Two Mel-Min/G-E-T wrestling teams competed over the holidays. One of the Titan varsity teams traveled to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire to wrestle in the Eau Claire Holiday Duals, while the other varsity team traveled to the La Crosse Center to wrestle in the Bi-State Classic.
Eau Claire Duals
After handing Mondovi its first loss of the season, 45-18, the Titans found tough sledding in the next round, losing to the eventual tournament champion Plainview/Elgin/Millville of Minnesota, 70-3.
In the win over Mondovi, the Titans were sparked by freshmen River Rommel (152) and Elijah Miller who both earned wins in their first varsity appearance. The sole winner for the Titans in their second match was Kohl Linberg, who won a 4-2 decision at 106.
Although the team couldn’t find the win column for the rest of the tournament, it fought through three closely-contested matches. In their third match of the day, the Titans lost a 48-30 decision against Park Falls, Minnesota. Key matches for the Titans were turned in by Linberg (106) and Miller (160), who both pinned their Park Falls opponent.
The Titan’s final two duals of the day were more closely contested: a 39-33 loss to Pine Island, Minnesota and a 37-36 loss to Marshfield. In the loss to Pine Island, both Linberg and Miller picked up their third win of the day and Hunter Kastenschmidt (220) earned the team’s only pin. In the loss to Marshfield, senior Bailey Fitzl (120) and Josh Marciulionis (285) scored pins to keep the team within striking distance.
The Mel-Min/G-E-T Titans advanced six of their eleven-man team to the second day of competition at the 61-team Bi-State tournament and placed three wrestlers in the top twelve of their respective weight classes.
The team’s top finish was accomplished by Julian Purney, who placed fourth at 126. Purney would grind his way to the semifinals with 4-2 and 5-2 decisions before losing to two-time state champ A.J. Schoenfuss of Stratford, 3-0. After a 13-1 major decision in the consolation semi-finals, Purney faced last year’s 126-pound state qualifier Kaleb Ison of Sheboygan Falls. Ison went on to earn a 4-1 decision after scoring three nearfall points in the second period.
In a bracket that featured ten state qualifiers, Jack Marley earned the team’s next highest place finish when he finished sixth at 120. Marley advanced to the quarterfinal round on the strength of two decisions before being decisioned 9-1 by Sparta’s Jon Bailey. After stringing together wins in his next two matches, Marley lost his final two bouts of the tournament.
Bryce Blaken enabled himself to compete in the second day with a pin over 10-seed Gabe Carter of New Richmond. The Titan sophomore would not be able to improve his twelfth-place status in the bracket after losing close 9-7 and 6-4 decisions along with a pin in his final match of the tournament.
Three other Titans advanced to the second day of wrestling, but were eliminated after losing their first-round match. At 113 Colton Sime pinned his way to the second day but was eliminated by way of a 10-5 decision. Sophomore Hunter Anderson strung together three wins in the first day before exiting the tournament via pin. Landon Lockington (182) put four wins together in the first day before being eliminated in a tight 8-6 decision to the bracket’s sixth seed.
The remainder of the Titan lineup finished the tournament with 2-2 records, but was eliminated in the fourth round of wrestling.
Holmen won the tournament while Mel-Min/G-E-T finished in 20th place overall and in seventh place among Division II teams.
“We were lucky to get the majority of our team involved in holiday tournaments at a varsity level. Some of our youngest guys in Eau Claire were a bit outmatched, but they did a nice job stepping up to the challenge that was placed in front of them,” coach Ernie Brodsky said. “After a long time away from the Bi-State Tournament, it was nice to get back to the event. We’re happy to place three guys and see the rest finish with a few wins, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done before we’re ready for the end of the season.”
On Saturday, the entire Titan team will be allowed to compete in a varsity tournament at Cadott. Then the Titans will return to its dual meet schedule on Jan. 11 when they will take on the Holmen Vikings on the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse campus at Mitchell Hall. Wrestling is tentatively scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.