All four Somerset wrestlers are placewinners at WIAA state meetThe four Somerset standout wrestlers have been working toward collective success all season, so it’s fitting that all four were able to get their turn on the awards podium at the 2012 WIAA State Wrestling Championships.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
The four Somerset standout wrestlers have been working toward collective success all season, so it’s fitting that all four were able to get their turn on the awards podium at the 2012 WIAA State Wrestling Championships.
Somerset junior Gabe Flandrick was the runner-up in a history-making 138-pound Division 2 weight class. Spartan senior Haydon Dvorak took third place at 182 pounds. Junior Bobby LeRoy finished in fifth place and senior Austin Bushinger was a sixth place finisher.
Flandrick’s mission for two years has been to measure himself against Cuba City Jared Donar. That’s a pretty lofty expectation, considering Donar has never lost in his high school career. Donar became the 13th four-time state champion in WIAA wrestling history when he defeated Flandrick 3-0 in Saturday’s championship match. Donar finishes his career with a 169-0 high school record, the third wrestler in WIAA history to complete an undefeated career. Donar will next compete for the University of Minnesota.
Flandrick gave Donar everything he could handle in the finals. Both wrestlers used conservative approaches, which resulted in the first period being scoreless. Donar had the choice for the second period and took the down position, but Flandrick gave him the escape point and the two wrestled from their feet throughout the second period.
It was Flandrick’s choice for the third period. He again elected to wrestle from their feet. Flandrick tried several moves, but was blocked each time. In the final five seconds Flandrick made one more desperate attempt at a takedown, but Donar countered, getting the takedown as time expired.
Somerset coach Mitch Flandrick said his son’s strength is wrestling from the feet, which is why they continued to select that position. He said Donar is also strong from either position on the mat that the Spartans didn’t want to give him any chance at a big move.
“Donar’s been crushing everybody he faced this year,” Coach Flandrick said.
Last year Flandrick hoped to meet Donar in the state finals, but Flandrick was defeated in the semifinals. This year, he got the chance he was after.
“He just wanted a shot. He proved he can wrestle with the best wrestlers in the state,” Coach Flandrick said.
Flandrick has now placed fourth, third and second in his three years at the state tournament.
Flandrick had a challenging road to the state finals. He opened the state meet with a 6-1 win over Dodgeville’s Jasper Meeker. In the quarterfinals Flandrick faced Stetson McCulley of Valders, who Flandrick beat at state each of the past two years by 4-2 scores. Flandrick beat McCulley again, and again by a 4-2 score.
That moved Flandrick into the semifinals against Seymour’s Alex Schramm, who beat Flandrick last year. The match was tied 6-6 until the final 20 seconds, when Flandrick got an escape. Schramm quickly tried for a takedown, but Flandrick countered, turning it into a five-point move that made the final score 12-6.
While Flandrick reached the state finals for the first time, Dvorak was denied in his attempt to return to the finals.
Dvorak was able to control his opening match, beating Waupun’s Brady Huenink 5-2. In the semifinals Dvorak ran up against Chilton junior Austin Heuphner. The score was 2-2 late in the first period, when Huephner caught Dvorak in a granby move, scoring four points.
Dvorak was able to get three back points in the second period. In the third period Dvorak couldn’t get out from under Huephner. He tried several sit-outs. In the final seconds Huephner was able to catch Dvorak’s arm as he tried to scramble out, turning it into an arm bar and a pin at the 5:56 mark.
Coach Flandrick said Dvorak was incredibly disappointed over the loss. He took it out on his opponents on Saturday. In the wrestlebacks Dvorak pinned St. Croix Falls sophomore Joe Rademacher in the first period.
That put Dvorak in the third place match against Delavan-Darien’s Marcus Hudson, who was undefeated coming into the state tournament. Dvorak dominated again, rolling up a big lead before scoring the pin in 3:38.
Dvorak finishes his career with a 131-32 record. His wins total is the largest in Somerset wrestling history.
The Spartan coaches joked about putting LeRoy in a bubble the week before next year’s state tournament. That’s because for the second straight year, he was ill the week of the state tournament. Despite being ill, he was still able to place fifth this year.
LeRoy opened the tournament with a 9-6 win over Sparta’s Brock Polhamus. In the semifinals LeRoy faced Ryan Costello of Campbellsport, who beat LeRoy at state last year. Just like last year, LeRoy got a lead against Costello. And just like last year, Costello was able to throw LeRoy, getting the pin in 1:48. Costello would go on to take third place.
LeRoy opened the wrestlebacks with a 10-7 win over Adam Neihaus of Belmont-Platteville, but he lost 6-4 to Spencer Davies in the next round. In the fifth place match, LeRoy won in overtime, beating Alex Fitzgerald of Sheboygan Falls 34-14.
Bushinger was the only first-time state competitor among the four Spartans and he might have been feeling extra pressure. He needed to win his opening match to get to the 100-win mark for his career. He was able to do that, beating Southern Door’s Nolan Wagner 3-2.
In the quarterfinals Bushinger ran up against defending state champion Lucas Lambrecht of Sheboygan Falls. Lambrecht scored a pin in 3:32, on his way to his second state championship.
Bushinger won his first match in the wrestlebacks, topping Austen Vosters of Freedom 7-4. Bushinger then had to face Osceola sectional champion Damien Luchterhand of Neillsville. Bushinger put up a big effort, but fell short 4-2. That moved Bushinger to the fifth place match. Bushinger trailed by one point late in the match. As he tried to score, he was caught and turned to his back for a pin.
Bushinger completes his Spartan career with a 101-38 record.
MBC team success
Ellsworth and Somerset combined to give the Middle Border Conference a rare achievement at the state tournament. Ellsworth ranked third in the Division 2 team scoring and Somerset ranked fourth. Ellsworth scored 70 team points and Somerset 47 points. There were 54 Division 2 teams that scored points in the state tournament.