Delavan-Darien falls short at team state meet
MADISON Delavan-Darien had a chance to compete for the WIAA Division 2 state team wrestling title Saturday.
The Comets took an early 6-0 lead in their semifinal match against defending champion Ellsworth and nearly pushed the lead to 12-0 after four weight classes but lost back-to-back bouts in the final three seconds.
Unfortunately for Delavan-Darien, the strong start didn’t equate to a fantastic finish.
Ellsworth rallied by winning the last five matches en route to a 34-18 win. Luxemburg-Casco defeated Ellsworth in the title match, 41-13.
Delavan-Darien, which wrestled at the state team tournament for the first time in school history, appeared prime for the upset of second-ranked Ellsworth but faltered down the stretch.
“I thought we would have to win eight or nine matches to have a chance,” Delavan-Darien coach Craig Lodahl said. “I knew it was going to be tough to get six points (for a pin) against any of their kids because they’re all such solid, fundamental wrestlers.
“But if a couple of matches go our way and we don’t lose late leads, it comes down to the final match at 138. And even though we lost there, you never know what might happen when a kid knows that a win there sends the team to the finals.”
The Comets got a favorable start at 145 pounds. Keifer and Kyndle Bennett gave Delavan-Darien a 6-0 lead with wins at 145 and 152, respectively.
At 160, Delavan-Darien’s Diego Avila had a 3-2 lead late, but Dennis Schutz executed a perfect throw for a two-point takedown and a 4-3 win with one second left.
Ellsworth tied the match at 6-6 before Marcus Hudson gave Delavan-Darien a 9-6 lead with a one-point win at 182. The Comets were forced to forfeit at 195, but Steve Brower and Reed Wuttke both moved up a weight class in getting wins at 215 and 285, respectively. That gave Delavan-Darien 15-12 lead, and Austin Schwarz made it 18-12 with a 7-0 decision at 103.
That was all the scoring the Comets would do as Ellsworth wrapped up the match with five straight wins.
“It was there for the picking,” Lodahl said of the possible upset. “Ellsworth has a nice team and that’s why they’re the defending champion, but I really believed we had a team capable of beating them.
“But I couldn’t be more proud of our kids. They got a chance to do what no other team in school history did and that was wrestle at state.”
Program thrived in mid-90s
Contrary to a story in The Gazette on Saturday, the Delavan-Darien wrestling program was on solid ground in the mid-1990s.
The Comets finished 8-1 in the 1995 season and were second to Milton in the Southern Lakes. The program went through a five-year stretch in the 1990s where it went 81-21 in dual meets.
Shane Koehl, the head wrestling coach at Lake Geneva Badger, was a state champion for Delavan-Darien in 1995.
ELLSWORTH 34, DELAVAN-DARIEN 18
106—Austin Schwarz (DD) dec. Cody Raebel, 7-0; 113—Jens Lantz (E) pinned Landon Schramski, 1:26; 120—Brad Cain (E) dec. Cody Chelminiak, 4-1; 126—Brent Stockwell (E) major dec. over Hunter Gramely, 13-2; 132—Roarke Langer (E) pinned Devin Salas, 2:25; 138—Mason Strom (E) dec. Zach Lazzeroni, 11-7; 145—Kiefer Bennett (DD) dec. Logan Kemmerer, 7-4.
152—Kyndle Bennett (DD) dec. Ryan Dickhausen, 5-4; 160—Dennis Schutz (E) dec. Diego Avila, 4-3; 170—Max Peterson (E) dec. Cody Peterson, 9-6; 182—Marcus Hudson (DD) dec. Gable Frandson, 7-6; 195—Parker Hines (E) won by forfeit; 215—Steve Brower (DD) dec. Henry Holdorf, 12-8; 285—Reed Wuttke (DD) dec. Brody Kemmerer, 6-4.
n Starting weight—145.