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Spaeth repeats as champion, Sonnentag earns first title

Spaeth repeats as champion, Sonnentag earns first title Spaeth repeats as champion, Sonnentag earns first title

Ending the 2019-20 wrestling season, the Cadott Hornets didn’t just break records, they shattered them. This year, Cadott sent seven wrestlers to the WIAA State Individual Tournament in Madison, Feb. 27-29, the most athletes the Hornets have had qualify in one year.

At the State level, five out of the seven placed, which included senior Brady Spaeth (170 pounds) repeating as champion and freshman Brayden Sonnentag (106) crowned as champion, the first time a freshman has come home with a State title in school history. They also never had more than two in the finals, this year, finishing with three in the championship round.

“Every one of these guys sitting up here, has come through our youth program, every one of them represented us at the youth State program,” said coach Josh Spaeth. “We just think about consistency, deep program-wide.”

Ending his high school career with a State championship, B. Spaeth came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in the state in Division 3 in his weight class, going undefeated all season. To begin, Spaeth knocked off Cal Dorota, Iowa-Grant-Highland, in the quarterfinals, with a 3:31 fall.

From there, B. Spaeth took out Brandon Zamorano, Horicon, in a 13-1 major decision. It was then on to the championship match.

“The second championship felt better, because I felt more relieved from the pressure of repeating,” said B. Spaeth. “To win my second title in a dominant fashion was exciting. My goal this year, was to pin my way through the State tournament. Last year, my focus was to just win.”

In his final match, B. Spaeth faced off against Dylan Horstmeyer of Marshall, taking the match by fall in 2:49. B. Spaeth says he kept thinking throughout the match, get it over with, pin him.

“I was really relaxed prior to the match,” said B. Spaeth. “Last year, I was more nervous and didn’t really remember much. This year, I was relaxed and took it all in.”

Taking it all in included a backflip on the mat and leaping into the stands to hug his mom. Now that B. Spaeth’s hard work has paid off – twice – he turns his attention to his future wrestling career at the University of Minnesota, which includes academics to earn his degree.

“My goals for wrestling, are to become an All-American and then work myself to become a National champion,” said B. Spaeth.

For Sonnentag’s first trip to State, the freshman carried only one loss on his record this year. In his first match in the quarterfinals, he faced off against Jonah Dennis, Riverdale, by a 1:47 fall.

“I think coming from a wrestling family helps a ton,” said Sonnentag. “I have people like my uncle Greg (Sonnentag, former Cadott State champion), who knows what it takes to get on top of the podium, and also people like my dad (Brad), who fell short of [his] goals, but has the experience with things that are very important in wrestling, such as mindset, extra workouts and worst of all, watching my weight.”

In the semi-finals, Sonnentag took on Peter Esser, Pittsville, for an 8-0 major decision victory. Moving on to the finals, Sonnentag’s first time on the championship mat was understandably a bit nerve-wracking.

“Honestly, before my finals match, I was nervous,” said Sonnentag. “I mean, how could you not be? After the whistle blew, all of the nerves went away and I just did what I do.”

At one point in the match, with 42 seconds left, “blood time” was called for his opponent.

“…I looked to my crowd and saw both my parents pretty

See STATE WRESTLING/ Page 3 much in tears,” said Sonnentag, “and at that point, up 6-0, it started to sink in that this is really happening.”

Sonnentag went on to defeat Luke Thaemert of St. Croix Falls, by a 6-0 decision, earning his first championship at the State high school level.

“This is something I have thought about forever,” said Sonnentag, who also looks to the next three years of his high school career. “Now that I have the first one down and have three to go, it is all setting in that I have the chance to be one (four-year champion). It will require tons of hard work and dedication, and I am prepared to take on this feat.”

Coming so close to yet another championship for Cadott, junior Nelson Wahl (152) won in the quarterfinals over Iowa- Grant-Highland’s Jason Sedbrook, then faced off against Mason Haas, Amherst, for the win. However, in the championship, Wahl couldn’t pull out the victory over Aiden Vandenbush from Random Lake and came home with a second place finish.

Senior Ethan Tegels (220) earned his second, fourth place finish at State, after falling in quarterfinal action. He rebounded in the consolation semis, earning an 8-6 decision over Cole Ebert of Reedsville.

Freshman Tristan Drier (132) also earned a place at State, coming in sixth. Senior Steven Pfeiffer (182) and freshman Cole Pfeiffer (138) were beaten out in the first round matches, and did not place.

While not everyone came home a champion, J. Spaeth says he saw incredible sportsmanship and character from all the Hornets wrestlers.

“Very proud of you, fellas,” said J. Spaeth.

The goal for the Hornets this season, was to be at team State and while that didn’t happen, assistant coach Jon Erickson says Cadott saw their best season ever, in terms of success on the mat.

“They wrestled for a bigger purpose,” said Erickson. “They wrestled for the team, this community. Team goes beyond wrestlers.”

With six State qualifiers set to return next season and a lot of youth wrestlers moving up, J. Spaeth is already looking forward to next year, and what the team can accomplish.

“The future looks so bright.”