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WIAA Individual State Wrestling Championships Preview
Wednesday, February 26th, 2014 -- 10:50 am
Posted by Larry Hoeser, Sports Director

The 71st Annual Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament will be held this Thursday-Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison. Here's a preview....

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 1: In Division 1, seven former champions, including five of last year’s champions, return to the tournament in hopes of adding another crown. Junior Nolan Shea of Milton moves up a weight class after winning the 106-pound weight class last year. He enters the tournament with a 36-5 mark this season. Senior Ben Thornton of La Crosse Central has qualified in the 120-pound weight class after winning the title at 106 in 2012 and runner-up at 113 last season. He enters competition as the only undefeated wrestler in his bracket with a 46-0 mark. Sophomore Josh Bird of Burlington capped his freshman season with a State title at 120. He returns in pursuit of back-to-back titles, moving up to 132 this season with a 23-1 record. He is joined in the bracket by junior Robert Lee of Kaukauna, who also moves up a weight class to 132 after falling to Bird in the 120 title bout last year. Lee won the 113 championship in 2012 as a freshman. He has compiled a 42-3 record heading into the State Tournament. Senior Jared Scharenbrock of Sun Prairie is undefeated at 47-0 entering the meet after seizing the 145 championship last year. He moves up a weight class in pursuit of repeating the feat. Sophomore Beau Breske of Hartford boasts a 48-0 this season after winning gold at 152 last season. He moves up two weight classes to 170 to again challenge for the title. Senior Tyler Schmidt of Merrill returns at 220 attempting to defend the title he won at the class last season. He enters the tournament with a 46-1 record.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 2: The Division 2 field includes six returning champions, including one multiple champion. Senior Jens Lantz of Ellsworth headlines the list of returning champs as a three-time winner. He attempts to become only the 13th wrestler in the history of the state to win four individual championships. He was the 120 champion last season, the 113 winner in 2012 and the 103 gold medalist in 2011. He moves up a weight class this season to contend at 126 with a 38-1 record. Sophomore Hunter Marko of Amery moves up a weight to contend for the title at 113 after claiming the crown at 106 last season. He has compiled a 24-1 mark this season. Senior J.J. McClelland of Viroqua won the 113 title last season. He has qualified at 120 this year with a 41-5 record in pursuit of his second straight championship. Junior Dewey Krueger of Oconto Falls is the 2013 champion at 132 moving up to 145 to contend for another title this year. He has posted a 38-2 record heading into the State Tournament. Last year’s champion at 160 maintains that weight in an attempt to repeat as title holder. Senior Gable Frandsen of Ellsworth has amassed a 50-1 record coming off last year’s banner season. Senior Luke Destiche of Luxemburg-Casco also remains at the same weight he conquered last season. He has followed-up his championship at 220 a year ago with a 41-0 tally this season.

TRACKING THE CHAMPIONS–DIVISION 3: There are six defending champions returning in Division 3, including two-time champion Ethan Soderstrom, a senior from Lancaster. He moves up a weight class to 170 after winning at 160 last year and 152 in 2012. He has a 20-3 record heading into State competition. Sophomore Hunter Dischler of Weston/Ithaca brings with him a 41-2 record to the State Tournament at 113. He moves up a class after winning the 106 title last season. Junior Kal Gerber of Cameron moves up to 120 this season after claiming the crown last year at 113. He has wrestled to a 41-2 mark this season. Junior Cole Martin of Lancaster has yet to lose this season after capturing the 120 title last year. He is 20-0 and has moved up two weight classes to compete at 132 this year. Junior Devin Lemanski of Edgar moves up three classes to compete at 145 this season after snatching the 126 championship last season. He has suffered just one setback this season at 36-1 heading into State competition. Senior Trenton Cornell of Lancaster qualifies at 152 this year following a State championship last year at 145. He possesses a 41-2 record this season in his pursuit of a second gold medal.

UNBLEMISHED MARKS: There are 14 wrestlers who enter the State Tournament this weekend undefeated, including eight in Division 1, and three in both Divisions 2 and 3. The eight Division 1 wrestlers entering the State Tournament with perfect records are senior Ben Thornton of La Crosse Central (46-0) at 120, senior Jared Scharenbrock of Sun Prairie (47-0) at 152, junior Jordan Gundrum of West Bend East (45-0) at 160, senior Izaak Simar of Kenosha Indian Trail (43-0) and sophomore Beau Breske (48-0) at 170, senior Wesley Schultz of Sun Prairie (43-0) at 182, senior Dallas Wanta of West Allis Hale (44-0) at 220 and senior Hunter Higginbotham of Germantown (43-0) at 285. In Division 2, those still undefeated heading into the State Tournament are freshman Devin Bahr of West Salem/Bangor (49-0) at 132, senior Justin Dolata of Mauston (30-0) at 170 and senior Luke Destiche of Luxemburg-Casco (41-0) at 220. The unblemished records in Division 3 belong to sophomore Riley Lull of Riverdale (43-0) at 106, junior Cole Martin of Lancaster (20-0) at 132 and sophomore Henry Fielding of Shiocton (38-0) at 182. There are an additional 49 wrestlers in the meet that have suffered defeat only once this season.

HISTORY OF CHAMPIONS: For a complete list of all-time individual wrestling champions, access the WIAA website and navigate to the State Results Archive page from the wrestling homepage.

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