Wrestlers, swimmers close in on state
It’s WIAA tournament time in wrestling and boys swim.
The road to Madison begins Saturday on the mat and in the pool.
Wrestling begins three weekends of competition with statewide regionals Saturday, followed by Team Sectional matches Tuesday night. Individual sectional tournaments are Saturday, Feb. 16, with the Division 1, 2 and 3 state meets taking place on Thursday, Feb. 21, Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23 at the Kohl Center in Madison. The State Team Tournament is Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 at the UW Field House in Madison.
Swimmers hope to make a splash at Saturday’s statewide sectional meets, which lead into the Division 2 state meet on Friday, Feb. 15 and the Division 1 state meet on Saturday, Feb. 16. Both state meets are held at the UW-Natatorium in Madison.
Stilling leads area wrestlers
Qualifying for state is tough enough for Division 1 wrestlers. Only the top two wrestlers at each weight class from the eight sectional tournaments qualify for state.
Making it through to state out of the Fort Atkinson Division 1 sectional may be next to impossible.
Led by defending state champion Jake Stilling of Elkhorn, five of the top-ranked wrestlers out of 14 weight classes will compete in the Fort Atkinson Sectional. Two others are ranked second, giving the sectional at least the first- or second-ranked wrestler in half the weight classes.
“There’s not a tougher sectional in the state,” Janesville Craig coach Mark Mullen said. “Our (Elkhorn) regional is tough enough, but the sectional meet has got some incredible talent.
“I bet there are going to be kids that don’t make it to state out of our sectional that could probably place at state if they came out of any other sectional. That’s how tough it’s going to be.”
Stilling won the D1 170-pound title a year ago and the University of Wisconsin recruit is poised to make it two straight. Stilling’s teammate, Dakota Johnson, is the top-ranked wrestler in Division 1 at 225 pounds.
Other top wrestlers in the Fort Atkinson Sectional are Sun Prairie’s Jared Scharenbrock at 152, Mount Horeb/Barneveld’s Quinn Faust at 182 and Stoughton’s Jessie Nelson at 285.
Brodhead/Juda’s Hunter Colden heads the list of area Division 2 wrestlers. The senior is ranked second behind Oconto Falls’ Jake Morrissey at 170 pounds after finishing fourth at state a year ago. East Troy’s Joey Dedick is ranked first at 195 pounds, while Brodhead/Juda’s Logan Maurer is ranked third at 285. Walworth Big Foot’s Garrett Cary, who has missed most of the season with a leg injury, is expected to compete in Saturday’s East Troy Regional. Cary, who signed Wednesday to play football at the University of North Dakota, was a state placewinner a year ago.
Orfordville Parkview will look to build on its success at last week’s Rock Valley Conference Meet at Saturday’s Division 3 Deerfield Regional. The Vikings had five conference champions last Saturday.
Milton a force in Division 2 swim
Milton High’s boys swim team finished sixth at the WIAA Division 2 state meet a year ago.
With the majority of talent returning from that team, the Red Hawks will look toward a top-three finish at next Friday’s state meet.
Led by seniors Brandon Benson, Spencer Mattox and Jack Lunaas, Milton begins tournament action Saturday at the Baraboo Sectional.
Benson was second at state a year ago in the 100 butterfly and is ranked first in the state (53.7) in the event this year.
Mattox was third in the 100 breaststroke last year and is ranked third in the 200 individual medley this season.
Milton’s 200 medley relay team of Benson, Mattox, Lunaas and senior John Toberman was third in the event at state a year ago and is ranked first (1:39.18) this year.
Janesville Craig and Janesville Parker have their work cut out as part of the Division 1 Middleton Sectional but have an excellent chance of gaining additional qualifiers for the state meet.
when the WIAA releases the list Sunday.