LeRoy, Neumann qualify for state wrestling
A pair of Somerset sophomores will be representing the Spartans at the 2004 WIAA State Wrestling Championships.
Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann both qualified for the 2004 state meet by finishing in third place in their weight classes at the WIAA Division 3 Somerset Sectional Tournament held Saturday.
LeRoy qualified for state at 112 pounds and Neumann advances at 189 pounds.
LeRoy beat two wrestlers who qualified for state last year to advance this year.
In his opening round match, LeRoy faced Chris Treumper of Park Falls, who reached state last year. LeRoy was the wrestler who made things happen in this match. He got a takedown in the opening period. He kept the pressure on during the next two periods, powering his way to a 7-2 win.
In the semifinals, LeRoy faced Arcadia's Keith Klink. LeRoy led 1-0 until giving up a five-point move in the final seconds of the second period. Klink was able to get in at LeRoy's legs two more times for takedowns in the third period, winning 10-2.
LeRoy then had to face Christian Greenwald of Cameron to try keeping his state hopes alive. LeRoy dominated this match, pinning Greenwald in the second period.
That put LeRoy into the third place match against Luck's Albie McKinney, who had placed second at state at 103 pounds last year. LeRoy went on the offensive right away, powering McKinney straight to his back. McKinney almost got away once, but LeRoy then worked in a double grape vine that stuck McKinney flat to the mat, getting his pin in 1:50 and securing his spot in the state tournament.
LeRoy then faced Boyceville's Luke Kersten for second place, but Kerseth was able to ride LeRoy for most of the match, winning 7-3.
Somerset coach Mike Kappers said LeRoy became more determined as the sectional went on.
"Tyler was in the mindset that he was going to state," Kappers said. "He's more mentally tough than any kid I've ever coached. Everyone in the practice room is bigger than him, but they all look up to him."
LeRoy was also wrestling in pain. In practice the previous Monday he dislocated his shoulder. He had to practice conservatively the rest of the week, but showed no signs of the injury once he took the mat on Saturday.
Neumann adds to tradition
After being beaten in his opening match at the sectional, Neumann took a long road to his state tournament berth.
Neumann lost to Jeremy Doro of Cornell/Gilman in his opening match. This match was tied 2-2 after two periods, but Doro was able to finish with an 8-4 win.
Neumann's chances to get a second match didn't look good because Doro had to face John Berlin of Shell Lake. But Doro was able to beat Berlin in the final seconds of the 189-pound semifinals, meaning Neumann had new life.
He wrestled with that energy too. Neumann faced Berlin in the wrestlebacks and Berlin quickly took a 5-0 lead. Neumann then got on top and Berlin was in trouble. Neumann got the legs in and turned Berlin twice before pinning him at 4:50.
"You could see something change, you could see he wasn't going to take it anymore," Kappers said about Neumann's response to falling behind 5-0 to Berlin.
Neumann then faced Jarod Faber of Cadott in the third place match. Neumann was now on a roll. He went out and controlled this match, beating Faber 19-9 to lock up his place in the state tournament.
Neumann becomes the fifth member of his family to qualify for state. His older brother, Andrew, was a state champion last year. His dad, Ted, reached the state semifinals. His uncle, Mark, the varsity coach at New Richmond, was a state champion in high school at St. Croix Central and his cousin, Josh, was a state champion at New Richmond.
Kappers said Justin did well at handling the pressure of the family legacy.
"When Justin wrestles his match, nobody can beat him," Kappers said. "When he gets those legs on you, it's like wrestling an anaconda."
Nash, Martell fall short
Senior Andy Nash fell just short in his attempts to reach state. Nash opened the 152-pound sectional bracket by beating Mondovi's Dave wright 7-4. Kappers said that Nash then seemed to put a great deal of pressure on himself. It showed in the semifinals against Shell Lake's Max Smith. Nash was behind 9-6 then tried a lateral drop, his best move. Only Smith was ready for the move, and caught Nash for five points in the final seconds of the match.
That put Nash in the wrestlebacks against Jake Dobson of Phillips. It was almost a carbon copy of the match against Smith. Nash was behind 9-6 and got caught while trying his lateral drop, giving up five points in the last minute of the match to lose 14-6.
Nash ends his senior season with a 26-12 record.
Ambrose Martell had terrible luck at 215 pounds. He was caught by Andrew Berlin of Shell Lake and was taken straight to his back where he was pinned.
Berlin was then upset by Clayton Nichols of Cornell/Gilman in the semifinals, meaning Martell's sectional was done after one match. He ends his junior season at 26-9.
Both Spartans have challenging draws at the state tournament. The Division 3 wrestling starts on Friday morning at 10 a.m. LeRoy draws Mo Malone of Amherst in the opening round. Malone was a state placewinner at 103 pounds last year.
Neumann will face Iowa-Grant senior Dustin Bollant in the opening round at 189 pounds. Bollant was also a state qualifier last year.