The Tomah High School wrestling team will send a large contingent to Saturday’s WIAA Division 1 Verona Sectional, but Tomah coach Jeff Von Haden knows that sectionals can boil down a roster very fast.
Von Haden said his team wrestled well at the Feb. 9 Holmen Regional and will need another a big effort to get individuals into the top two and qualify for the state meet. Tomah will have wrestlers in 11 of the 14 weight classes.
“If we want to get to the state tournament, we are going to have to pull off some upsets next week at sectionals,” Von Haden said. “It will be tough at every weight, and we will need to get through three tough matches in order to qualify. I believe we have some opportunities, but we’ll have to be at our best Saturday.”
Marques Fritsche will bring Tomah’s best record into the tournament. He owns a 39-6 mark and will compete in a loaded 160-pound field that features La Crosse Central/La Crosse Logan’s Jeremiah Nagel (27-7), Sauk Prairie’s Brian Schauf (38-5) and Middleton’s Remington Lockwood (21-8)
The biggest performance at the regional came from the team’s lone senior, Kaden Hericks, at 195. He got a big victory over Holmen’s Caleb Butler to earn a number-two seed in a weight class that includes Baraboo’s Tyson Fry (34-8) and Sauk Prairie’s Marcus Hankins (25-2).
Tomah’s best chance for a state berth didn’t make it to the regional. Senior Dawson Lambert suffered a season-ending shoulder injury after compiling a 22-4 record at 120 this season. He finished his varsity career with a 120-22 record, two trips to the state tournament and a Bi-State Classic title.
“It could have been much better if two of his seasons weren’t cut short by injuries,” Von Haden said. “It is fun when you get quality wrestlers like Dawson, and he will be missed. It is too bad that he couldn’t finish the season, but he had a great high school career.”
Wrestling at Verona High School starts at 10 a.m. with quarterfinal matches. The state tournament is Feb. 21-23 at the Kohl Center in Madison.