By: Jake Krier, UWEC Sports Information
WHEATON, Ill. (blugolds.com) - 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Corbin Bunsold (Otterbein) def. Grant Balconi, Fall 1:59.
Rocco Hladney (Elizabethtown) def. Balconi, 10-2 major decision.
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.
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.