Written by Steve Ostermann
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 18:00
PORT WASHINGTON SENIOR Alex Dieringer won his third WIAA state title in four years Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. During the medal ceremony, he was flanked by runner-up Kasey Einerson of Wisconsin Rapids (left) and third-place finisher Ryan Gartner of Wilmot. Photo by Mitch Maersch
Port senior lives up to expectations by outclassing field for his third WIAA state wrestling championship
Alex Dieringer dipped into Aaron Rodgers’ celebration bag last Saturday night at the Kohl Center in Madison.
After manhandling Wisconsin Rapids’ Kasey Einerson, 13-2, in the WIAA Division 1 state individual wrestling tournament, the Port Washington senior swept his hands across his waist, outlining an imaginary championship belt.
But there was nothing pretentious about the gesture. Not only did Dieringer’s win in the 145-pound final cap a 44-0 season, it gave him his third state title in four years and left him with an eye-opening 172-4 career record.
“I was excited. I wanted to end my high school career as a champion, and I did,” Dieringer said. “It was a great feeling.”
Dieringer, the nation’s top-ranked 145-pound wrestler in his age group, lived up to expectations throughout the three-day state tournament. He pinned his first opponents, needing 1 minute, 26 seconds to defeat Montel Jackson of Milwaukee Riverside/Shorewood in the opening round and only 47 seconds to beat Menasha’s Bryson Womble in the quarterfinals.
A 16-3 major decision over Wilmot’s Ryan Gartner in Friday’s semifinals set the stage for a showdown against Einerson (43-6). Dieringer had little trouble in the title match, essentially replicating a 12-1 win he scored over
Einerson at the Cheesehead Invitational in December.
Although Dieringer fell short of his goal of pinning all 10 of his postseason foes — three each in the regional and sectional and four at state — he wasn’t overly disappointed.
“I wanted the pins, but I beat them pretty bad, so I was happy,” he said.
So was Port coach Angelo LaRosa, who wasn’t surprised to see the winningest wrestler in school history cruise to top honors.
“Those other wrestlers were good, but Alex is just at another level,” LaRosa said. “He was really getting after it, which we expected him to do.
“We knew that the Rapids kid was very tough, and Gartner was dangerous, too, but he had both of them on their backs throughout the matches.”
DIERINGER dominated the 145-pound weight class at the WIAA Division 1 state individual tournament.
Photo by Mitch Maersch
Dieringer capped his prep career with his third Division 1 state crown, having won the 103-pound title as a freshman. After placing second at 125 pounds in Division 2 as a sophomore, he took first at 140 pounds in Division 1 last year.
“Not winning it as a sophomore (a 7-6 loss in the final) made me even more determined to win it the next two years,” said Dieringer, who will attend Oklahoma State this fall on a wrestling scholarship.
Dieringer was one of four local wrestlers who advanced to this year’s Division 1 state tournament.
He was joined by Port’s Justin Meins, who took third at 125 pounds, and Jake Maechtle, who won one match at 135 before having to default the rest of his matches due to a concussion, and Grafton’s Michael Van Langen, who lost twice at 112. All are seniors.
Near miss for another Pirate
Meins, who finished the season 41-5, had an excellent shot at placing first but was knocked out of title contention when he lost in the quarterfinals to Muskego’s Justin Scherkenbach, 6-5, in double overtime.
After falling behind, 5-0, Meins rallied to force extended time. Scherkenbach was given a warning for stalling late in the match and could have been penalized for continuing the tactic, LaRosa said.
In the second overtime, Meins let Scherkenbach escape so he could go for a takedown but was unable to get any additional points.
“It was a really tough, controversial loss for Justin,” LaRosa said. “His goal was to win a state title, and he could have done it.”
Bumped into the consolation bracket, Meins rebounded to score three wins, including a 4-2 decision in a rematch with Scherkenbach, who lost in the championship semifinals. In his first two consolation matches, Meins defeated Waterford’s Austin Christenson, 4-3, and Wisconsin Rapids’ Jake Jaborek, 9-1.
“He had another excellent season,” LaRosa said of Meins, who was fourth at state in the same weight class as a junior. “He worked really hard and showed he was as tough as anyone.”
Maechtle (30-10) opened his first state tournament with a 14-8 win over Hudson’s Tanner Owens but was injured in the process. He was able to finish the match but showed concussion symptoms and was ruled out for the rest of the weekend.
“It was really unfortunate. Jake was wrestling so well,” LaRosa said. “His head just started hurting, and it was decided he couldn’t take a chance and keep wrestling.”
Although the Pirates hoped to have more than three state qualifiers this season, LaRosa said he couldn’t be prouder of the trio’s showing.
“We wrestled 10 matches and won all but one of them, so that’s outstanding,” he said.
Van Langen (29-6), one of the brightest spots on an improved Grafton team this season, was making his first appearance in a state tournament. He faced an ultra-tough challenge in the first round and was pinned in 4:00 by Chippewa Falls’ Izzy Balsiger (41-2), who went on to win the title.
In the consolation quarterfinals, Van Langen was pinned by Franklin’s Sam Kortes (46-4) in 4:29.
“Getting to state was quite an accomplishment for Michael. The Grafton wrestling family is extremely proud of him,” coach Mike Dodge said.
“We had a great season and have a lot of young guys to continue building the program.”
Written by Mitch Maersch
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 17:58
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.