By Paul Lecker
WAUSAU – Marshfield won its second-straight team title and had a program-record seven individual champions at the 2018 Wisconsin Valley Conference (WVC) Wrestling Tournament on Feb. 3 at Wausau East High School.
Behind 11 top-three finishes, the Tigers racked up 236.5 points to easily beat Wisconsin Rapids, which finished second with 190 points.
Marshfield, undefeated during the conference dual meet season, had not won a WVC title since 1958 prior to last season.
“It was an unbelieve day for each Tiger wrestler that competed today at the WVC tournament,” Marshfield coach Jackson Hein said. “To walk away from the tournament with seven individual champions is a statement. The results happened because our guys have worked hard and believed in themselves all season.”
Freshman Gabe Pugh (113 pounds); juniors Caden Pearce (138), Nolan Hertel (145), Bentley Schwanebeck-Ostermann (170) and Sam Mitchell (195); and seniors Alex Brost (220) and Connor Berry (285) won individual titles for the Tigers.
Schwanbeck-Ostermann earned his third-straight Valley title to improve to 32-2 this season with a pin of Bradley Leiskau of Merrill in 5:32.
Pearce knocked off Wyler Lubeck of Wisconsin Rapids, the fifth-ranked wrestler in the state at 138 pounds, with a thrilling overtime win by a score of 6-1.
“I’m so happy for Caden,” Hein said. “He has continued to wrestle better and better throughout the season. Lubeck is a very solid wrestler that doesn’t make mistakes, and we knew it was going to be a great match. We had a great game plan coming into the match and Caden wrestled extremely well to earn the title.”
Berry won the 285-pound title match over Travis Wraggs of Wausau West 3-1. It was Berry’s first career tournament victory.
“Connor works incredibly hard and is a great leader on the team,” Hein said. “I am proud to see him at the top of the podium as he is peaking at the right time and had a great tournament.”
Tanner Kanable (126) and Payton Young (152) each finished second, and Riley Wilcott (106) and Caden Dennee (126) both took third for Marshfield.
Marshfield will turn toward the WIAA postseason next when it competes at the Division 1 regional on Feb. 10 at Wisconsin Rapids. The Tigers will be looking for their second-straight regional title. The regional team champion will compete at the team sectional on Feb. 13 at Marshfield High School.