Bookends Sirny & Karkula Advance to Placing Rounds at Wheaton Invite

Bookends Sirny & Karkula Advance to Placing Rounds at Wheaton Invite

By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information

WHEATON, Ill. ( - The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Blugolds sent nine wrestlers to compete in this weekend's Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational. Of those nine, 125-pounder Zackary Sirny (Sr.-Wild Rose, WI) and heavyweight Justin Karkula (Sr.-Oshkosh, WI/West) will represent Eau Claire on the podium on Saturday afternoon as, on Friday, they advanced to the placing rounds.

The weekend's tournament is a nice preview of what's to come in postseason tournament time, with the two-day tournament featuring 35 teams, eight of which are ranked in the Top-25.


Sirny entered the tournament as the No. 5-seed but was upset 14-4 in his opening match. The senior then bounced back and rattled off three straight wins, including a victory over the seventh-seeded Michael Schmidt (Olivet). The other bookend, Karkula, seeded eighth in a talent-rich heavyweight division, was defeated by top-seeded Adarios Jones (Augustana) in the quarterfinals. Karkula did pick up two wins on the day, one of which was an upset victory in double overtime over the No. 6-seed, Wheaton's Max Gierke.

The Blugolds had three wrestlers end up one win shy of placing. Cody Vogel (Fr.-Elkhorn, WI/East Troy) was the only other to reach the quarters, but he was then met by the No. 1-seed Chris Williams (Millikin) and lost by technical fall. The 133-pounder then dropped a 9-5 decision in the wrestlebacks. Carter Focht (Jr.-Pine Springs, MN/Mahtomedi), the No. 7-seed at 149-pounds, had his hand raised three times on Friday, but was bested by fourth-seeded Matt Sears of Augustana to be eliminated. At 165-pounds, Toby Mosley (So.-Sparta, WI) also went 3-2 on the day before losing in the consolation bracket.

Cecil Philson (Jr.-Thorp, WI) wrestled in the only full 32-man bracket of the invite at 197-pounds and was victorious twice on Friday before being eliminated. Also picking up a win on the day were Jordan Meyer (Fr.-Evansville, WI) and Connor Hanson (Jr.-Harmony, MN/Fillmore Central).

In the team standings, the Blugolds are currently tied for 19th place with 29.5 points. Wrestling resumes Saturday morning at 9:00 a.m. from Wheaton College.

Follow the action all season long on Blugold Game Day.


Day 1 Results

125 lbs.

Nicholas Berry (Baldwin Wallace) def. Sirny, 14-4 major decision.

Sirny def. Trenton Jackson (Augustana) via forfeit.

Sirny def. Dylan Holliday (MacMurray), Fall 4:49.

Sirny def. Michael Schmidt (Olivet), 4-1 decision.

133 lbs.

Vogel def. Vincent Piunti (MacMurray), 5-2 decision.

Chris Williams (Millikin) def. Vogel, 18-1 technical fall, 7:00.

Brad Tatton (Ohio Northern) def. Vogel, 9-5 decision.

141 lbs.

Brandon Critchfield (Millikin) def. Meyer, Fall 5:40.

Meyer def. Josh Paisley (Elizabethtown), Fall 1:20.

Andrew Hoover (Case Western) def. Meyer, 3-1 decision.

149 lbs.

Focht def. Daniel Smith (Elizabethtown), 10-1 major decision.

JaVon Phillips (Manchester) def. Focht, 8-3 decision.

Focht def. Carter Barkema (UW-Platteville), Fall 1:02.

Focht def. Michael Petersen (Case Western), 11-6 decision.

Matt Sears (Augustana) def. Focht, 4-2 decision.

157 lbs.

Brad Kerkhoff (Buena Vista) def. Hanson, 7-2 decision.

Hanson def. Andrew Munn (Case Western), 6-4 OT decision.

Noah Messerall (Heidelberg) def. Hanson, 12-5 decision.

165 lbs.

Andrew Tolbert (Ferrum) def. Mosley, 6-4 decision.

Mosley def. Andrew Nelson (Buena Vista), 10-4 decision.

Mosley def. Donny Didion (Otterbein), 9-7 OT decision.

Mosley def. Nathan Hunt (Nebraska Wesleyan), 7-5 decision.

Mike Kouvelis (UW-Whitewater) def. Mosley, Fall 2:33.

184 lbs.

Corbin Bunsold (Otterbein) def. Grant Balconi, Fall 1:59.

Rocco Hladney (Elizabethtown) def. Balconi, 10-2 major decision.

197 lbs.

Tyler Maclellan (Baldwin Wallace) def. Philson, 10-2 major decision.

Philson def. Chance Smith (Alma), 12-3 major decision.

Philson def. Evan Betz (Millikin), 14-4 major decision.

Ethan Benoit (Augustana) def. Philson, 9-4 decision.

285 lbs.

Karkula def. Eric Eckstein (Elizabethtown), 13-4 major decision.

Adarios Jones (Augustana) def. Karkula, 5-2 decision.

Karkula def. Max Gierke (Wheaton), 11-6 2OT decision.