Marcus Malecek's sterling season ends with silver medal for St. Croix Central wrestlingMarcus Malecek completed one of the finest seasons in St. Croix Central wrestling history by earning second place in the 220-pound bracket of the WIAA Division 2 state championship match at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday.
By: Dave Newman, New Richmond News
Marcus Malecek completed one of the finest seasons in St. Croix Central wrestling history by earning second place in the 220-pound bracket of the WIAA Division 2 state championship match at the Kohl Center in Madison on Saturday.
Malecek finishes the season with a 47-1 record. His only loss came in the state championship match, against defending state champion Riley Delzer of Oconto Falls.
Central was also represented at state by Lauden Wood, Adam Lewis, Cody Nyhagen and Kyle Aaby.
Malecek won two close matches to reach the championship match. His opening opponent was Tyler Burrows of Adams-Friendship, who took fifth place in the bracket. Malecek got an early lead and stayed in control for a 3-0 win.
In the semifinals Malecek faced Luxemburg-Casco sophomore Luke Destiche. L-C had tremendous team success at the state meet, but this is one they didn’t get. Destiche did his best to stay away from Malecek, and after six minutes, the match was tied at 1-1. If Malecek was frustrated from trying to take the action to Destiche, he didn’t show it. In the overtime Malecek was finally able to get Destiche to push into him. Malecek pulled Destiche toward him, then used a slide-by move to get the winning takedown. The slide-by move has served Malecek well in his career.
Destiche would go on to finish in third place.
There were a number of highly anticipated matches in the Division 2 finals. Malecek’s bid to take away the state title from Delzer was certainly one of them. Both wrestlers took a cautious tact in the first period, which was scoreless. Malecek started the second period in the down position and was able to score the first points of the match on a reversal. Moments later, Delzer made the pivotal move of the match. He was able to catch Malecek in a granby move, putting him to his back for five points. Delzer stayed locked into that position for the rest of the period.
Delzer started the third period in the down position. Shortly into the period, Malecek cut him loose. Malecek went on the attack, but Delzer countered every try. On one of those tries, Delzer was able to counter and take down Malecek. He added two back points in the final seconds.
Here’s an amazing fact about Malecek’s season. The takedown scored by Delzer in the third period was the first time that Malecek had been taken down this season.
Wood and Lewis, the two other Panther seniors at state, each scored one win in their bracket. Wood was wrestling some mammoth 285-pounders and in his opening match he was able to achieve one of the most heart-pounding finishes of the tournament. Wood was facing George White Wing, a huge opponent from Wittenberg-Birnamwood. Wood went into the third period trailing 5-2. Midway through the period Wood was able to work out from underneath for an escape. Wood kept trying to get at White Wing’s legs. His persistence paid off, getting a late takedown. Wood used his quickness to crank White Wing to his back in the final seconds. Everyone waited to see whether the official would award back points. When the official signaled two points, Wood exalted while White Wing crumpled into the mat.
As Wood exited the mat, he was greeted by his four teammates streaming out of the stands.
In the quarterfinals Wood lost to 2011 state placewinner Garett Cary of Big Foot-Williams Bay 3-2. In the wrestlebacks Wood lost to Richland Center senior Logan Schmidt 4-1. Schmidt would finish third among the state heavyweights and Cary took fourth place.
Lewis earned his 40th win of the season in his opening round match against Delavan-Darien senior Austin Schwarz 2-0. In the semifinals Lewis ran up against eventual state champion Zach Sirny of Wild Rose. Sirny was pinned late in the first period.
In the wrestlebacks Lewis was decisioned by Drew Wheeler of St. Croix Falls 5-0.
Central junior Cody Nyhagen was a sectional champion, but he ran into two tough customers at state. His opening opponent was Jackson Fox of Wrightstown. Fox won 6-1, then went on to win the state championship. In the wrestlebacks Nyhagen lost 4-3 to Marshall’s Thurston Schuster. Schuster would go on to take fourth place.
Aaby only got one match at state. He was defeated in the opening round of the 182-pound bracket by Luxemburg-Casco’s Jordan Pardowsky 7-1.
Central coach Brad Holzer said the Panthers didn’t have good luck in the bracketing at state. He gave the opinion that if Wood, Lewis or Nyhagen had been in the opposite side of their bracket, “they all would have placed.”