Stunning consolation win by Ozaukee’s Watry highlights otherwise frustrating state meet for local Div. 3 wrestlers
It would have taken a Herculean effort at last week’s WIAA Division 3 state individual wrestling tournament to top Brady Watry’s quest for a medal.
Somehow, the Ozaukee senior’s flair for the dramatic rose to the occasion one last time.
Watry went 1-1 in his first two matches in the 135-pound weight class and faced elimination Friday against a familiar foe. Horicon’s Ben Dickenson defeated Watry, 6-3, in a sectional meet, setting the stage for a do-or-die rematch in Madison.
Dickenson again grabbed the upper hand, taking a 5-0 lead into the final minute of the match.
“All of a sudden I got him turned and pinned,” Watry said. “It was amazing. Crazy. I was very surprised.”
So was Ozaukee coach Luke Gundrum, who didn’t have a heart attack but did battle strep throat the entire weekend, making cheering nearly impossible.
“That was definitely the highlight down there,” Gundrum said.
One of Gundrum’s personal goals this season was to get Watry back to state. This year, he even came home with hardware.
In a tough weight class, Watry lost his final two consolation matches Saturday but still placed sixth — the final spot on the medal stand. It was the highest finish of his high school career.
His father Ken had a prime seat on the north end of the Kohl Center as Watry turned to the crowd with the other medal winners. He finished the season 39-14.
For Cedar Grove-Belgium senior Tyler Garcia, the weekend provided a heart-breaking and shoulder-separating close to one of the best careers in school history.
Garcia — a sectional champion at 160 pounds who went into the state tournament with a 37-1 season record and a good shot to win a title — was leading New Lisbon’s Joe Baumgart, 2-0, in the third period.
“It was a slow-paced match. Tyler had control pretty much the whole match,” Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Trevor Peterson said.
Garcia chose down in the third period and stood with about one minute left. Baumgart tripped him and Garcia fell. It wasn’t a hard fall but it was his final one.
When he landed on his elbow, Garcia dislocated his shoulder. Doctors popped the joint back in place and sent him to the hospital for X-rays.
Garcia never took the mat again, losing by injury default to Iowa-Grant’s Logan Bollant (41-5). Bollant was the only wrestler this season to beat Garcia when he was healthy, a 6-4 decision Dec. 30.
Baumgart went on to place second, and Bollant was third.
“Nothing illegal, not a hard trip, didn’t land hard. Just fell exactly right — or wrong, I guess,” Peterson said.
“It’s something out of our hands, out of our control, but it’s not the way we wanted to end the season, especially with the hard work Tyler put in. He’s working out an extra hour after every single practice on his own. Then something like that happens.”
With 132 career wins, Garcia ranks in the top five wrestlers in school history and had two third-place finishes at state. He continues a tradition of wrestling excellence set by his older brother Brandon, who was finished second at state three times.
“Brandon was always there to push him in his freshman and sophomore years,” Peterson said. “As he got a little older, you could tell Tyler was starting to do the same to some of the younger underclassmen.
“People who had to lose a little weight ran with Tyler after practice on their own.”
Other local Division 3 state qualifiers didn’t fare well last weekend, a statement about the quality of the competition.
At 130 pounds, Ozaukee sophomore Ethan Brouillette (32-10) lost to New Lisbon’s Zachary Oleson, 9-2, and Brillion’s Brock Kasten, 5-0. Oleson placed third and Kasten was fifth.
“I thought Ethan Brouillette wrestled as good as anybody down there,” Gundrum said. “He was right in both of those matches and only lost by a few points in each.”
Ozaukee senior Vince Cardarelle (39-13) ran into similar buzzsaws at 152 pounds. He lost to Stratford’s Mark Marquarter, 9-0, and Coleman’s Mike Mergener, 12-0. Marquardt took third and Mergener fourth.
At 119 pounds, Ozaukee sophomore Logan Smith (25-22) was pinned in 3:38 by Michicot‘s Bryce Krejcarek and in 1:13 by Peyton Shedd of Flambeau.
Ozaukee sophomore Ian Hughes (39-10) started the 125-pound competition with a neck injury and was pinned by Reedsville’s Colby Kasten in 54 seconds. Gundrum said a healthy Hughes would have done better.
At 103 pounds, Ozaukee freshman Cole Large (33-14) was pinned by Hunter Madden of Peshtigo in 3:46.
Taz Gottsacker (27-16), another Ozaukee freshman, lost a 5-0 decision to Blair-Taylor’s Matt Massman at 112 pounds.
In his first match, Watry pinned new Lisbon’s Stuart Hogan in 2:28. He was then pinned in 2:35 by Bruce’s Ryan Behnke, setting the stage for his dramatic victory over Dickenson.
On Saturday, Watry lost a 6-0 decision to Weston/Ithaca’s Nate Duren (44-4) and fell again to Behnke, 8-0, in the fifth-place final.
For Cedar Grove-Belgium, Zack Schulz (35-11) at 119 pounds was pinned by Dustin Clements (38-9) of Kickapoo/La Farge in 3:52.
At 285 pounds, Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Matt Mueller (30-8) was pinned by Kyle Andreae of Spencer/Columbus Catholic in 5:04.
“Zack wrestled decent but made a couple of mistakes and just got caught in the end,” Peterson said.
“Same way with Matt. I think we were winning by one point in the third period, and Matt got rolled and pinned. I think eight out of 10 times Matt would win that match.”
Both of the Rockets are juniors and should be strong contenders at state next year, Peterson said.
Gundrum said his team’s future is bright, with Watry and Cardarelle the only state qualifiers who will be lost to graduation.