruenhagen (7-19) hopes to improve as she moves from her 106-pound weight class to 126.
The Bulldogs lost only one wrestler to graduation – 22-match winner Josh Marzofka – but gained just two freshmen, Noah Evenson and Brady Mast. Those two will likely fill the lightest weight classes at 106 and 113 pounds.
The Bulldogs may have a few open weight classes throughout the season according to Olson.
“Numbers are low and having forfeits makes it tough to compete with the elite teams,” admitted Coach Olson. “We need to make the most of what we are faced with and improve each day in all phases of the sport.”
Like every wrestling team in the state, Boyceville’s schedule will look quite different in 2020-21. Due to COVID-19, the winter sports season has been shortened by two weeks and squads will be wrestling just once a week and only in dual matches. There will be no multiple-team tournaments like the Northern Badger Classic until the WIAA postseason begins at the end of January.
Boyceville opened its season of uncertainty last evening (Tuesday, December 8) in Cadott against a well-stocked and talented Hornets’ squad. The Bulldogs then travel to Spring Valley Tuesday, December 15 for a dual against the defending D-SC champion Cardinals of Spring Valley/Elmwood before hosting rival Glenwood City on Tuesday, December 22.
“It’s not time to feel sorry for ourselves,” concluded Olson. “It’s time to face some adversity and get better because of it!”