SPASH’s Groshek places third at State Wrestling
Portage County Gazette
By John Kemmeter
Stevens Point Area Senior High School (SPASH) junior Justin Groshek (45-1) placed third at 106 pounds at the WIAA Division 1 Individual State Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 21-23.
The reigning State Runner-up at 106, Groshek carried a perfect record into the State Semifinals Friday, Feb. 22, where he lost to top-ranked freshman and eventual State Champion Nicolar Rivera (55-0), before he bounced back to finish third.
Second-ranked Groshek opened the State Tournament against 12th-ranked junior Dawson Enge of Sauk Prairie (36-13) Thursday afternoon, where he got out to a 7-0 lead before he pinned Enge in 2:41.
That sent Groshek to the State Quarterfinals Thursday night, where he won 7-0 over fourth-ranked sophomore Alec Hunter of Oshkosh West (42-3) to advance to the State Semifinals Friday night.
With a second consecutive trip to the State Finals on the line, Groshek squared off with Rivera, who is ranked second in the nation at 106 by FloWrestling.com.
Rivera scored a takedown and got three points for a nearfall to build a 5-0 lead 1:01 into the first period, before Groshek got an escape and scored a takedown in the closing seconds of the first period to pull within 5-3.
However, Rivera started the second period from the bottom and got an escape and a takedown to extend his lead to 8-3, and went on to win 9-3.
Groshek came back with a 13-2 major-decision victory over seventh-ranked freshman Riley Nilo of Milton (40-9) Saturday morning to advance to the third-place match against fifth-ranked freshman Cooper Willis of Union Grove (47-4).
There, Groshek got a takedown in the first period to go up 2-0, then scored another takedown in the second period to build a 4-0 lead.
Groshek added an escape with nine seconds left in the third period to close out a 5-0 win and place third, as he reached the awards podium for the third year in a row, after he also placed sixth at 106 as a freshman and finished second at 106 as a sophomore.
Groshek was one of four state qualifiers for SPASH, along with sophomore Karter Stuttgen at 113 pounds, freshman Jaren Rohde at 220 pounds and junior Max Schierl at 132 pounds.
Ranked sixth at 113, Stuttgen (32-7) opened with a 7-0 win over ninth-ranked sophomore D’evin Gore of Plymouth (39-3) Thursday morning to advance to the State Quarterfinals Thursday night against third-ranked sophomore Payton Jacobson of Elkhorn/Faith Christian (39-10).
The match remained tied at 0-0 entering the second period, where Stuttgen started from the bottom and got an escape seven seconds into the period to take a 1-0 lead. It stayed that way until the third period, as eventual sixth-place finisher Jacobson started from the bottom and got an escape 22 seconds into the period to tie the match at 1-1.
It remained deadlocked at 1-1 until the closing seconds, as Jacobson was awarded a penalty point with five seconds left to give him a 2-1 win and a berth in the State Semifinals.
Stuttgen bounced back with a 4-0 win over 12th-ranked freshman Dylan Ellefson of La Crosse Logan/Central (35-11) in wrestlebacks Friday morning, and then had a chance to advance to the placing rounds when he faced 14th-ranked sophomore Jake Hendricks of West De Pere (31-18) Friday afternoon.
The match was 0-0 entering the second period, when Stuttgen scored an escape at the 1:16 mark to take a 1-0 lead, which it remained until Hendricks got an escape with 55 seconds left in the third period to tie it at 1-1 and force overtime.
In Sudden Victory Overtime-1, eventual fourth-place finisher Hendricks recorded a takedown 26 seconds in to win 3-1 and eliminate Stuttgen, as he finished 2-2 in his first state appearance.
Ranked 14th at 220, Rohde (31-15) opened with an 11-4 win over ninth-ranked senior Wyatt Hayes of Burlington (28-6) Thursday morning.
That sent Rohde to the State Quarterfinals Thursday night, where he was pinned by top-ranked senior and eventual State Champion Jacob Somlai of Brookfield Central (48-0) in 1:19.
Rohde went on to wrestlebacks Friday morning against 12th-ranked junior Keith Tourtilott of Shawano (34-8, where he rallied from a 4-0 second-period deficit to pull within 4-3 on an escape with 1:05 left in the third period.
However, Rohde was unable to get a takedown the rest of the way and was eliminated with a 4-3 loss, as he finished 1-2 in his first trip to state.
The 14th-ranked wrestler at 132, Schierl (22-11) opened with an 11-4 loss to fourth-ranked sophomore and eventual third-place finisher Connor Thorpe of Brookfield East (41-5) Thursday morning.
Schierl then lost by a 13-1 major-decision to eighth-ranked ranked junior Jalin Conner of Milwaukee Bradley (40-6) Friday morning, to end his first appearance at state.