The Melrose-Mindoro/G-E-T co-op wrestling team is still a week away from testing itself as a Division 2 qualifier for the WIAA team state tournament at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse.
But the Titans have two busy days before that with four qualifiers for the individual state meet at the Kohl Center this weekend.
Two of the Titans’ qualifiers began their quests for state medals on Thursday, while the other two begin wrestling at Friday morning’s sessions.
Sectional champions — junior Julian Purney at 126 pounds and sophomore Bryce Burns at 195 — earned first-round byes by winning their brackets at the Richland Center Sectional.
Purney, a state runner-up last season and owner of a 41-5 record, meets either Ashland’s Mack George (34-4) or Campbellsport’s Cade Heisdorf (38-9) in the quarterfinals, which begin for Divisions 2 and 3 at 11:15 a.m. Friday. Purney is ranked fifth by Wisconsin Wrestling Online, while Mack is ninth and Heisdorf 11th on the same list.
Burns, who is unranked, will compete against either 10th-ranked Gabe Wertel (28-11) pf Denmark or ninth-ranked Alec Davis (40-7) of Grafton in the 11:15 a.m. session.
Both Purney and Burns learned their quarterfinal opponents during Thursday night’s session.
Junior Colton Sime and senior Josh Marciulionis began Thursday night with first-round matches in their 113 and 285 brackets. Sime (29-16) opened against Kile freshman Andrew Schad (41-3) at 113 and Marciulionis (32-15) against senior Kelly Paulsen (20-1) of the St. Lawrence Seminary. None of those four wrestlers appears in the top 12 of the state rankings.
Semifinal matches take place Friday night and championship matches Saturday night. Saturday’s early session is for other placement and consolation matches.
Purney had a pin and major decision before winning the championship match via injury default over top-ranked Zach Licht (43-2) of River Valley. Licht still qualified and was put in the bracket after Saturday’s night’s sectionals.
Burns won by major decision and pin before toppling sixth-ranked Stephen Ronnfeldt (39-9) of Prairie du Chien/Wauzeka 6-0 in the finals.
Sime came back to finish third after getting pinned in the first period of his quarterfinal bout, and Marciulionis matched Sime’s finish by winning three of his five matches.
Jack Marley (41-8) just missed out on qualifying at 120 after losing his last two matches by technical fall. Jaden Anderson (152, 30-15) was also fourth.
Sectional qualifiers William Johnson (160, 25-17), Landon Lockington (182, 33-13) and Sam Jansen (220, 33-8) all failed to place. Lockington and Jansen won their opening matches before getting bumped from their brackets.