By Paul Lecker
MERRILL — For the third year in a row, the Marshfield Middle School wrestling team won the Central Wisconsin Conference championship.
Marshfield racked up 201.5 points at the 23-team tournament at Merrill High School on Friday. Stevens Point was second with 174, and Stratford took third with 159.5 points.
The Central Wisconsin Conference combines 23 teams from four different area conferences.
Vaughn Kolbeck, Marcus Solt, C.J. Dennee, Jaiger Halvorson, and Lukas Barth took first place in the mini-tournament, which did not count toward the team points total, and Keagan Cliver and Kavin Barenek were champions in the big tournament for Marshfield.
Cliver beat Isaac Bixby of Rhinelander 11-5 to win the 84-pound championship for Marshfield and finished the season with a 25-4 record.
Beranek (20-4) won the 210-pound title by pinning James Kluck of Stevens Point in 43 seconds in the championship match.
“Merrill is a tough tournament every year with several talented area teams competing, and this year it took a complete team effort to bring home our third consecutive conference championship,” Marshfield coach Jacob Rebhan said. “While we only had two champions out of the 17 weight classes, we placed 12 out of our 14 wrestlers as our kids battled in every match. To not only win but to win three conference championships in a row is a phenomenal achievement, and I can’t stress enough what an excellent job my assistant coaches have done as they put in a lot of time and effort to help our kids achieve their goals.”
Second-place finishers for Marshfield included Kolton Carlson, Brett Franklin, Cody Weix, Alex Westlund, Ryken Kolbeck, Mason Peckham, Will Vanderwyst, Gabe Pugh, and Garrett Willuweit.
Taking third for the Tigers were Trey Montalvo, Logan Mueller, Dane Tollefson, Westin Happe, Phil Bakke, Hoyt Blaskowski, and Ryan Dolezal.
“At the middle school level, we focus on doing things the right way, and our four core values of integrity, resiliency, accountability, and respect are the building blocks on which our team is built,” Rebhan said. “Our kids have given great effort, improved every day, and stayed positive all season long.
“We have a chain that we bring to each practice and competition to remind us of the strong bonds that our group has, and our kids have really bought into this concept as they go out and compete for one another in each match. Our goal when we are wrestling is to put on a show, and we wrestle with an attacking, physical style while scoring a lot of points.”