Waiting is Over, SPASH Wrestlers Head to State
By Ken McKenzie
The five individual wrestlers heading to Madison this week will take their talent, hard work and any good luck they can muster along with them to the memory-making WIAA state individual wrestling championships.
Coach Duane Groshek’s most successful charges have raised the bar yet again, as SPASH sends more than four wrestlers to the state’s showcase gathering for the first time since 1956 to join in competing with the best wrestlers from all across the state.
Joining sectional champs Fritz Schierl (152#) and Dylan Koontz (113#) will be Koontz’s twin brother, Brady (106#), Chance Bailey (120#) and their ‘big brother’ in the form of 220# Noel Winch. Their anxious enthusiasm and a year of hard work will hopefully be rewarded with deserved success on the mats at the Kohl Center.
In the 106# weight class bracket, SPASH sophomore Brady Koontz takes his 47-4 record and second seeding into action Thursday against Pulaski freshman Logan Bellow (33-4).
Testament to the toughness of Eau Claire North wrestler Mason Phillips (42-3, who defeated Koontz 9-4 in the sectional final last week) is that he got the number one seeding slot in spite of the weight division boasting undefeated wrestlers from Germantown (Zack Szohr, 28-0) and Madison West (Moziah Clark, 38-0).
Koontz’s twin brother, Dylan, a sectional champion with a 45-4 record at 113# is assigned the number one seeding and will open against Trevor Hanson of Baraboo (43-5) in the upper bracket of seeded wrestlers.
Airk Furseth of Janesville Craig is 41-0 and Racine Horlick’s Damien McCray brings a 50-1 record to Madison. Also, familiar Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln wrestler Matrix Jisko (45-4) competes in the same bracket foursome as Dylan Koontz.
Freshman Chance Bailey brings his 29-11 record to Madison, drawing a second seeding and opens against Kaukauna’s Trent Leon (42-5), a wrestler who competed at 126# when SPASH wrestled the Grapplin’ Ghosts when the teams met back on December 6.
Fritz Schierl earned the number one seeding at Madison with his 35-5 record and sectional win at Eau Claire North last Saturday. The junior returns for a second appearance at state and will open against Hortonville’s sophomore Elliott Luker (37-7). This weight class has Jason Ipsarides of Cedarburg who is an undefeated 47-0.
SPASH’s final competitor is senior Noel Winch at 220# who recently signed a letter of intent to play football at Winona State University in the fall. Winch drew the number two seed with his 36-10 record and will open against Milwaukee Hamilton’s Jake Macaluso a junior with a 31-13 record.
Returning state champ at 145# is area wrestler, Joe Ziolkowski of D.C. Everest, who stakes his 41-0 record into this week’s state finals. Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln qualified seven wrestlers to state, making things even more interesting for Wisconsin Valley Conference wrestling fans.