2017 Wisconsin Little Ten Tournament Preview

By TomM January 30, 2017 21:02

2017 Wisconsin Little Ten Tournament Preview

2017 Wisconsin Little Ten Tournament Preview

Napoleon Dynamite | Wisconsin Wrestling Online Forum Member

 Where do we even start???  The Little Ten Conference Dual season brought us many interesting battles week in and week out.  It is with great sadness that this will be the last conference tourney ever as Wisconsin Lutheran (Wisco), Oconomowoc (Cooney), Watertown and Beaver Dam go off to their own conferences and WBE, WBW, Slinger and Hartford join what was mostly North Shore Conference teams.

Slinger knocking off Cooney in the first week of the season could very well end up being the dual that determined the Conference Team Champion this year as the Owls won their first ever sole Conference Dual Championship. This year, the overall team depth in the league seemed to be down compared to year’s past, but overall another solid year in the WLT; THE LAST ONE EVER.   As this is written, there is still one more dual tomorrow night between Beaver Dam and Cooney that will cement second place in the conference as well as a final weather makeup between Wisco and West Bend West.

Team Standings:
Slinger 7-0
Beaver Dam 5-1
Oconomowoc 5-1
Wisconsin Lutheran 3-3
West Bend East 2-5
Watertown 2-5
Hartford 2-5
West Bend West 0-6

When the buses pull into Watertown High on Sunday, 20 wrestlers will step off that are ranked in the wiwrestling.com rankings.   While not as many as some of the other conferences, the Little Ten will be well represented in Madison at the end of the month.  Wisco ran away with the Conference tourney title last year by 50 pts over runner up Cooney, with Beaver Dam and Slinger rounding out the top 4.

Let’s look at the team race, first; Slinger (D1) and Wisco (D2) have been state ranked most of year and Oconomowoc has flown a little under the radar on the state scene, but has put together another great year.  Beaver Dam showed well in every tourney they entered this year and continue to have one of the largest overall teams in the conference.

Oconomowoc has not landed on a state ranking yet, so it is a travesty that they have been overlooked. They finished as runner up at the Grant Schoen Duals losing only to D1 No. 7 Sauk Prairie and Pewaukee Duals, losing only to D1 No. 10 Pewaukee. They showed well at Mid-States Invitational and won both the Verona and Bernie Kane Duals.

D1 No. 8 ranked Slinger started off the season as the runner up at the Gunslinger Individual Tourney, locked horns with the state’s best at the Dells Duals (losing to D1 No. 1 Stoughton, D3 No. 1 Stratford, and D3 No. 3 Lomira and defeating D3 No. 4 Mineral Pt and D3 No. 5 Random Lake), and won both the Plymouth and Campbellsport Duals (defeating D1 No. 9 Milton and D3 No. 5 Random Lake).

Beaver Dam kicked off its season with a 3rd place finish at the Campbellsport Invite and followed it up the next weekend with a 4th place finish at the Sun Prairie Scramble.  In the dual tournaments, they have entered, they went 4-3 at the difficult Northern Exposure, 3-2 at the always challenging Zelinski Duals and 4-1 at the own Dual Invite this past weekend.

State Runner Up and D2 Honorable Mention ranked Wisconsin Lutheran kicked off its season with a strong showing at their own Invite, followed by a 6th place finish at the Sun Prairie Scramble and came away as champions of the Red Knight Invitational.  In dual action, they had a runner up finish at the Tom Janssen dual.

So, as you can clearly see, our conference has a very strong year on the state scene and the other teams not mentioned above showed well at the tourneys they were in during the season, notably West Bend East winning the Waupun Duals and Marquette Invite.

Now for the individual races (keep in mind, this doesn’t take into account knowing exactly where wrestlers will be, but is written based on where they have wrestled this season at one time or another):

The leader in the clubhouse is D1 HM Gavin Skinner from Slinger.  Dietrich Jaeckel from Beaver Dam had a close match with Skinner during the dual season, so he will be looking for revenge.  The conference is down a tad this year at 106lbs.

Prediction: Skinner over Jaeckel

D1 No. 9 ranked Jalen Spuhler of Hartford has come onto the scene as a freshman and gone thru the conference dual season unchallenged, so far.  Slinger’s Aaron Soneson suffered his only conference loss at the hands of Spuhler and will be looking for a rematch.  Wisco’s Luke Nygaard, West Bend East’s Dan Ciriacks and Beaver Dam’s Kolbe De Los Angeles round out the contenders for the conference title.

Prediction: Spuhler over Soneson

This weight features two (both Freshmen) of the state’s top 10 D1 ranked wrestlers in West Bend East’s No. 8 Cayden Henschel and Watertown’s No. 9 Edward Wilkowski. Henschel won a thriller at the buzzer during the dual, but these two have been battling for years on the youth circuit and in the Ringers room.   It is assumed that D2 11 Lucas Roecker of Wisco will be down at 120 as well since he wrestled that weight at Oshkosh On the Water. Roecker finished last year as a conference runner up (113lbs).   But, don’t sleep on Slinger’s Cameron Tonsor-Heesen, either.  Tonsor-Heesen finished 3rd last year in conference (106lbs) and sectionals. He will be looking to avenge both of his conference losses.

Prediction:  Wilkowski over Henschel

The top contender at 126 is Slinger’s D1 No. 3 ranked Caleb Ziebell.  Ziebell, who finished 5th at State last year, made it through the conference season unscathed and hopes to put another crown next to last year’s conference champion trophy (113lbs).  Beaver Dam’s Devin De Los Angeles is a returning conference champ (120lbs) as well a 2x State Qualifier.  After his loss to Ziebell during the dual, he will be looking to change the outcome in his favor.  Cooney’s Jackson Pratt, East’s Damian Zapata and West’s Darius Curtis round out the field.

Prediction: Ziebell over De Los Angeles

This weight may be the deepest in the conference this year.  State qualifier and D1 No. 6 ranked Hudson Mountjoy comes into the tourney with an unblemished record.  Standing in his way for his second title in a row are many contenders.  D1 No. 11 Manny Garrison-Hooks, who recently was accepted to Harvard, has put together a strong Senior season.  Nick Logan from Watertown announced his arrival when he defeated Luke Hyland from Oconomowoc during the dual season.  Hyland hopes to finish one spot higher than his runner up finish a year ago, at 132lbs.  Don’t be “Surprised” if Dylan Surprise from Beaver Dam is in the mix as well.

Prediction: Mountjoy over Garrison-Hooks

Last year’s conference runner up at 120lbs, Jacob Evans from Wisco is in front of the pack on paper.  Ian Wendt-Utrie from Beaver Dam has put together a very nice freshman campaign and will be one to watch, for sure.  Garrett Sobstad from Cooney has come on as of late and will be right there in the mix and Chris Melius-Slinger is a dangerous out as well.

Prediction: Wendt-Utrie over Evans

Returning conference champion (138lbs) Christian Gurule of Oconomowoc looks to defend his title, but returning state qualifier Bryce Henschel of West Bend East will quite possibly be standing in his way.  Due to injury, this match didn’t happen at the dual and both wrestlers are looking strong. But the following wrestlers will have their fair shake as well on Saturday: Clayton Goodman-Watertown, Jake Budnik-Slinger and Miguel Flores-Beaver Dam.

Prediction-Henschel over Gurule

This weight class is one of the most intriguing.  As it stands, Adam Beine-D1 4 and returning State Qualifier from Slinger is looking to win his 4th Conference Title in 4 years.  Will D2 No. 3 and last year’s 3rd place State Place-winner Brian Corbins of Wisco be at this weight or will he wrestle 160?  Will Beine even be at this weight?  We will see come Saturday but for the sake of this review, let’s go with this possible juicy rematch of Beine’s 6-3 victory at Oshkosh On the Water.  Saying, “Hey, don’t forget about us over here,” are Cooney’s Keegan Lazar and West Bend East’s Cooper Schlosser.

Prediction: Beine over Corbins

As I mentioned during the 152 preview, does it makes sense from someone to hop up to 160 for a shot at the gold?  Right now, Nick Fiorita from Cooney (who recently dropped down) and Cody Hughes from West Bend East are the top contenders.   Adam Grudzinski-Slinger could be one to watch after his 3rd place finish last year.

Prediction: Fiorita over Hughes

D1 11 and last year’s conference runner up (170), Logan Stegemeyer from Slinger hopes to ascend to the top of the mountain this year.  Standing in his way could very well be Christian Rojano-Watertown or Kyle Yochem-West Bend East.

Prediction: Stegemeyer over Rojano

This weight class is going to be very fun to watch.  D1 No. 7 and returning State Qualifier Anthony Schlass of West Bend West looks to add another conference crown after last year’s championship (170lbs).  Standing is his way is fast rising Theo Ringgold of Cooney, who has pieced together an impressive sophomore campaign and will be hoping to win his first title.  D2 HM ranked Ebeneezer Ikhumen-Wisco was at 182 for the OTW tourney, so he will be in the mix if he is at this weight come Saturday.  Slinger’s Caleb Kovacevich quietly breezed thru the conference season with only 2 losses.

Prediction: Schlass over Ringgold

This weight is led by D1 No. 12 Joe Leonhardt of West Bend West.  Leonhardt has really came on in his Junior season and will be a tough out.  In his way are D1 HM Stephen Maule of Watertown and Bennett Connolly of Slinger.  If Ikhumen stays up at this weight, that will shake things up a bit.

Prediction: Leonhardt over Connolly

Here is yet another very tough bracket come Saturday.  This weight is led by D1 No. 1 ranked and returning state qualifier Wyatt Wells of Beaver Dam.  If you remember last year, this weight was stacked with Samson, Wells and Roberts.  Wells would end up as the runner up to Samson, so you know he is itching to win a conference title.  But, in his way will be D2 No. 2 and 6th place State Place-winner a year ago, German Fitzgerald of Wisco.  Not to be forgotten about is Matt Brewster of Watertown, who has bumped up to HWT a few times this year to help the team.

Prediction: Wells over Fitzgerald

This weight class is led by D1 No. 5 and returning conference runner up (285) Quinn Meinerz from Hartford.  Standing in his way, and having a great Senior season is Chris Aschenbrenner from Oconomowoc.  Five of the 6 returning placewinners at this weight return and add in Wisco’s Carrington Cunningham and you have another top 6 that are all good wrestlers!  Ruel-Beaver Dam, Osterberg-Slinger, and Myrick-WBE all hope to improve on their finish from last year!

Prediction: Meinerz over Aschenbrenner

Photo used by permission

30th and Final WLT Conference Tournament
60th and Final Year of the WLT

Saturday, February 4, 2017

School Opens 7:30 a.m.
Anthem/Introduction 9:20 a.m.
1st Round (Quarterfinals) 9:30 a.m. (3 mats)
2nd Round (Semis/1st round wrestle backs) 10:45 a.m. (3 mats)
3rd Round (2nd round of wrestle backs and 7th place) 12:15 p.m. (3 mats)
Lunch Break (Begins after completion of last match) 1:15 p.m.
Round (1st, 3rd, and 5th place matches) 2:15 p.m. (3 mats)

*Times are estimated – wrestling will be continuous until completion of Round 3. First available mat format will be used for Rounds 1-3. Individual awards will be presented during Round 4 – two weight classes removed. Team awards are presented at the conclusion of the tournament.

By TomM January 30, 2017 21:02