Rhinelander’s Jacob DeMeyer looks to take down Arrowhead’s Joshua Otto during the third-place match in the Division 1, 145-pound weight class at the WIAA state wrestling meet Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Kohl Center in Madison. DeMeyer lost the match 4-3 to finish fourth in the tournament. (Jeremy Mayo/River News)
Rhinelander’s Jacob DeMeyer, second from left, stands on the podium after placing fourth in the Division 1, 145-pound weight class in the WIAA state wrestling tournament Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Kohl Center in Madison. (Tom Handrick for the River News)
2/28/2017 7:30:00 AM DeMeyer finishes 4th at state wrestling
MADISON - A long weekend of wrestling resulted in Rhinelander's first podium finish at the WIAA state tournament in three years.
Jacob DeMeyer suffered his first two losses of the season and finished fourth in the Division 1, 145-pound weight class in the three-day event, which concluded Saturday at the Kohl Center.
DeMeyer was majored by eventual state champ Jaden Van Maanen of La Crosse Central 10-1 Friday night in the semifinals. He won his first match Saturday morning, a 3-0 decision over Waterford's Austin Thomas, and then lost on a late takedown against Arrowhead's Joshua Otto 4-3 in the third-place match.
"He wrestled well," RHS wrestling coach Paul Ellenbecker said. "Unfortunately for him it was a judgement call again and it's been the story of the weekend kind of in some of our matches. But Jacob had a good tournament. He got down here and got on the medal stand and was right there for third place."
The fourth-place finish for DeMeyer matches the feat Connor Johnson achieved at state for the Hodags in 2014. DeMeyer was the only one of Rhinelander's four-wrestler contingent to make the podium. Reuben Guzik, Alec Bess and Alec Kurtz all saw their seasons come to an end during Friday's consolation rounds.
DeMeyer (43-2) controlled Saturday morning's match against Thomas, getting a late first-period takedown and an escape early in the second to earn the win.
After a scoreless first period against Otto in the third-place bout, DeMeyer took a 2-0 lead on an early second-period reversal, but Otto was able to get out of his grasp in the second, and again early in the third to tie the match. Looking to avoid overtime, both wrestlers tried to take shots in a scramble situation late in the third. Otto was awarded a takedown with about 15 seconds remaining, followed by an immediate escape for DeMeyer, which proved to be the difference in the match.
"I'm disappointed the way I wrestled that last period," DeMeyer said. "I should have come out on top, but I didn't. I'll be ready for him for next year."
"I don't want losing the third-place match to hold back how good of a weekend it was for Jacob and how well he wrestled and competed all year," Ellenbecker added. "To only lose two matches all year, it's a tribute to him. He's got another year yet and he's going to continue to get better."
Both called Friday's semifinal match against Van Maanen, a North Dakota recruit, a learning experience.
"It was definitely not how I wanted it to go, getting my butt kicked in front of thousands of people, but it was a good experience for me," DeMeyer said.
"Everyone here got to see how talented of a kid Jaden Van Maanen is," Ellenbecker added. "Jacob's a good kid and Van Maanen controlled the match. It was a good opportunity for Jacob to test himself against a good kid and show him what that next level of wrestler is. He's a Division I scholarship wrestler and he took it to Jacob a little bit. Hopefully Jacob learns from it and gets better from it all. He will. It was a cool opportunity for him to be in the semifinals and put himself in position next year to be not a phased in these situations."
Alec Kurtz (38-7) nearly joined DeMeyer in Saturday's position rounds. After getting bounced in the quarterfinals at 182 by eventual state champ Jackson Hemauer of DeForest, Kurtz won his first match Friday morning 5-3 over Madison La Follette's Salvatore Schiro. That set up a rematch against Appleton North's Brock Danielski in the consolation quarterfinals. Danielski, who won a close match against Kurtz Jan. 21 in Wausau, got the best of the Hodag junior again, using a third-period takedown to come out on top 3-1.
"Bang-bang match again, right down to the end - right there, edge of the mat, kind of deals," Ellenbecker said. "But it was good for Alec to get down here and put himself in position to be a place winner next year, no doubt about it. He had a great tournament, had some good matches and that's all you can ask for."
Bess (37-5) and Guzik (30-12) were both eliminated in the first round of the wrestleback. Bess lost a major decision of Kenosha Bradford's Jake Deates, 13-5, and Guzik lost to Sauk Prairie's Dylan Herbrand 9-7.
"Alec Bess, it's nice for him to finish the year, be healthy and get down to the state tournament," Ellenbecker said. "He started wrestling at 5 years old and he got the chance to make the trip down and be part of it. He was appreciative of that and you could tell it meant something to him making it down here his senior year. Alec, it's been quite the journey for him. To come down here, win a match and get his arm raised at a state tournament was a pretty awesome deal for him.
"These are the type of matches we've got to get more for Reuben, these close matches, down to the wire. He had a chance to win his last match against a tough kid. He was up by one point with 40 seconds left and was just kind of hesitant. He just hasn't been in enough of the situations, being a newer wrestler, but he'll eventually get there. He's going to work hard in the offseason. Thankfully he's got another year to get ready for it and he will. He's a hard-nosed kid, good worker and loves to compete."
All four of Rhinelander's state-qualifying wrestlers entered the weekend with podium aspirations. Though only one made it to the medal stand, Ellenbecker said it was a good weekend for them, and the Hodag program in general.
"We had a lot of wrestling this weekend. We didn't win a lot of matches but when you come down here, there's nowhere to hide and there's no easy matches," he said. "You've got to bring it with you're down here and our kids, they got a taste for it."
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017
Article comment by:
So very proud of this group of athletes, the dedication and hard work pays off not only in wrestling but will show up in life later on. Kudos gentlemen, well done!
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