Saint Croix Central's Ryan Larson is a returning state champ and will participate in the Northern Badger Wrestling Classic this weekend
The holidays may be coming to a close, but for high school wrestling fans in the state of Wisconsin the fun is just beginning.
Holiday tournament season will be in full swing this weekend. Below is a preview of five of the premier events.
This collection of tournaments features 29 of the 36 ranked teams in the state as well as 35 of the 42 No. 1 wrestlers.
Note: All rankings are based on the Dec. 19, 2018 Wisconsin Wrestling Online Rankings unless otherwise noted.
Bi-State Classic (La Crosse)
Ranked teams (12): Stoughton (No. 1, D1); Holmen (No. 2, D1); Marshfield (No. 7, D1); Pulaski (No. 8, D1); Waunakee (No. 10, D1); Middleton (No. 12, D1); Luxemburg-Casco (No. 3, D2); Prairie du Chien (No. 5 D2); GET/Melrose-Mindoro (No. 6, D2); Lodi (No. 8, D2); Stratford (No. 1, D3); Lancaster (No. 5, D3)
No. 1 wrestlers (13): Cole Gille, Pulaski (D1, 126); Braeden Whitehead, Stoughton (D1, 132); Hunter Lewis, Stoughton (D1, 138); Sam Mitchell, Marshfield (D1, 195); Cale Anderson, Viroqua (D1, 106); Julian Purney, GET/Melrose-Mindoro (D2, 132); Bryce Bosman, Luxemburg-Casco (D2, 138); Reece Worachek, Luxemburg-Casco (D2, 170); Shane Liegel, River Valley (D2, 182); Logan Zschernitz, Spencer/Columbus Catholic (D2, 285); Remington Bontreger, Lancaster (D3, 106); Drew Hennessey, Iowa-Grant/Highland (D3, 220); Dylan Schoenherr, Stratford (D3, 285)
Notes: One of the state’s largest and most formidable tournaments continues to grow.
This year’s event features the largest field of teams in any non-state tournament event this season. Nearly one-third of all ranked teams and No. 1 wrestlers in Wisconsin are scheduled to compete.
Half the ranked squads in Division 1 will be in attendance, including No. 1 Stoughton. D3 No. 1 Stratford also highlights the heavy-hitting field.
In addition to the strong Wisconsin contingent, the Bi-State Classic features three teams that are ranked in Minnesota. New Prague and Stillwater are ranked sixth and eighth respectively in Class AAA by The Guillotine, while Zumbrota-Mazeppa is ranked No. 7 in Class A.
Thirteen No. 1 wrestlers is the highest total at any tournament on the docket this weekend.
Lourdes OTW Wrestling Classic (Oshkosh)
Ranked teams (4): Slinger (No. 9, D1); Coleman (No. 2, D3); Random Lake (No. 6, D3); Mineral Point (No. 9, D3)
No. 1 wrestlers (6): Justin Groshek, Stevens Point (D1, 113); Eric Barnett, Hortonville (D1, 120); Dajun Johnson, Whitefish Bay/University School (D1, 160); Koltin Grzybowski, Coleman (D3, 113); Chad Moegenburg, Wittenberg-Birnamwood (D3, 120); Caleb Gross, Coleman (D3, 132)
Andrew (IL) captured the team crown a year ago. The Thunderbolts had a pair of individual champions and were the only team with more than one champ.
Coleman, last year’s runner-up, will try to unseat them at this massive event.
Both the 113 and 120 pound weight classes have the potential to feature a matchup of No. 1 wrestlers later in the weekend.
There will be plenty of new faces at the top of the podium this year as only six of the 2017 champions are scheduled to be back.
Mid-States Wrestling Classic (Whitewater)
Ranked teams (4): Wrightstown (No. 2, D2); Kewaskum (No. 10, D2); Weyauwega-Fremont (No. 4, D3); Cedar Grove-Belgium (No. 10, D3)
No. 1 wrestlers (5): Daniel Stilling, Elkhorn (D1, 145); Jacob Somlai, Brookfield Central (D1, 220); Keeanu Benton, Janesville Craig (D1, 285); Cian Fischer, Weyauwega-Fremont (D3, 126); Justin Kempf, Weyauwega-Fremont (D3, 138)
Notes: This was another event won by an Illinois school last season. Warren Township topped the team race in 2017. The Blue Devils crowned three individual champions en route to edging Appleton North for the team title.
Wrightstown and Weyauwega-Fremont will be the top challengers from the Badger State at this year’s event.
Weyauwega-Fremont placed seven wrestlers here in 2017 and all of them are returning.
Wrightstown did not participate in last year’s event. However, the No. 2 team in Division 2 currently boasts eight ranked wrestlers.
Northern Exposure (Merrill)
Ranked teams (4): Kaukauna (No. 4, D1); Mukwonago (No. 5, D1); Wisconsin Rapids (No. 6, D1); Two Rivers (No. 9, D2)
No. 1 wrestlers (3): Bryson Alsteen, Kaukauna (D1, 182); Tommy Larson, East Troy (D2, 113); Joey Bianchi, Two Rivers (D2, 152)
Notes: The lone dual tournament on this list gains some intrigue with additions of Kaukauna, Mukwonago and Wisconsin Rapids.
With all four of last year’s top teams returning, there is the potential for some fireworks.
Northern Badger Wrestling Classic (River Falls)
Ranked teams (5): Oshkosh West (No. 11, D1); Osceola (No. 11, D2); Saint Croix Falls (No. 7, D3); Cumberland (No. 11, D3); Cadott (No. 12, D3)
No. 1 wrestlers (8): Alec Hunter, Oshkosh West (D1, 106); Jacek Nickowski, Baldwin-Woodville (D2, 126); Ryan Larson, Saint Croix Central (D2, 195); Joshua Carroll, Spooner/Webster (D2, 220); Reid Olson, Cumberland (D3, 145); Brock Schlough, Boyceville, (D3, 152); Brady Spaeth, Cadott, (D3, 160); James Pfeiffer, Cadott (D3, 170)
Notes: When it comes to number of teams, this is one of the smaller tournaments on the holiday slate. However, Northern Badger features the second-highest collection of top-ranked wrestlers among this weekend’s events.
All three of last year’s divisional team champions are returning (River Falls, Saint Croix Falls, and Boyceville) along with six of the 2017 individual champs.