Tigers have five others in consolation brackets, 10 total that will earn state medals
By Paul Lecker
MADISON — Stratford had 11 athletes qualify for the 2017 WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament. Ten made it to the quarterfinals, eight into the semifinals, and on Saturday the Tigers will have five in the Division 3 finals after a busy day of wrestling Friday at the Kohl Center.
A.J. Schoenfuss (120 pounds), Jeremy Schoenherr (138), and Kamren Bornbach (220) will be going for their third-straight D-3 state titles after dominating wins in the semifinals Friday night.
Mason Kauffman (152), a champion in 2015, also reached Saturday’s finals, as did freshman Manny Drexler at 106 pounds.
The five Tigers will look to add to Stratford’s all-time total of 15 state titles on Saturday night. The Parade of Champions begins at 5 p.m. with 14 weight class title matches in three divisions beginning soon after.
Stratford came awfully close to getting all eight of its semifinalists into the finals.
David Marquardt lost a tight 10-7 decision to Brock Schlough (42-1) of Boyceville at 160 pounds, Aiden Hoffman took Tory Jandrin (41-4) of Southern Door to overtime before losing 3-1 at 195, and defending 285-pound state champion Tyson Kauffman lost a narrow 1-0 decision to Marawood Conference-rival Tyson Sommer (43-4) of Athens.
Marquardt (36-5), Hoffman (36-10), and Tyson Kauffman (14-6) will wrestle in consolation semifinals Saturday morning. The winners will wrestle for third place and the losers for fifth.
“You’re excited and ecstatic for the guys that make it,” Stratford coach Joe Schwabe said. “But I guess I always wear my heart on my sleeve for the guys who don’t make it. We lost an overtime match, a one-point match, had some close matches. All of the kids wrestled their hardest, wrestled their hearts out, and that’s wrestling. That’s sports.”
Drexler dominated Javyn Freeman (32-8) of Phillips in a 106-pound semifinal with a 15-4 major decision.
Schoenfuss (34-5) took the mat soon after that and wasted little time in dispatching of Andrew Rothering (29-9) of Cochrane-Fountain City, earning a pin in just 51 seconds.
Schoenherr (16-0) beat Brady Spaeth (36-4) of Cadott 3-0, although he was never threatened. After a scoreless first period, Schoenherr started the second in the down position and earned an escape and takedown for the match’s only points.
Mason Kauffman (31-0) won his 129th-straight match over the past three seasons with a tight 2-1 win over Max Maylor (44-2) of Iowa-Grant/Highland.
Kauffman earned an escape 13 seconds into the third period to break a 1-1 tie and nearly gave up a takedown only to be saved by the boundary. Kauffman was able to hold off Maylor’s attempts in the final seconds to preserve the win.
Bornbach, winner of the past two D-3 182-pound titles, crushed Matt Kostka of Cornell/Gilman/Lake Holcombe, earning four takedowns on his way to a 9-1 major decision at 220 pounds.
“We’re pretty ecstatic that 10 of our guys are going to medal,” Schwabe said. “State champions get beat every year. How many got beat already this year? As a (past) state champion, you aren’t guaranteed to get anywhere. We know that. The kids know that.
“We don’t talk about state title. We just talk about doing your best and wrestling hard, but you get nervous for these young guys. Losing those close ones are hard and makes me not sleep very well, and my hair goes grayer. You are just happy for those guys that do make it, and we’ll keep it going and see what happens Saturday.”
Stratford’s Derek Marten (126) and Jake Drexler (138) lost quarterfinal matches but came back with consolation round matches later Friday and will earn a medal.
Marten (37-5) beat Kewaunee’s Cam Haanrahan 6-0, and Jake Drexler (41-3) pinned River Pawelski of Southern Door in 2:31 to stay alive in the tournament’s consolation bracket. The two will join the Tigers’ three semifinal losers in consolation semifinals Saturday morning.
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)