KAUKAUNA, Wis. -- Despite having only one champion in No. 20 Nolan Hellickson at 106 pounds, No. 24 Southeast Polk, Iowa emerged as champions of the 15th Cheesehead Invitational based on their balance and superior depth. The Rams had four finalists among their nine top seven place finishers, plus three others that finished in tenth place, in scoring 593-1/2 points.
Runner-up finishes for Southeast Polk came from Tim Miklus (160), Dylan Blackford (170), and Bryce Fisher (285); No. 13 Jake Scanlan (285) finished in third place; Dylan Buchheit (138) and Luke Sargent (152) took fifth; Ethan Anderson (195) placed sixth; while Briar Dittmer was seventh.
A relatively close second place finish was secured by No. 7 Montini Catholic, Ill., who had 575 points on the strength of a trio of champions. Tommy Pawleski won at 113 pounds with a 3-0 finals victory over Zach Smith (Port Washington, Wis.); Chris Garcia, runner-up last year at 132, won at 138 this year with a 4-3 victory over Andrew Steiert (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa); while Edgar Ruano beat the previously undefeated Bryce Fisher 7-3 in the 220-pound final.
The runner-up finish from Jake Turk at 182 pounds was one of seven others inside the top seven for the Broncos, who also had wrestlers place 9th and 12th, but were without wrestlers at two weight classes -- including state placer Mike Maduko at 170 pounds. Other top seven placers for Montini Catholic were Jordan Laster (126) and Xavier Montalvo (160) taking third, Vince Turk (120) in fourth, Michael Sepke (145) and Anthony Ferraro (195) in fifth, and Jimmy Pawleski (106) taking seventh.
Jake Short (Photo/The Guillotine)The main story of the tournament though came out of the 152-pound weight class, where No. 1 (at 145) Jake Short (Simley, Minn.) earned Outstanding Wrestler with his repeat championship. Short won his first four matches by fall before knocking off freshman sensation Beau Breske (Hartford, Wis.) 8-3 in the semifinal round; Breske had not lost a high school match before then. Then, in the other semifinal, No. 3 Brian Murphy (Glenbard North, Ill.) beat No. 1 Mark Hall (Apple Valley, Minn.), riding him out in the ultimate tiebreaker to earn a 3-2 victory.
The championship match was then between the Minnesota-bound Short and the Michigan-bound Murphy. The two elite seniors wrestled a match reflecting that status, as they traded escapes in regulation. There was then no scoring in sudden victory, and the wrestlers rode each other out in the tiebreaker. In the ultimate tiebreaker, Short started in the referee's position, and secured a reversal to win 3-1.
Joining Short as a champion from Simley was No. 4 Nick Wanzek at 170 pounds, who won his championship match by 15-0 technical fall over Blackford. In six tournament matches, Wanzek had two technical falls, two major decisions, and two pins.
The other school with a pair of champions was No. 25 Marmion Academy, Ill, who finished third in the tournament with 490 points. Winning titles for the Cadets were No. 8 Johnny Jimenez (120) and No. 14 George Fisher (132). Jimenez dominated through the tournament with three pins, a 7-2 victory over No. 19 Jens Lantz (Ellsworth, Wis.) in the quarterfinal, 8-1 over two-time Cadet Greco All-American Jon Marmolejo (Glenbard North, Ill.) in the semifinal, before a 10-2 major decision against two-time state champion Jordan Shearer (West Fargo, N.D.) in the final.
Fisher won the tournament's deepest weight class, needing to beat state runner-up Kyle Springer (Davenport Assumption, Iowa) and two-time state placer Johnny Gosinski (Glenbard North, Ill.) in the preliminary pool. His toughest match was a 4-2 quarterfinal victory over two-time state champion Kyle Gliva (Simley, Minn.), and then it was a 6-2 championship match victory over 2011 state champion Andrew Crone (Arrowhead, Wis.).
Nationally ranked wrestlers seemed to rule the day at the Cheesehead. Other such champions were No. 2 Jered Cortez (Glenbard North, Ill.) at 126 pounds, No. 2 Bryce Brill (Mt. Carmel) at 145, No. 20 Daniel Woiwor (Apple Valley, Minn.) at 160, No. 6 Preston Lehmann (West Fargo, N.D.) at 182, and No. 8 Jordan Ellingwood (Plainfield Central, Ill.) at 195.
Cortez beat No. 16 Fredy Stroker (Bettendorf, Iowa) 5-2 in a battle of undefeated wrestlers for the 126-pound title. Prior to the final for Cortez it had been a pin, three technical falls, and an 11-1 major decision victory.
Brill similarly beat a Bettendorf opponent in Alex Hernandez to culminate his tournament run in the 145-pound weight class. His championship match pin was his third of the weekend, with the other trio of victories coming via technical fall.
But for one match, a 7-5 overtime victory in the semifinal against Montalvo, Woiwor cut through the 160-pound class. The championship match was a 12-4 major decision over Miklus, but it was three technical falls and one pin preceding the semifinal and final.
Lehman capped off a six victory run in the 182-pound weight class, which included three pins, with a 7-0 victory over Jake Turk of Montini Catholic in the final.
In one of three finals matches to include a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers, No. 8 Ellingwood defeated No. 14 Blake Blair (Edwardsville, Ill.) 6-3 to replicate his victory from the Dvorak final two weekends ago.
Rounding out the weight class champions was Jessie Nelson (Stoughton, Wis.) at 285 pounds, as the returning state third placer had a break-through weekend in upsetting a pair of nationally ranked wrestlers by identical 5-2 scores on the way to his title. Before that pair of matches, Nelson had not seen the second period as he had four first period falls. In the semifinal, it was a victory over Junior National freestyle All-American Jake Scanlan, who is ranked No. 13 nationally; while the final saw him beat No. 6 Newton Smerchek (Luxemburg-Casco, Wis.), a defending state champion and two-time state finalist.
1. No. 24 Southeast Polk, Iowa 593.5
2. No. 7 Montini Catholic, Ill. 575
3. No. 25 Marmion Academy, Ill. 490
4. No. 47 Bettendorf, Iowa 432
5. No. 14 Apple Valley, Minn. 419.5
6. No. 48 Glenbard North, Ill. 402
7. No. 37 Simley, Minn. 365
8. Edwardsville, Ill. 359
9. Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa 356
10. West Fargo, N.D. 349.5
106: No. 20 Nolan Hellickson (Southeast Polk, Iowa) dec. Patrick Augustyn (Glenbard North, Ill.), 8-4
113: Tommy Pawleski (Montini Catholic, Ill.) dec. Zach Smith (Port Washington, Wis.), 3-0
120: No. 8 Johnny Jimenez (Marmion Academy, Ill.) maj. dec. Jordan Shearer (West Fargo, N.D.), 10-2
126: No. 2 Jered Cortez (Glenbard North, Ill.) dec. No. 16 Fredy Stroker (Bettendorf, Iowa), 5-2
132: No. 14 George Fisher (Marmion Academy, Ill.) dec. Andrew Crone (Arrowhead, Wis.), 6-2
138: Chris Garcia (Montini Catholic, Ill.) dec. Andrew Steiert (Waverly-Shell Rock, Iowa), 4-3
145: No. 2 Bryce Brill (Mt. Carmel, Ill.) pinned Alex Hernandez (Bettendorf, Iowa), 3:12
152: No. 1 (at 145) Jake Short (Simley, Minn.) dec. No. 3 Brian Murphy (Glenbard North, Ill.), 3-1 UTB
160: No. 20 Daniel Woiwor (Apple Valley, Minn.) maj. dec. Tim Miklus (Southeast Polk, Iowa), 12-4
170: No. 4 Nick Wanzek (Simley, Minn.) tech. fall Dylan Blackford (Southeast Polk, Iowa), 15-0
182: No. 6 Preston Lehmann (West Fargo, N.D.) dec. Jake Turk (Montini Catholic, Ill.), 7-0
195: No. 8 Jordan Ellingwood (Plainfield Central, Ill.) dec. No. 14 Blake Blair (Edwardsville, Ill.), 6-3
220: Edgar Ruano (Montini Catholic, Ill.) dec. Bryce Fisher (Southeast Polk, Iowa), 7-3
285: Jessie Nelson (Stoughton, Wis.) dec. No. 6 Newton Smerchek (Luxemburg-Casco, Wis.), 5-2