Stunning consolation win by Ozaukee‚Äôs Watry highlights otherwise frustrating state meet for local Div. 3 wrestlers
It would have taken a Herculean effort at last week‚Äôs WIAA Division 3 state individual wrestling tournament to top Brady Watry‚Äôs quest for a medal.
Somehow, the Ozaukee senior‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúAll of a sudden I got him turned and pinned,‚ÄĚ Watry said. ‚ÄúIt was amazing. Crazy. I was very surprised.‚ÄĚ
So was Ozaukee coach Luke Gundrum, who didn‚Äôt have a heart attack but did battle strep throat the entire weekend, making cheering nearly impossible.
‚ÄúThat was definitely the highlight down there,‚ÄĚ Gundrum said.
One of Gundrum‚Äôs 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ 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 ‚ÄĒ was leading New Lisbon‚Äôs Joe Baumgart, 2-0, in the third period.
‚ÄúIt was a slow-paced match. Tyler had control pretty much the whole match,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôt 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‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúNothing illegal, not a hard trip, didn‚Äôt land hard. Just fell exactly right ‚ÄĒ or wrong, I guess,‚ÄĚ Peterson said.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs something out of our hands, out of our control, but it‚Äôs not the way we wanted to end the season, especially with the hard work Tyler put in. He‚Äôs working out an extra hour after every single practice on his own. Then something like that happens.‚ÄĚ
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.
‚ÄúBrandon was always there to push him in his freshman and sophomore years,‚ÄĚ Peterson said. ‚ÄúAs he got a little older, you could tell Tyler was starting to do the same to some of the younger underclassmen.
‚ÄúPeople who had to lose a little weight ran with Tyler after practice on their own.‚ÄĚ
Other local Division 3 state qualifiers didn‚Äôt 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‚Äôs Zachary Oleson, 9-2, and Brillion‚Äôs Brock Kasten, 5-0. Oleson placed third and Kasten was fifth.
‚ÄúI thought Ethan Brouillette wrestled as good as anybody down there,‚ÄĚ Gundrum said. ‚ÄúHe was right in both of those matches and only lost by a few points in each.‚ÄĚ
Ozaukee senior Vince Cardarelle (39-13) ran into similar buzzsaws at 152 pounds. He lost to Stratford‚Äôs Mark Marquarter, 9-0, and Coleman‚Äôs 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‚Äės 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Matt Massman at 112 pounds.
In his first match, Watry pinned new Lisbon‚Äôs Stuart Hogan in 2:28. He was then pinned in 2:35 by Bruce‚Äôs Ryan Behnke, setting the stage for his dramatic victory over Dickenson.
On Saturday, Watry lost a 6-0 decision to Weston/Ithaca‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Matt Mueller (30-8) was pinned by Kyle Andreae of Spencer/Columbus Catholic in 5:04.
‚ÄúZack wrestled decent but made a couple of mistakes and just got caught in the end,‚ÄĚ Peterson said.
‚ÄúSame 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.‚ÄĚ
Both of the Rockets are juniors and should be strong contenders at state next year, Peterson said.
Gundrum said his team‚Äôs future is bright, with Watry and Cardarelle the only state qualifiers who will be lost to graduation.