G/M places five in top six at state wrestling

Trevor Daffinson of Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro attempted to pin his opponenet during the WIAA Division Two State wrestling tournament on Saturday. (Times photograph by Zac Bellman)

Wrestlers from Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau/Melrose-Mindoro took home five top-six placements among their seven competitors at the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division Two State Wrestling Championship this past weekend.

An individual title eluded the Titans this year, but the weekend was still full of high honors from second place to sixth. Hunter Andersen (170) led G/M placements with a second-place nod, followed by a third from Bryce Burns (195), fourth from Tanner Andersen (113), fifth from Jacob Summers (182) and a sixth from Trevor Daffinson (285) to highlight Titan finishes.

G/M will have one more chance for a team title this weekend, as they earned the three-seed in the WIAA Division Two Team State Wrestling tournament in Madison. Their semifinal matchup on Saturday morning will be against second-seeded Prairie du Chien, who defeated the Titans back on Dec. 14, 2019 in the Devils Duals at Wisconsin Dells by a score of 36-30. A win would advance either team to the state final later on Saturday against the winner of first-seeded Wrightstown or fourth-seeded Port Washington.

WIAA State Wrestling - G/M’s leading performance from Hunter Andersen may have ended inauspiciously in the championship match, but that did not take away from an otherwise dominant performance through the 170 class. 

Andersen led off the weekend with a pin of Cody Pierron of Port Washington on Thursday. Then in the quarterfinal on Friday, Andersen got an early takedown in the first period before pulling away with a reversal, two-point nearfall and three-point nearfall in the third period to take a 9-0 win over Matthew Maitland of Wrightstown. 

In Friday night’s semifinal, Andersen again got off to a good start with a takedown and a three-point nearfall to lead 5-1 entering the third period over Sawyer Helmbrecht of Lodi. Helmbrecht bounced back in the final period to briefly lead, as he earned a two and three-point nearfall to lead 6-5 before Andersen came back in the final seconds on a reversal and two-point nearfall to win 9-6. 

Saturday’s championship match against Clayton Whiting of Oconto Falls did not go Andersen’s way, as he lost by tech fall 17-1.

After earning a bye past round one, Burns won his first contest on Friday by pin over Abram Helsell of Lomira. That advanced him to Friday night’s semifinal with undefeated Tyler Hannah of Prairie du Chien. Burns held his own and drew even with an escape in the third period to match Hannah’s single point in the second, but in overtime Hannah took the sudden victory by a 3-1 score on a takedown. 

The loss bumped Burns to the consolation semifinal with Drew Ries of Turner, where an early takedown in the first period ultimately made the difference. Ries earned a penalty point in the third period after Burns was docked for stalling, but an escape by Burns later in the third helped him hang on for the 3-1 win. That advanced Burns to Saturday’s third-place match, which Burns won by pin over Eric Decker of Tomahawk to secure a third-place nod.

Tanner Andersen received a bye before winning his Friday quarterfinal by pin over Jayden Price of Pardeeville/Cambria-Friesland/Rio, advancing him to the semifinal. Andersen matched up with Caleb Meuinier of Winneconne, and fought through several blood timeouts to take a 3-0 lead on a nearfall in the second period. However a reversal and nearfall by Meunier flipped the script on Andersen, and he was unable to respond in the third period as he took a 5-3 loss. 

In the consolation semifinal, Andersen jumped ahead of Brendan Knitzer of Oconto Falls in the second period 3-0 on a nearfall before allowing an escape late in the period. He got an escape of his own in the third to help stave off a comeback and win 4-1. In the third place match, Andersen kept it close in the second period against Wyatt Kaczrowski of Seymour with an escape that made it 2-1, before earning a lead entering the final minute of the third period on a takedown. Kaczrowski was able to earn the reversal however, taking back a 4-3 lead that would hold up as the difference as Andersen fell to fourth.

Summers took a 5-0 win over Logan Koel of Wrightstown in Thursday’s first round, which came on a first-period takedown and an escape and takedown in the second period. Then on Friday in the quarterfinal, Will Schaefer of Belmont/Platteville pulled away late after an initial 2-2 tie with a reversal, takedown and two nearfalls to win 11-2 to bump Summers to the consolation bracket. 

In his first consolation match on Friday, Summers earned a takedown for the early lead over Carter Melton of Spooner/Webster, was penalized for Melton’s lone point and pulled away with a reversal, two nearfalls and a stalling call to win 8-1. In a closely contested Saturday morning consolation match to follow, Summers earned a takedown and escape to match Alex Witt of Monroe after two periods, but fell on a takedown in the final seconds after taking a 4-3 lead early on a takedown to lose 5-4. In the fifth-place match, Summers held off Lucas Schmacher of Port Washington on a second-period reversal, followed by an escape and takedown in the third period to win 5-0 and secure fifth place.

Daffinson won his Thursday opener 1-0 over Kyle Kroll of Luxemburg-Casco on an escape in the second period for the match’s lone score. In his Friday quarterfinal, a first-period takedown and second-period escape made the difference despite two escapes by Daffinson in a 3-2 loss to Michael Douglas of Belmont/Platteville. Daffinson’s consolation round one matchup ended with a pin over Evan Ladwig of Plymouth, advancing him to the consolation semifinal. 

After falling behind 1-0 in the second period, Daffinson gave up a three-point nearfall to Logan Peterson of Ellsworth. A late reversal got things closer, but not close enough in a 4-2 loss that bumped Daffinson to the fifth-place match. 

In a rematch with Douglas, Daffinson again fought closely before falling by pin to earn sixth place.

Sam Johnson (138) won his first round matchup over Gavin Kingsley of Wisconsin Dells, pulling away on a takedown and nearfall to lead 5-1 after the first period. A Kingsley escape, takedown and nearfall briefly gave him the 6-5 lead, before a penalty knotted things back up at six entering the final period. An escape by Johnson early in the third period proved to be the difference in a 7-6 win. 

It was Johnson who fell behind early in his Friday quarterfinal, as Blake Peiffer of Port Washington went ahead 5-2 after the first period on a takedown and nearfall to Johnson’s reversal at the end of the period. Peiffer pulled away on a takedown and nearfall in the second period, which was preceded by an escape by Johnson that made it 10-3 after two periods. The final two minutes featured plenty of scoring as Peiffer earned an escape and takedown, before Johnson earned a reversal, Peiffer escaped and Johnson earned a final takedown and stalling penalty from Peiffer to bring the final to 14-8 as Johnson fell. 

In the first consolation round, Johnson earned a late-first-period takedown that his opponent Max Schmidt of Richland Center escaped from. Another escape by Schmidt in the second period tied things up at two, before a nearfall in the third period helped Schmidt edge past Johnson and end his tournament short of a placement.

Carson Koss (106) was G/M’s final competitor. His tournament ended in the first round by pin from Mason Gill of Shoreland Lutheran.



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