EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – UW-Whitewater defended its title in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Wrestling Championship with a pair of victories Sunday. Using the team dual meet format for the first time, Whitewater defeated UW-Platteville 42-7 in a semifinal match and UW-La Crosse 23-10 in the title match. Whitewater was the last team to win a title in the old weight class bracketed tourney, in 2012, and the first to win in the bracketed team format.
After receiving a first-round bye, top-seeded and fourth-ranked Whitewater, which went 5-0 in WIAC duals this season, began defense of its championship in the second round against Platteville, which earned a hard-fought 23-22 victory against UW-Oshkosh in the opening round. Whitewater went 8-2 in the 10 bouts. Five of the eight wins were by pin, one by technical fall, one by major decision, with one decision.
The Pioneers took the lead with a win at 125 pounds. Platteville’s Cole Ferguson shut out Joe Meylor, scoring two points in the first period, adding four in the second and closing with five more in the third for a 9-0 win.
Grant Sutter put Whitewater on the board with an 11-6 win against Mason Bohm at 133 pounds. Sutter led a high-scoring first period 6-4, then added an escape and a two-point nearfall in the second for an 11-4 lead. Platteville’s team lead was 4-3.
At 141 pounds, Whitewater’s Jake Fredrickson and Platteville’s Tyler Henken fought a scoreless first. An escape from the bottom position and takedown put Fredrickson ahead 3-0 after two. He added two penalty points from Henken for stalling, a two-point nearfall and riding time to close out an 8-0 win. Whitewater took the lead 7-4.
Elroy Perkin almost doubled Whitewater’s point total with a quick pin of Brad Blechschmidt at 149 pounds. Perkin scored a takedown and turned that into a pin at 1:25 to put UW-W in front 13-4.
Whitewater’s Kegan Arthur almost pinned Mike Uliana in the first period, scoring five points, including a three-point nearfall. Arthur added six more points in the second, among the points another three-point nearfall. It was 4-0 in the third, with a two-point nearfall, as Arthur won by technical fall 15-0 at 6:06, and Whitewater’s lead increased to 18-4.
Tyler Becker had a 2-1 lead in the first period when he pinned Peter Crocco of Platteville at 165 pounds, ending the match in 1:46, adding six points to the Whitewater lead, 24-4.
At 174 pounds, Whitewater’s Andrew Pettit closed the match even earlier, pinning Randy Wade in 0:54. It was Pettit’s third pin in 37 matches this season, and Whitewater’s lead increased to 30-4.
Roland Dunlap and Dylan DeShane exchanged takedowns and escapes in the first period, with Whitewater’s Dunlap leading 4-2 after one. Dunlap escaped from the bottom in the second period, scored a takedown, then finished the match with a pin at 3:38 to up the Warhawks’ margin to 36-4.
Platteville broke the streak with Abe Graziano’s 3-1 win against Justin Birschbach at 197 pounds. Graziano led 2-1 after one period and made that lead stand up through a scoreless second. He added another point on an escape from the bottom position for the win. Whitewater led 36-7.
Anthony Edgren added another pin for Whitewater at 285 pounds. Edgren, who had piled up a 9-2 lead in a little more of a minute of action, recorded the fall against Cody Soderstrom at 1:09 to finish off the dual and move on to the title match against No. 2 seed and fifth-ranked La Crosse, which beat UW-Stevens Point 22-12 in the other semifinal.
La Crosse got on the scoreboard first with a win at 125 pounds. The Eagles’ Izzy Balsiger played cat and mouse with Meylor in the first period, with Balsiger recording three takedowns and Meylor three escapes for a 6-3 lead after one period. It was two of each in the second, plus a penalty point for Balsiger, for a 10-5 lead after two periods. Balsiger added nine points, including three takedowns, for a 19-7 win. La Crosse opened with a 4-0 lead before Sutter closed the gap for Whitewater with a 6-3 win versus James Bennett at 133 pounds. Sutter led 2-0 after one and 2-1 after two, then added an escape, takedown and riding time for the win. La Crosse led 4-3.
At 141 pounds, Whitewater’s Corey Meyer and La Crosse’s Adam Sheley hooked in wrestling’s version of a pitcher’s duel. There was no score after one period, and Sheley’s escape from the bottom position was the only point of the second. Meyer put up a point with an escape in the third to tie the match 1-1, but Sheley won the bout with a takedown with 0:37 left in the third as La Crosse upped it’s lead to 7-3. Meyer came into the match with a 17-12 record, with all of those coming at 133 pounds.
If 141 pounds was a pitcher’s duel, then 149 was a Cy Young matchup. Perkin of Whitewater and RJ Dilcher of La Crosse went through the first three minutes without scoring a point. Perkin managed a point with an escape at 1:03 of the second, and then neither scored a point on the mat in the third, with Perkin adding a point with riding time for the 2-0 win. One point separated the teams, La Crosse 7, Whitewater 6.
Whitewater took a 9-7 lead at the halfway point with Cade Sarbacker’s 3-1 win against JR Lewis at 157 pounds. Like the earlier matches, the first period was scoreless. Lewis scored first with an escape from the down position, but Sarbacker scored a takedown with six seconds left in period two for a 2-1 lead. Sarbacker ended the scoring with an escape from the bottom position in the third. Sarbacker has seen limited competition this year, entering this dual with a 7-0 mark.
Cedric Gibson increased Whitewater’s lead to 13-7 with a 16-6 major decision against Sean Huls at 165 pounds. Huls scored all of his points on escapes, which means that Gibson was scoring with lots of takedowns. It was 6-2 after one, with three takedowns and three escapes for the scoring. In the second, Gibson added three takedowns and Huls three escapes. In the third, Gibson added his seventh takedown of the match.
Kevin O’Brien brought La Crosse closer with a 5-3 win against Ryan Aprahamian at 174 pounds. O’Brien led 2-1 after the first three minutes, and Aprhamian tied it with an escape. O’Brien took the lead with an escape from the down position, then added a takedown while Aprahamian escaped to end the scoring. Whitewater was still in the lead, 13-10.
In just his ninth match of the season, all wins, Dunlap defeated Eric Twohey 5-1. Dunlap scored with two takedowns in the first and led 4-1, and escaped from the bottom position in the second for the final point of the match. The decision gave Whitewater a 16-10 lead.
Shane Siefert clinched the WIAC title for Whitewater with a 3-1 victory against Tony Piechowski at 197 pounds. Siefert led 2-0 on a takedown in the first. Piechowski escaped in the second to make it 2-1, and Siefert added one point for riding time for the final score that gave Whitewater an insurmountable 19-10 team lead.
Edgren wrapped up Whitewater’s win with an 8-0 victory against Cody Endres at 285 pounds. Edgren led 2-0 after one with a takedown, and extended that to 5-0 with an escape and takedown in the second. He added a two-point nearfall and riding time for the major decision.