Norse second at regional, send seven to sectional

Brekken Kulig worked to secure a win during the regional tournament at La Crosse Aquinas on Saturday.  (Times photograph by Zac Bellman)

The Whitehall wrestling team finished well behind the host school at the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division Three La Crosse Aquinas regional, but will send seven wrestlers to the sectional competition in Westby on Saturday.

Whitehall scored 197 points as Aquinas scored 316 to win the regional and advance to the team sectional. Blair-Taylor was third with 166 points followed by Independence/Gilmanton with 109, Cochrane-Fountain City with 70 and Coulee Christian with zero.

B-T will have four wrestlers advancing to the Westby sectional and I/G is sending two.

The top three wrestlers in each weight class at the Westby sectional will advance to the WIAA State Tournament held at the Kohl Center in Madison, which will be held next Thursday-through-Saturday.

Aquinas regional

Wylie Dunn (285) won the championship and six other Whitehall wrestlers took second.

Although he now has a 32-5 record on the season, the regional title was no sure thing for Dunn. Aquinas’ Clay Berra had a 28-7 record wrestling in the Mississippi Valley Conference and Dunn had lost to Blair-Taylor’s Chris Rogstad in a Dairyland Conference dual a week ago.

Dunn was the top seed in the bracket, which meant Berra and Rogstad would face off in the semifinal while Dunn pinned I/G’s Eric Bustos in 58 seconds. Berra edged Rogstad 3-1 in the semifinal, setting up the championship match, which Dunn won 7-2. 

Liam Herrick (220), Riley Orsch (195), Brekken Kulig (145), Connor Gleeson (138), Alex Katzman (120) and Matthew Poulos (113) all finished second. 

Herrick was the top seed in his bracket and pinned I/G’s Jacobo Medina in the semifinal to advance to the championship. That’s where he ran into trouble, however, as he was pinned by Charlie Langeberg of Aquinas. Needing a win to advance, Herrick pinned B-T’s Alexis Gomez.

Orsch was also the top seed in his bracket, but was guaranteed to advance because there were only two wrestlers. He lost to Noah DeGroot of Aquinas by pin in the championship.

Kulig pulled off an upset in the second round pinning second-seeded Alex Rilser of I/G by pin in the second period. He lost to Zach DeGroot by pin in the championship, but advanced with a 7-2 win over Bryan Rogstad of B-T in the second-place match.

One of three wrestlers in his weight class, Gleeson only needed one win to advance and he got that in the semifinal round, beating I/G’s Connor Smieja 10-6. The Whitehall wrestler lost by technical fall to Calvin Hargrove of Aquinas in the championship.

Katzman was the top seeded of three wrestlers in his class. He advanced to the championship with two byes before being pinned by Jack Christenson of Aquinas. The Whitehall wrestler then pinned Gunar Koxlien in the second-place match to qualify for the sectional.

Matt Poulos was another Whitehall wrestler to pull off an upset pinning I/G’s Jackson Konter, the second seed with a 32-7 record, in the semifinal. Poulos lost to B-T’s Colton Lejcher, but still advanced.

Four Whitehall wrestlers finished third in the tournament including Ryan Kleinhans (170), Eric Kleinhans (160), Aliyan Sardar (132) and Dylan Moats (106). Eric Kleinhans and Sardar both had second-place matches, but lost.  

Gavin Stephens (126), Dylan Meyer (152) and Silas Nelson (182) all took fourth.

A 2019 state qualifier with a 31-2 record on the season, Logan Shramek (182) had little trouble advancing for B-T. Shramek’s first match went into the second period, but ended in a pin while his championship against I/G’s Gavin Bragger was a pin in less than a minute.

Colton Lejcher (113) also won the title for B-T, pinning Body Hollett of Aquinas in the semifinal round before topping Whitehall’s Poulos 4-0 in the championship.

Noah Shepherd (160) and Matthew Betker (170) both took second for the Wildcats.

Shepherd had two byes before losing to Jakob Zhovtis of Aquinas 11-7 in the championship. He then pinned Whitehall’s Eric Kleinhans to finish second. Betker pinned Whitehall’s Ryan Kleinhans in the semifinal before losing to Ian Kaczmarowski in the championship. He did not have a second-place match as Kleinhans finished third.

Chris Rogstad (285), Alexis Gomez (220), Bryce Elvaker (152), Bryan Rogstad (145), Jeff Doerr (126) and Gunar Koxlien (120) all finished third.

Koxlien, Bryan Rogstad and Gomez all lost second-place matches to Whitehall wrestlers and Doerr lost his to Jack Gauger of Aquinas.

Carter Bratina (132) finished fifth for B-T.

I/G advanced two wrestlers, both taking second place. 

Gabe Rombalski (106) guaranteed his advancement with a 10-5 win over Moats from Whitehall in the semifinal. He lost to Robert Flege of Aquinas by pin in the championship, but didn’t have to wrestle for second place. 

Ethan Severson (152) advanced to the championship with a pin of B-T’s Elvaker. He was then defeated by Riley Klar of Aquinas, 16-2, but did not have to wrestle for second place. 

Konter (113), Smieja (138) and Bragger (182) all took third. Bragger lost his second place match to Ashton Hollet of Aquinas 12-2, neither Smieja nor Konter got a second-place match.

Jonathan Sanchez (132), Alex Risler (145), Jacobo Medina (220) and Eric Bustos (285) all finished fourth.

Aquinas advanced 12 of their 13 wrestlers, including 10 championships. 


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