MADISON, Wis. (WSAW)- All it takes is one more win to be put in Wisconsin lore. Eleven Central Wisconsin wrestlers were looking to grab that fame.
Medford's Jake Rau wrestling with Antigo's Nick Roller at the state tournament in Madison, Wisconsin, on February 29, 2020. (WSAW)
Those eleven took the “Walk of Champions” around the mat.
Our first Central Wisconsin wrestler is Justin Groshek of SPASH. The senior could not be stopped. He posted a multitude of two-point takedowns on his way to a 10-2 major decision. His first state title comes after finishing second two years ago and third last year.
“It was a rough journey,” said Groshek. “I knew what I had to do to come back here, and I’m just glad I got the opportunity, and I wasn’t hurt.”
Let’s switch to Division 2. At 120, Blaine Brenner of Stanley-Boyd/Owen-Withee is going back-to-back. This time he’s undefeated. 45-0. He seals the 7-4 decision.
“I mean I expected it, and I worked hard for it in the off-season,” said Brenner. “There is no reason if you put in the work, it can’t be won. (I) really kind of tuned in on myself mentally just to keep everything consistent before my match.”
Jake Rau is back atop the podium at 220. The Medford senior worked hard for the fall in 5:38. The senior says all the extra workouts paid off, but he also realizes the journey has come to an end.
“Happy,” said Rau. “Sad that high school is over. All these people I have wrestled since I was three years old, it’s done. Those are kids that grew up in my household, and I grew up in theirs, and now, I’m just not gonna see them like I used to.”
Per usual, Division 3 was the bread and butter in Central Wisconsin.
At 126, Sratford’s Gavin Drexler finishes a perfect 50-0. Drexler tops off his sophomore season the right way. He sticks his opponent in 4:43.
“It was great getting redemption this year and staying focused throughout this season and never really being satisfied with being No. 1,” said Drexler. “I think that’s helped me stay focused the entire season knowing that anything is possible to happen.”
Let’s check-in on weight-class 195. Stratford’s Trevor Dennee looks like a force. He snares the three-point near fall and the 9-4 decision. A magical way to end his senior season.
“From the one state title to two, it just kind of shows you what type of wrestler you are,” said Dennee. “All year working hard every night at practice with teammates, coaches. My ultimate goal this season is to win team state because you gotta set your goals higher than the previous year.”
Finally at 220, Edgar’s Ethan Heil has redemption. The senior finished second last year. This year he wins a state title by sticking his opponent in 1:38. A moment he dedicates to his father who won a state title 30 years ago.
“It’s awesome,” said Heil. “He’s the one who set the bar as being a state champion. Me being able to accomplish it in the same fashion as he did and doing it my senior year undefeated, it’s just truly amazing.”
The night wraps up with six Central Wisconsin wrestlers going home with a title to their name. Congratulations to the half-dozen champions.