The Lakeland wrestling team competed in two meets in three days as they returned to the mat for the first time in 2020.
First, they lost in a dual conference meet to Antigo 41-23 on Thursday, Jan. 9.
Then, they traveled to Merrill for the Bluejay Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 10. They finished 12th with 161.5 points.
“Probably not as good as we wanted it to,” coach Adam Bremer said. “Overall there were some really good things and too many mistakes — got beat by the same move too many times.”
In the 120 class, Brady Abb defeated Seth Beaber by a technical fall 16-0 victory in 5:43. He gained the Thunderbirds five points.
“Brady Abb had a really good start for us,” Bremer said.
Sawyer Duir also gained the Thunderbirds five points. He defeated Christopher Mackey in the 113 class by technical fall 21-4 in 4:00.
“We moved Sawyer Duir up to 113 to wrestle Antigo’s (Mackey) and Sawyer Duir dominated his match,” Bremer said.
Another win for the Thunderbirds came from Harry Nemcek in the 126 class. He earned the team four points with his 11-2 major decision victory over Conner Dettman.
“Harry and the wrestler from Antigo have had several battles the last couple years,” Bremer said. “Harry wrestled a dominant match, wrestled in control and continued what he did at the Northern Badger.”
Jason Hilgart picked up another victory in the 145 class, giving the Thunderbirds three points. He won by a 10-4 decision over Jaden Schoeneck.
“Jason Hilgart had a back and forth match, wrestled incredibly sharp,” Bremer said. “He just had a determination to win. The senior captain came through and got a rock solid win.”
The other six points came when Henry Evenhouse won by forfeit in the 195 class.
There could have been a few Lakeland wins that ended up being huge swings in the dual.
First, Worrin Burgess of the 170 class got pinned in overtime to Gideon Sass. It looked like Burgess would win, but instead it turned into a pin for Sass and a nine point swing.
“(Worrin) ended up getting pinned so it easily could have been a win for us instead of a pin for them,” Bremer said. “Credit to (Sass) for winning.”
Another big swing came in Brady Edwards’ match against Robby Hagerty in the 160 class. It looked like it would be a win for the Thunderbirds, but instead went for a victory for Hagerty and Antigo.
“Brady Edwards lost the last 10 seconds of the match for another six point swing,” Bremer said.
“The Bluejay Challenge was a great tournament — there are a lot of team involved in the tournament,” Bremer said. “To have a tournament that size and to hold it in one day is a great opportunity for our wrestlers. Regardless of your ability level, the competition is comparable to where you are.”
Hilgart was the top finisher for the Thunderbirds in the 145 class. He finished second and scored 38 team points. In the championship bracket, Hilgart defeat Boyceville’s Nate Stuart by a 8-4 decision. He then lost in the championship game to Wittenberg-Birnamwood’s Wyatt Esker by major decision.
“The wrestler he faced in the finals — we didn’t quite have the result we were looking for,” Bremer said. “The mistakes made in that final match are correctable, but again looking for consistency. We have to find a way to score and keep ourselves in position to have that match come down to a point or two at the end.”
Nemcek finished third and scored 34.5 points in the 120 class. In the third place match, Nemcek ended with a victory, defeating Adams-Friendship’s Jordan Dolata by a 20-9 major decision.
“Harry struggled a little in his semifinal match,” Bremer said. “Harry rebounded well in a dominant performance in the third place match.”
Duir finished fourth and scored 33 team points in the 106 class. To advance to the championship bracket, he defeated Bryce Bunting of Amherst by a pin in 1:28. In the third place match, Duir got pinned by Gabriel Galang of Wausau West in 4:56.
“Sawyer Duir finished fourth and had a really solid tourney,” Bremer said.
The Thunderbirds return to the mat Thursday, Jan. 16 at the Lakeland fieldhouse against Rhinelander starting at 7 p.m.
Brett LaBore may be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]