Holmen High School wrestling coach Jason Lulloff knows his fifth-seeded team has its hands full in a WIAA Division 1 quarterfinal dual against fourth-seeded Hartland Arrowhead at the University of Wisconsin Field House on Friday.
Neither the Vikings nor the Warhawks are strangers to the team state tournament.
This is Holmen’s fourth straight appearance, and it was runner-up in 2018. This is Arrowhead’s third straight trip, and it had five wrestlers compete for championships at the state individual tournament last weekend with three of them winning.
“Well, you saw how good they are last weekend,” Lulloff said. “They have a dangerous team with elite level talent.”
Two of those wrestlers are sophomore Mitchell Mesenbrink (12-0) at 138 pounds and senior Keegan O’Toole (47-0) at 160. Another is junior Mason Diel (38-2, 182), who was Arrowhead’s other champion last weekend at the Kohl Center.
Despite those dominant wrestlers, Holmen has reason to believe it can compete to win the dual. The Vikings had five state qualifiers last weekend and still have a strong lineup.
The interesting part of the dual is that each team’s strengths are at different weights.
“One thing I always look at my duals are those coin-flip matches,” Lulloff said. “I don’t really see any of those with Arrowhead.”
Holmen holds a definite advantage at the early weights with Parker Kratochvill (41-6, 106), Sam Smith (44-5, 113) and Alex Pellowski (37-5, 120), while Arrowhead has to be considered the favorite in matches at the middle of the lineup. There could be some good matches at the higher weights, though.
The matchup as a whole has Lulloff brushing up on all tiebreakers in case they come into play for his team (17-4).
“It looks kind of lopsided at each weight when you look at the matches,” he said. “It’s going to come down to bonus points and mainly how you lose.
“We’ll prepare any way we can to get a win over Arrowhead and move on. You don’t have to win by 10 or 20 (points), you just have to win.”
We know that either Prairie du Chien or Melrose-Mindoro/G-E-T will wrestle for a state championship on Saturday afternoon, but we won’t know which one gets the chance until they face off in a semifinal that morning.
We also know to expect a smattering of great matchups from loaded lineups on each side.
Matchups could change based on what coaches think outcomes could be, but as of now, three matches will feature state qualifiers in Prairie du Chien champion Rhett Koenig (51-6) vs. Carson Koss (42-9) at 106, Mel.-Min./G-E-T runner-up Hunter Andersen (39-12) vs. Bradyn Saint (49-8) at 170 and installment No. 3 of Prairie du Chien champion Truck Hannah vs. third-place Bryce Burns (47-4) at 195.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!