Both Holmen and Melrose-Mindoro/G-E-T accomplished some big things at the WIAA individual state wrestling meet last weekend at the Kohl center in Madison.
The Vikings sent a school-record 10 qualifiers and came home with three medals — two seconds and one third — after moving junior Kalyn Jahn and senior Isaac Lahr to Division 1 championship matches.
The Titans brought home two medals after qualifying four, and sophomore Bryce Burns made sure the trip ended well by winning the fifth-place match in his Division 2 195-pound bracket.
All of those things take a back seat right now to a larger goal in the team state tournament, which begins Friday and continues Saturday at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse in Madison.
Holmen, seeded first in Division 1, begins with a quarterfinal match against Hartland Arrowhead at 5:30 p.m. A win there moves it to Friday night’s semifinal round. The championship bout is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday.
Melrose-Mindoro/G-E-T didn’t receive a seed in Division 2 and opens with a dual against second-seeded Luxemburg-Casco at 10 a.m. Saturday ahead of the 3 p.m. finals.
“Our goal the last couple years was to get to team state,” Mel-Min/G-E-T co-coach Pete Peterson said during the individual state meet at the Kohl Center in Madison. “We never really had the horses to get there before because we’d run into Ellsworth.
“For our kids, what’s important is the mentality that they can compete.”
The Vikings have the horses, and the field knows it. Holmen has spent the season ranked No. 1 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online and proved time again the depth that it has throughout the lineup.
Jahn (44-7) came home with a second-place medal at 170, and Lahr (49-4) did the same at 182. Senior Reed Williams (46-9) was third at 160.
Holmen had a wrestler at 10 of the 14 weights with at least 30 wins this season, and two of the remaining four spots had one with 29.
That consistency is what stands out to coaches around the state and will make the Vikings tough to beat this weekend.
Fourth-seeded Burlington — a possible semifinal opponent — had similar success this season is a tough No. 4 seed. The Demons advanced 11 wrestlers to individual state and also won three medals, led by a championship performance by 106-pounder Hayden Halter (48-2).
Hartland Arrowhead had eight individual qualifiers, and Keegan O’Toole (43-1, 132 pounds) and Joshua Otto (48-1, 152) both won titles. Jack Ganos (36-8, 106) and Dominic Dentino (41-1, 120) placed second for the Warhawks.
“What’s important is what I still have a chance to win with my team,” Williams said after winning his third-place match. “That’s something we’ve been working hard for since the season started.
“This is what we have wanted, and now we have the chance to get it.”