Stratford grapplers control Athens
Tigers topple the Evergreens in tournament
By Casey Krautkramer
Stratford sophomore wrestler Gavin Kirsch’s come-from-behind overtime win against Athens senior Carter Brunke, a two-time individual state tournament qualifier, propelled the Tigers to a dominating 60-9 dual meet win against the Bluejays on Thursday in Athens.
The match draw weight was 145 pounds, and boy did Gavin Kirsch and Brunke give wrestling fans a treat right away. Brunke jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two periods, but Gavin Kirsch rallied to a two-point reversal and three nearfall points to tied the match at the end of the third period and force Sudden Death overtime. Gavin Kirsch scored a reversal to give him a 7-5 Sudden Death win against Brunke.
Stratford’s bench erupted in cheers after Gavin Kirsch’s improbable match win against Brunke.
“It was a huge win,” Gavin Kirsch said. “I got myself into a bad position earlier in the match but eventually I had to overcome my weakness. He (Brunke) was taller than me but I had to try and beat him. I dropped down in weight from 152 pounds, so I knew it was going to be a tough match for me from the beginning. At the end of the match, I knew I had to take things into my own hands; I couldn’t let the referee decide this match.”
After Gavin Kirsch’s 7-5 win, Stratford wrestlers reeled off five straight pins to take a 33-0 lead against Athens in the dual meet. Tigers junior Jake Heiden pinned Bluejays junior Trystan Cator in one minute, nine seconds at 152 pounds, senior Devin Dennee pinned senior Spencer Kraus in 56 seconds at 160, junior Hunter Ford pinned junior Patrick Redmann in 50 seconds at 170, senior Trevor Dennee pinned freshman Kyler Ellenbecker in 31 seconds at 182 and sophomore Raife Smart pinned senior Anthony Schug in 3:19 at 195.
Athens finally got on the scoreboard after senior Connor Westfall’s 3-0 win against junior Beau Gross at 220 pounds. Stratford sophomore Cole Marten pinned Athens sophomore Peyton Zettler in 39 seconds at 285 pounds, giving the Tigers an insurmountable 39-3 team lead against the Bluejays.
The Bluejays received six more team points on sophomore Brooks Kraus’ forfeit win at 106 pounds. Both teams forfeited at 113 pounds and then Tigers sophomore Logan Gaulke won an 8-1 decision against freshman Connor Lewandowski at 120 pounds.
Stratford wrestlers scored three straight pins to end the match. Tigers sophomore Benno Wenzel pinned sophomore Aiden Guralski in 1:31 at 126 pounds, sophomore Gavin Drexler pinned senior Chase Ellenbecker in 39 seconds at 132 and senior Max Schwabe pinned senior Izzy den Otter in 46 seconds at 138.
DCE tournament winners
Stratford won the 64th annual Fred Lehrke Invitational on Saturday at D.C. Everest High School. Stratford scored 315 points, just ahead of host D.C. Everest with 297.
The following four Tigers grapplers won their individual weight class championships: Gavin Drexler, 29-0 match record, at 126 pounds; Max Schwabe, 29-1, at 138; Devin Dennee, 292, at 160 and Trevor Dennee, 29-1, at 182.
Gavin Kirsch, 19-6, took second place at 145 pounds and Hunter Ford, 28-5, was second at 170. Logan Gaulke, 19-7, placed third at 113 pounds and Raife Smart, 11-4, finished third at 195.
Jake Heiden, 25-6, placed fifth at 152 pounds and Cole Marten, 23-6, was fifth at 285. Sophomore Ashtyn Kuehn, 3-11, took sixth place at 132 pounds and Benno Wenzel, 7-8, was eighth at 120.
New Richmond Invite
Athens took eighth place among 11 teams competing at the New Richmond Invitational on Saturday. Amery won the team championship with 272.06
“At the end of the match, I knew I had to take things into my own hands; I couldn’t let the referee decide the match.”
Stratford sophomore points, while Athens scored 149.59.
Connor Westfall, 20-3 record in matches this season, won the individual 195-pound weight class title. Brothers Brooks, 18-4, and Spencer Kraus, 20-6, each took second place in the 106 and 160-pound weight classes, respectively.
Carter Brunke, 15-7, took fourth place at 145 pounds; Anthony Schug, 8-10, fifth at 195; Connor Lewandowski, 3-5, seventh at 120; Patrick Redmann, 12-10, seventh at 170; Peyton Zettler, 1-6, eighth at 220; Trystan Cator, 6-10, ninth at 152; Chase Ellenbecker, 13-9, was 10th at 132; Aiden Guralski, 2-6, was 11th at 126 and Izzy den Otter, 1-11, was 12th at 138.
The Marathon and Edgar wrestling teams competed in the Merrill Bluejay Challenge on Saturday. The Red Raiders took 13th place out of 20 teams with 147 points, while the Wildcats were 16th with 104. Prairie du Chien won the Bluejay Challenge title with 433 points. Marathon junior Jared Sweno, 17-7 in matches this season, won the individual 132-pound championship. Freshman Hector Pintor, 13-8, took third place at 152 pounds.
Red Raiders junior Nick Reynolds, 4-14, placed 10th at 138 pounds; sophomore Nick Sommers, 7-6, 10th at 170; senior Cameron Blount, 5-10, 11th at 285; freshman Mason Putnam, 7-12, at 106 and Jocelyn Van Rixel, 0-4, 14th at 182.
Edgar senior Ethan Heil, 18-0, won the individual 220-pound title at the Bluejay Challenge.
Wildcats freshman Keghan Hartway, 8-10, placed sixth at 138 pounds; junior RJ Knetter, 7-6, ninth at 182; senior Carson Lemmer, 5-11, 12th at 160; junior Brady Lemmer, 6-9, 12th at 170; sophomore Blake Tartar, 5-11, was 15th at 120; sophomore Collin Gajewski, 1-8, was 15th at 152; sophomore Kalvin Kingsley, 1-12, was 16th at 138 and junior Kane Lipinski, 1-12, was 16th at 152.
Marathon’s wrestling team lost to Auburndale, 36-35, in a home dual match on Thursday.