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 Rodgersâ celebration bag last Saturday night at the Kohl Center in Madison.
After manhandling Wisconsin Rapidsâ 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 Dieringerâs 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.
âI was excited. I wanted to end my high school career as a champion, and I did,â Dieringer said. âIt was a great feeling.â
Dieringer, the nationâs 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 Menashaâs Bryson Womble in the quarterfinals.
A 16-3 major decision over Wilmotâs Ryan Gartner in Fridayâs 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 â three each in the regional and sectional and four at state â he wasnât overly disappointed.
âI wanted the pins, but I beat them pretty bad, so I was happy,â he said.
So was Port coach Angelo LaRosa, who wasnât surprised to see the winningest wrestler in school history cruise to top honors.
âThose other wrestlers were good, but Alex is just at another level,â LaRosa said. âHe was really getting after it, which we expected him to do.
âWe 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.â
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.
âNot winning it as a sophomore (a 7-6 loss in the final) made me even more determined to win it the next two years,â said Dieringer, who will attend Oklahoma State this fall on a wrestling scholarship.
Dieringer was one of four local wrestlers who advanced to this yearâs Division 1 state tournament.
He was joined by Portâs 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 Graftonâs 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 Muskegoâs 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.
âIt was a really tough, controversial loss for Justin,â LaRosa said. âHis goal was to win a state title, and he could have done it.â
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 Waterfordâs Austin Christenson, 4-3, and Wisconsin Rapidsâ Jake Jaborek, 9-1.
âHe had another excellent season,â LaRosa said of Meins, who was fourth at state in the same weight class as a junior. âHe worked really hard and showed he was as tough as anyone.â
Maechtle (30-10) opened his first state tournament with a 14-8 win over Hudsonâs 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.
âIt was really unfortunate. Jake was wrestling so well,â LaRosa said. âHis head just started hurting, and it was decided he couldnât take a chance and keep wrestling.â
Although the Pirates hoped to have more than three state qualifiers this season, LaRosa said he couldnât be prouder of the trioâs showing.
âWe wrestled 10 matches and won all but one of them, so thatâs outstanding,â 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 Fallsâ Izzy Balsiger (41-2), who went on to win the title.
In the consolation quarterfinals, Van Langen was pinned by Franklinâs Sam Kortes (46-4) in 4:29.
âGetting to state was quite an accomplishment for Michael. The Grafton wrestling family is extremely proud of him,â coach Mike Dodge said.
âWe had a great season and have a lot of young guys to continue building the program.â
Written by Mitch Maersch
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 17:58
Stunning consolation win by Ozaukeeâs Watry highlights otherwise frustrating state meet for local Div. 3 wrestlers
It would have taken a Herculean effort at last weekâs WIAA Division 3 state individual wrestling tournament to top Brady Watryâs quest for a medal.
Somehow, the Ozaukee seniorâs 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. Horiconâs 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.
âAll of a sudden I got him turned and pinned,â Watry said. âIt was amazing. Crazy. I was very surprised.â
So was Ozaukee coach Luke Gundrum, who didnât have a heart attack but did battle strep throat the entire weekend, making cheering nearly impossible.
âThat was definitely the highlight down there,â Gundrum said.
One of Gundrumâs 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 â 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 â 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 â was leading New Lisbonâs Joe Baumgart, 2-0, in the third period.
âIt was a slow-paced match. Tyler had control pretty much the whole match,â 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 wasnât 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-Grantâs 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.
âNothing illegal, not a hard trip, didnât land hard. Just fell exactly right â or wrong, I guess,â Peterson said.
âItâs something out of our hands, out of our control, but itâs not the way we wanted to end the season, especially with the hard work Tyler put in. Heâs working out an extra hour after every single practice on his own. Then something like that happens.â
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.
âBrandon was always there to push him in his freshman and sophomore years,â Peterson said. âAs he got a little older, you could tell Tyler was starting to do the same to some of the younger underclassmen.
âPeople who had to lose a little weight ran with Tyler after practice on their own.â
Other local Division 3 state qualifiers didnât fare well last weekend, a statement about the quality of the competition.
At 130 pounds, Ozaukee sophomore Ethan Brouillette (32-10) lost to New Lisbonâs Zachary Oleson, 9-2, and Brillionâs Brock Kasten, 5-0. Oleson placed third and Kasten was fifth.
âI thought Ethan Brouillette wrestled as good as anybody down there,â Gundrum said. âHe was right in both of those matches and only lost by a few points in each.â
Ozaukee senior Vince Cardarelle (39-13) ran into similar buzzsaws at 152 pounds. He lost to Stratfordâs Mark Marquarter, 9-0, and Colemanâs 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 Michicotâs 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 Reedsvilleâs 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-Taylorâs Matt Massman at 112 pounds.
In his first match, Watry pinned new Lisbonâs Stuart Hogan in 2:28. He was then pinned in 2:35 by Bruceâs Ryan Behnke, setting the stage for his dramatic victory over Dickenson.
On Saturday, Watry lost a 6-0 decision to Weston/Ithacaâs 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-Belgiumâs Matt Mueller (30-8) was pinned by Kyle Andreae of Spencer/Columbus Catholic in 5:04.
âZack wrestled decent but made a couple of mistakes and just got caught in the end,â Peterson said.
âSame 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.â
Both of the Rockets are juniors and should be strong contenders at state next year, Peterson said.
Gundrum said his teamâs future is bright, with Watry and Cardarelle the only state qualifiers who will be lost to graduation.