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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Division 3 meet in Madison by three teammates making their second state trips ‚ÄĒ seniors Kevin Beckmann (160), Colton Kraus (126) and Taz Gottsacker (170) ‚ÄĒ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Austin McCartney (31-11).
Beckmann (40-6) was Ozaukee‚Äôs other sectional champion. His three wins included a 2:40 pin of Westfield‚Äôs Jay Kaenel (36-0) in the title match.
In the semifinals, Beckmann defeated Random Lake‚Äôs Helton Vandenbush, 15-1.
As a junior, Beckmann placed fifth at state at 160.
It‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Daniel Nelson (27-15) in the second-place match.
‚ÄúDaniel‚Äôs had a tough go of it,‚ÄĚ Ozaukee coach Luke Gundrum said. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a pretty big deal that he‚Äôs been healthy enough to qualify.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Mitch Garriety (36-7) in the third-place final.
Also placing fourth was Ozaukee‚Äôs Adam Zichitella (152), who lost to Lourdes Academy‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Tanner Akers (38-9).
‚ÄúWe gave up a stalling call at the end which really didn‚Äôt mean much,‚ÄĚ Cedar Grove-Belgium coach Trevor Peterson said.
‚ÄúThat kid was pretty tough. Greg‚Äôs wrestling real well right now.‚ÄĚ
On the way to the final, Wenzel won twice, including a 10-4 decision over Christian Life‚Äôs Paul Hammand in the semifinals.
Wenzel earned his second trip to state after losing his first match there last season.
‚ÄúHe got his experience and his match. That‚Äôs kind of big for a lot of people,‚ÄĚ Peterson said.
‚ÄúThe nerves in the big show scare a lot of guys. We got that out last year.‚ÄĚ
Brockman (31-14) qualified for state with a second-place finish. He won twice before losing, 2-1, to Random Lake‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúIsaac wrestled real, real smart all tournament,‚ÄĚ Peterson said.
Peterson said one of Brockman‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Kamren Bombach (39-6) and Glenwood City‚Äôs Blayze Wood (28-14) at 11:15 a.m. Friday.
In other 7:15 p.m. matches Thursday, Gottsacker will face Glenwood City‚Äôs Isaac Tuttle (32-8), Kraus will meet Unity‚Äôs Jarett Davison (28-12) and Watry will face Mondovi‚Äôs Austin Fedle (27-11).
At 11:15 a.m. Friday, Large will face the winner of a match between Crandon‚Äôs Morgan Krueger (39-1) and Mondovi‚Äôs Trevor Giedd (32-5) while Beckmann wrestles the winner of a match between Spring
Valley/Elmwood‚Äôs Trent Miller (34-11) and Weston/Ithaca‚Äôs Mason McCauley (39-7).
‚ÄúAt this point, there‚Äôs no easy matches. You‚Äôre not going to take anything for granted,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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