Wrestlers rack up the pins in Antigo
T-Birds finish third at John Roberts Scramble
||Jacob Friede, Lakeland Times sports reporter
12/4/2018 7:28 AM
???????The future was uncertain going into the season for the Lakeland Union High School wrestling team, but after the first meet Saturday at the John Roberts Scramble in Antigo, there are hints it could be bright.
“There were quite a few big question marks,” said assistant coach Ryan Heath, who was filling in for head coach Adam Bremer, away from the team attending a graduate course. “Who were going to be the leaders on the team? Are we going to be able to fill the weight classes? How are we going to respond? Are there guys who are going to be able to step up? And I think from the results we saw today I feel a lot more confident.”
Those results were a third place team finish out of 14 teams and number of wrestlers finishing in the top five individually.
Jason Hilgart and Xavier Burgess made it to the championship matches in the 145 and 170 weight classes respectively. Both lost the title matches, however they each had great days.
Hilgart pinned Damien Pomeranke of Waupaca and Joe Komanekin of Menominee Indian, and he beat Bryan Griffin of Manawa by decision before falling to Tony Jopek of Crivitz.
“It was a tough loss for him. I think he probably could’ve had a chance to win if we did a couple things differently,” Heath said. “He still wrestled tough all day.”
So did Xavier Burgess.
The senior pinned Jesse Frisk of Waupaca, Aaron Diamond of Ashland, and Collin Moser of Manawa before losing a decision in the final to rival Korbin Krueger, who he beat at last year’s conference meet.
“Xavier Burgess is another kid who wrestled really, really well for us today,” Heath said. “But today Korbin had his number and he didn’t quite get that one done.”
Other wrestlers who had at least three pins on the day were Ben Nemcek at 113 pounds, good for fourth place, Harry Nemcek at 120, good for fourth as well, Tim Burnett at 126, good for third, Nazar Lenz at 132, good for fifth, Jeremiah Michelsen at 160, good for fourth, and Andre Starynski at 195, good for fourth.
“The one thing that stood out to me was how well we wrestled from the top position. We pinned a lot of guys today and I think that had a big contribution to us placing as high as we did as a team,” Heath said.
Starynski’s effort is especially commendable because he had to wrestle way up in weight and was still able to take down heavier competition.
“We had to sort of continue to bump up and fill guys in so Andre is about 181 pounds but he’s up at 195 wrestling,” Heath said. “He started to figure it out throughout the day how to wrestle with kids that much bigger than him.”
Mason Holmquist at 182 and Henry Evenhouse at 220 were also both wrestling quite a bit up in weight and were still able to come out with sixth place finishes.
Wherever a Lakeland wrestler finishes though, the culture around the program promotes the team to have their back.
“I love how we were able to stay behind each other all day,” Heath said. “That’s one of the big things that we try to push with the guys is we’re going to wrestle a lot better if you’re in the corner with each other trying to motivate everybody to do well and they did a really good job of that today.”
Lakeland next travels to Crandon on Thursday night for a 7 p.m. dual meet.
Jacob Friede may be reached at jacob@