Large leads five Ozaukee wrestlers to Div. 3 state meet in group that also includes Cedar Grove-Belgium pair
Cole Large already holds most of the Ozaukee High School wrestling records.
Now, he’s going to see if he can make some noise at the WIAA state individual tournament for a fourth time.
The 132-pound senior will be accompanied to this week’s Division 3 meet in Madison by three teammates making their second state trips — seniors Kevin Beckmann (160), Colton Kraus (126) and Taz Gottsacker (170) — and a first-timer, junior Daniel Watry (106).
Also reaching the state level in the same division are two Cedar Grove-Belgium wrestlers, senior Greg Wenzel (182) and sophomore Isaac Brockman (120).
The Madison-bound wrestlers all advanced by turning in top-three finishes at the Cedar Grove-Belgium Sectional last Saturday.
Large will try to better his career-best fourth-place finish in last year’s state meet.
In the sectional tournament, Large improved his season record to 39-4 by going 3-0 and outscoring his opponents, 49-17.
In the title match, Large scored a 19-6 major decision over Westfield’s Austin McCartney (31-11).
Beckmann (40-6) was Ozaukee’s other sectional champion. His three wins included a 2:40 pin of Westfield’s Jay Kaenel (36-0) in the title match.
In the semifinals, Beckmann defeated Random Lake’s Helton Vandenbush, 15-1.
As a junior, Beckmann placed fifth at state at 160.
It’s a sweet trip back to Madison for Gottsacker (28-13), who last reached state as a freshman. On Saturday, he was third in the sectional, winning his first two matches before losing twice, including a 6-4 loss to Kenosha
Christian Life’s Ruben Hill (34-11) in the second-place final.
Watry (24-5) battled through a shoulder injury to earn a state trip with a runner-up sectional finish. He went 3-1, including a 27-second pin of Westfield’s Daniel Nelson (27-15) in the second-place match.
“Daniel’s had a tough go of it,” Ozaukee coach Luke Gundrum said. “It’s a pretty big deal that he’s been healthy enough to qualify.”
Kraus (34-6) continued a stellar season with a second-place sectional finish. His only loss in four matches Saturday was a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Random Lake’s Jon Mudlaff (41-5).
Two other Ozaukee wrestlers narrowly missed advancing to state after placing fourth. Colin Hughes (138 pounds) lost, 4-2, to Lomira’s Mitch Garriety (36-7) in the third-place final.
Also placing fourth was Ozaukee’s Adam Zichitella (152), who lost to Lourdes Academy’s Adam Krause, 6-3, in the third-place match.
Rockets shine on home mats
Wenzel (35-5) claimed a sectional title with a 6-5 win over Westfield’s Tanner Akers (38-9).
“We gave up a stalling call at the end which really didn’t mean much,” Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Trevor Peterson said.
“That kid was pretty tough. Greg’s wrestling real well right now.”
On the way to the final, Wenzel won twice, including a 10-4 decision over Christian Life’s Paul Hammand in the semifinals.
Wenzel earned his second trip to state after losing his first match there last season.
“He got his experience and his match. That’s kind of big for a lot of people,” Peterson said.
“The nerves in the big show scare a lot of guys. We got that out last year.”
Brockman (31-14) qualified for state with a second-place finish. He won twice before losing, 2-1, to Random Lake’s Brandon Depies (44-2) in the title match.
Brockman nearly had a takedown for the lead, but Peterson said Depies managed to get out of trouble.
“Isaac wrestled real, real smart all tournament,” Peterson said.
Peterson said one of Brockman’s goals this season was to reach the state level after not making it out of regionals last year.
The state tournament will be held from Thursday through Saturday at the Kohl Center.
Brockman will face Oconto’s Elton Kelsey (36-4) in a 7:15 p.m. first-round match Thursday.
Wenzel received a first-round bye and will face the winner of a match between Stratford’s Kamren Bombach (39-6) and Glenwood City’s Blayze Wood (28-14) at 11:15 a.m. Friday.
In other 7:15 p.m. matches Thursday, Gottsacker will face Glenwood City’s Isaac Tuttle (32-8), Kraus will meet Unity’s Jarett Davison (28-12) and Watry will face Mondovi’s Austin Fedle (27-11).
At 11:15 a.m. Friday, Large will face the winner of a match between Crandon’s Morgan Krueger (39-1) and Mondovi’s Trevor Giedd (32-5) while Beckmann wrestles the winner of a match between Spring
Valley/Elmwood’s Trent Miller (34-11) and Weston/Ithaca’s Mason McCauley (39-7).
“At this point, there’s no easy matches. You’re not going to take anything for granted,” Gundrum said.
The championship bracket will continue with 7 p.m. semifinals Friday and 6 p.m. finals Saturday.
The consolation bracket continues at 2:45 p.m. Friday and Saturday morning and afternoon.
OZAUKEE SENIOR Cole Large defeated Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Devon Villareal, 19-7 on the way to a sectional championship in the 132-pound weight class at a WIAA Division 3 sectional meet Saturday. The title qualified Large for the state individual tournament for the fourth straight year. Photo by Sam Arendt