The talent is there.
Now the Cadott wrestling team is eager, fresh off three top-three finishes at last year’s Division 3 state tournament with a growing nucleus of young talent to make an impression on the prep wrestling scene.
“We have a tight-knit team that is determined to make its name in the conference as well as in the entire state,” Cadott coach Josh Spaeth said. “These athletes have been competing together for many years and support each other on and off the mat. We have athletes that have a lot of experience at the state level and national level. We hope their past experiences and determination will transcend into success this season.”
Senior Andrew Gunderson finished third at state at 126 pounds a season ago, as did sophomore Brady Spaeth at 138 pounds. Junior James Pfeiffer was second at 152 pounds, falling in the state championship match to Stratford’s Mason Kauffman.
Returners Shane Chady (106), Chase Schultz (120), Zak Schofield (132), Bennett Bowe (170), Josh Briggs (182) and CJ Spath (220) also were a part of the Hornets team that tied for second at the Cloverbelt Conference meet from a season ago and along with returning senior Bennett Bowe and others give the team a core that is aiming higher this season, both in the conference and in the always tough postseason.
“We have a positive outlook and high expectations for this young team,” coach Spaeth said. “We have a great group of wrestlers who have set high goals for themselves. These kids truly want to get better each and every week.”
Cadott returns to action on Thusrday with a home dual against Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal and hosts its annual invitational on Jan. 6.
Orioles shooting for competitive season
Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee loses experience but also brings back a number of talented grapplers that should have the Orioles once again a contender in the Cloverbelt Conference.
Senior Dalton Smith advanced to state a season ago and after a 33-10 campaign as a junior could be in line for bigger things this year. Senior Ben Turner advanced to sectionals and finished with a 26-17 record in his first full season on the varsity mat. Sophomore Dustin Bergman won 27 matches during a successful freshman season for the Orioles.
“I think we can do well in the conference this season,” Stanley-Boyd-Owen-Withee coach Greg Burzynski said. “We will be close to having a full team. The key is staying healthy and improving every single day. We have had a couple of weeks of practice and the boys have really been working hard.
“If they continue to put this kind of effort in all season, who knows what they can accomplish. We also need to get guys to spread out. There are a couple of weight classes where we have very talented kids. We just have to find a place for each of them.”
Sam Burzynski and Eric Hoffstatter lead a large group of wrestlers lost to graduation.
Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee returns to action on Thursday against Cornell/Gilman/Lake Holcombe in Gilman.
Wolfpack returns experiences in lighter weights
The Cornell/Gilman/Lake Holcombe wrestling team brings pack plenty of pop, especially with its lighter competitors for fifth-year coach Greg Sonnentag.
Sam Pickerign went 31-10 last season and fell one match away from state, taking third at sectionals. Zach Person was 33-8 as a junior and has earned All-Lakeland Conference accolades in each of the previous two seasons. Spencer Kraus (26-11) and Ethan Person (19-8) are each coming off solid freshman seasons while Bryce Nichols, Cooper Boehm and Robert Fasbender return as letterwinners from a season ago.
The team has no incoming freshmen on its roster but does have newcomers with the addition of Charlie Garrett and Indy Palmer to the lineup.
“We are short on numbers but have talent,” Sonnentag said of his team.
The team loses a pair of seniors that were big parts of the team with upperweights Takoda Lee and Matt Kostka, who finished third and fourth, respectively, at state a season ago.
State experience returns for Bloomer/Colfax
Bloomer/Colfax returns four letterwinners including a state qualifier from a season ago.
Mitch Harmon (26-10) advanced to state as a freshman a season ago for Bloomer/Colfax, falling in the opening round of the Division 2 state tournament at 132 pounds. He joins returners Sawyer Best and Ike Kramschuster and will pair with Julio Hernandez, Trey Hovde, Josh Zettlemeier and others to lead the way for the team this season.
Cole Olson and Collin Bungartz are among the top wrestlers from a season ago for Bloomer/Colfax that have graduated.
Bloomer/Colfax is back in action on Thursday at Ladysmith.