The Melrose-Mindoro/G-E-T co-op wrestling team has a tough job this weekend, but that’s just the opportunity it’s been working to earn.

The Titans make their first appearance in the WIAA team state tournament at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse on Saturday, and the competition — as expected — is top-notch.

Mel-Min/G-E-T finished the season ranked eighth in Division 2 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online and is seeded third for Saturday’s semifinal matchup with second-seeded Luxemburg-Casco.

The Spartans have qualified for the tournament 17 times since it began in 1992 and finished the regular season ranked first before Ellsworth was awarded the No. 1 seed for the tournament.

“Our goal the last couple years was to get to team state,” Mel-Min/G-E-T co-coach Pete Peterson said Saturday during the individual state meet at the Kohl Center in Madison. “We never really had the horse to get there before because we’d run into Ellsworth.

“For our kids, what’s important is the mentality that they can compete.”

The Titans spent most of their time preparing themselves to compete at the individual state meet last weekend, but they also used the opportunity to learn as much as they could about the eight Luxemburg-Casco qualifiers.

Mel.-Min./G-E-T had four individual qualifiers, and sophomore Bryce Burns led their performances with a fifth-place finish at 195 pounds. Burns (35-9) beat Grafton’s Alec Davis (42-10) 6-4 in the placement match after beating him by major decision in the first round.

Junior Julian Purney (42-8) was sixth at 126 and won his second career medal after a runner-up performance as a sophomore. Junior Colton Sime (30-18) and senior Josh Marciulionis (32-16) also qualified but didn’t place in their respective 113 and 285 brackets.

Bryce Bosman (48-2) won a championship for the Spartans at 126 and beat Purney in the semifinals to get to the title match. Bosman won by major decision and goes into the dual with the upper hand if the two meet again.

Luxemburg-Casco also had medal-winner performances from fourth-place Luca Joniaux (43-8, 106), Nathan Ronsman (43-11, 132) and Nate Lloyd (43-8, 285).

Devan Vandenbush (46-8, 152) and Reece Worachek (39-15, 160) were fifth and Colton Worachek (42-12, 145) sixth. Austin Leroy (38-12, 195) also qualified for Luxemburg-Casco.

That’s a lot of success for the Titans to have to tackle.

“We’ll focus on their strengths and weakness this week,” Peterson said of the Spartans. “We have to figure out the best way to wrestle Luxemburg.

“If we beat Luxemburg, we could get a chance at Ellsworth, but our focus has to be on Luxemburg this week.”

“For our kids, what’s important is the mentality that they can compete.” Mel-Min/G-E-T co-coach Pete Peterson

Assistant Sports Editor

Todd Sommerfeldt has covered sports for the La Crosse Tribune since 2003 after doing the same previously in the Fox Cities and Rock County.

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