Two Panthers Place in Top 10 at SPASH State Wrestling
By Ken McKenzie
The five wrestlers representing SPASH at the 72nd Annual WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament each shaped life- changing memories last week in Madison while their collective efforts yielded a fifth place finish by Dylan Koontz at 113# and a sixth place for twin brother, Brady Koontz at 106#.
Also competing among the 224 Division 1 wrestling athletes were Chance Bailey at 120#, Fritz Schierl at 152# and Noel Winch at 220#.
Wisconsin Rapids’ Brock Benitz at 152# and Beau Thompson at 284# joined with Merrill’s 170# Mason Reinhardt as Wisconsin Valley Conference wrestlers earning individual state championships. Joe Ziolkowski of D.C.Everest saw his season undefeated mark upended in the finals at 145# to finish second.
Gaining a third place area finish was Mitch Hertel of Marshfield at 160# while Patrick Spray of Rapids (120#), Scott Arneson of Merrill (132#), and Marshfield’s Josh Lang (195#) earned fourth place awards.
In gaining the sixth place standing at 106# Brady Koontz earned preliminary round wins over Logan Bellow of Pulaski by fall in 5:16 and by 7-0 decision over Francesco Schiro of Madison Lafollete. He then lost to fourth state ranked wrestler, Aaron Schulist by 14-5 major decision. Schulist went on to a second place finish at 106#. Koontz then lost to Nathan Hensley of Whitnall/Greendale by major decision and to Mason Phillips, Eau Claire North, by 3-2 decision to finish at sixth.
Dylan Koontz opened his state appearance with a 3-0 decision over Trevor Hanson of Baraboo and 3-1 decision over Matrix Jisco of Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln. He then lost to Airk Furseth of Janesville Craig, 7-2, before earning the fifth place medal by besting Brandon Green of Oshkosh North, 5-3.
Chance Bailey had a tough draw in facing the state’s #2 wrestler at 120#, Trent Leon of Kaukauna and lost by fall at 5:40, eliminating him from further competition.
Returning state qualifier Fritz Schierl opened by defeating Elliot Luker of Hortonville, 7-5, before losing by 3-2 decision to eventual second place finisher, Jackson Hemauer of Deforest. Schierl then defeated Burlington’s Wes Gavin by fall in 2:35 before losing to Marcus Morrow of Wauwatosa West/East, again on a one point decision, 5-4.
SPASH senior Noel Winch defeated Jake Macaluso of Milwaukee Hamilton, 4-2, in the opening round before losing by fall to La’Ryan Johnson of Kenosha Bradford. He then lost to Pewaukee’s Blaze Beltran, 7-2, to end his high school wrestling career.