Heil strives for a state title
Grapplers are ready to roll at state
By Casey Krautkramer
Edgar senior Ethan Heil is hoping to win an individual state wrestling championship this weekend just like his father, Joe Heil, accomplished 30 years ago.
Ethan Heil won the WIAA Division 3 individual sectional championship in the 220-pound weight class on Saturday in Edgar.
He remains undefeated with a 28-0 match record this season heading into this weekend’s 77th annual individual wrestling state championships on Feb. 27-29 at the Kohl Center in Madison. Ethan Heil lost a 6-5 decision to senior Drew Hennessey of Iowa-Grant/Highland in last year’s 220-pound state finals match. His older brother, Colton Heil, also lost a close match, 6-4, to Garrett Joles of Boyceville in the 195-pound finals in 2018.
The boys’ father, Joe Heil, finished his senior wrestling season in 1990 with an undefeated record in matches while winning an individual Class C state championship. Ethan Heil strives to have the same success his father did in his senior season, by going undefeated in matches and capturing an individual state title that eluded him last year and his older brother two years ago.
“It would be really nice to go undefeated and win a state championship,” Ethan Heil said. “I know my broth- er, Colton, came up short by taking second place at state which sucks, but I think it would mean a lot for my family if I won a state championship. Colton and my dad both come in and wrestle with me quite a bit during practices; they have really helped me out and I wouldn’t be where I am now without both of them.”
Ethan Heil and fellow senior Connor Westfall of Athens are the lone wrestlers representing their schools at this weekend’s individual state wrestling tournament. Westfall took second place in the 195-pound weight class at the Edgar sectional and he has a 30-7 match record thus far this season. He is currently ranked third in the state in his weight class. Westfall reached the podium last season with a fifth-place finish in the 220-pound weight class in his first time competing in the state tournament.
“My goal is to win a gold medal at state this year,” Westfall said. “Last year, I went down to state with the hopes of earning a medal and that’s what happened, and this year I want a gold medal.”
The top three wrestlers in each weight class at the Division 3 individual sectional in Edgar advanced to state. Athens senior Spencer Kraus and freshman Brooks Kraus both barely missed qualifying for state with fourthplaces finishes in their weight classes at sectionals, while senior Carter Brunke failed to place at the sectional competition.
Seven Stratford wrestlers are competing in this weekend’s individual state tournament, including seniors Max Schwabe and Trevor Dennee who are vying to win back-to-back state championships. Both grapplers won individual sectional titles in their weight classes in Edgar.
Schwabe won the 132-pound weight class state championship last season, after taking home a third-place finish at 120 pounds at the state tournament in 2018. He enters the state tournament with a 45-2 match record this season.
Trevor Dennee has moved up two weights to 195 pounds this season, after winning the 170-pound state title last year. He also garnered a second-place finish at 170 pounds at the state tournament in 2018. Trevor Dennee enters this weekend’s state tournament with a 46-1 match record this season.
His twin brother, Devin Dennee, won the individual 160-pound sectional title and has a 46-2 match record heading into the state tournament. Trevor Dennee hopes both he and his brother bring gold medals home from state.
“I’ve been wrestling with my brother during my whole life, so it would be great if both of us won state titles together,” Trevor Dennee said.
Stratford sophomore wrestler Gavin Drexler captured the 126-pound sectional championship to qualify for individual state for the first time in his high school career, after he didn’t advance out of sectionals last season. He enters the individual state tournament with an unblemished 47-0 match record this season.
Tiger’s sophomore Elijah Lucio won the 138-pound sectional championship in Edgar and will make his inaugural trip to individual state with a 16-1 match record this season.
Stratford junior Jacob Heiden took second place in the 152-pound weight class at sectionals to advance to state with a 39-8 match record this season. Junior Karter Stuttgen placed third at 113 pounds at sectionals to also qualify for state with a 23-5 match record. Junior Hunter Ford and sophomore Raife Smart just missed qualifying for state with fourth-place finishes in their weight classes at the sectional competition.