School-record four EHS grapplers in state finals
MADISON - The job of handing out medals to award winners at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament goes to members of the George Martin State Wrestling Hall of Fame, of which Ellsworth High School head coach Jack Radabaugh is a member.
It's something he's done at many state tournaments.
So by coincidence or stroke of luck, Radabaugh was the man giving out medals to the Division 2 award winners at 145 pounds.
The last medal on his arm went to the champion. Radabaugh looked up to the person on top of the award stand, said a few words and then put the gold medal around his neck.
Afterwards, Radabaugh commented on how this medal ceremony meant perhaps a little more than others he's done in the past.
Maybe it's because that wrestler wore a purple warm-up suit
Maybe it's because that suit said "Ellsworth" on it.
And maybe it's because for the second year in a row Hayden Hauschildt stood atop the awards stand, another gold medal won as state champion.
"It's always a tremendous honor to award a state champion, but when it's someone you've known and have been coaching since he was eight years old," Radabaugh said, "it's something indescribable."
While Hauschildt won the gold, he wasn't alone as a state finalist when it came to his Ellsworth team. Three other Panther wrestlers, Sam Huppert, D.J. Yarwood and Shawn Helmueller also made it to Championship Saturday at the Kohl Center. Even though, they all came in second, they along with Hauschildt made the whole Ellsworth program winners overall.
The day before
Hauschildt didn't come into his state finals match against Iowa-Grant/Highland's Justin Washburn's thinking about getting a pin.
But after taking a 4-1 lead in the first period, the notion did enter his mind.
"I thought it would be a tough match and prepared for it that way," Hauschildt said. "But then I got those two takedowns and the blood was in the water."
Hauschildt would have pinned Washburn in the first period if it had not been for the buzzer. Instead he waited until the second period where he stuck Washburn in 3:13.
Radabaugh said Hauschildt demonstrated his control of the 145-pound field all weekend.
"He came through the tough side of the bracket and he showed the attitude of a champion throughout," Radabaugh said. "That attitude was, nothing was going to stop him from being a two-time state champ and he was always going to be in control of his matches."
The tough side of the bracket began against Southern Door's Cody Seuss in the quarterfinals where Hauschildt didn't score a lot of points but was still in control with a 6-0 decision. The semifinal match against Sugar River Co-op's Kalvin York, which many felt was the finals match, showed Hauschildt at his best, wrestling aggressively against the University of Wisconsin-bound wrestler and rallying from 2-0 and 5-3 deficits to beat York in the third period with an escape, takedown and two-point nearfall.
"I felt my best strategy against him was to keep being aggressive," Hauschildt said. "I had to gain control of the tempo of the match and keep pressing him until I could wear him out and score on him. The conditioning I've got from my coaches and teammates helped me win."
Just an inch shorter
The difference between the first and second platform on the awards stand is just a few inches and it seemed that how small the distance was for Sam Huppert and D.J. Yarwood towards state titles.
Huppert and Bloomer's Justin Poirer were tied 3-3 in the third period, both wrestlers just missing chances at takedown when a mistake by Huppert allowed Poirier to break the tie and takedown and two-point nearfall to win 7-3 at 112.
The same happened at 119 between Yarwood and freshman sensation Jared Donar of Cuba City-Southwestern. The unbeaten Donar held an early 4-0 lead but Yarwood came back to score a reversal in the second and scored a penalty point on a locked hands call on Donar for a 4-3 score. Donar got an escape to lead 5-3 and then in the scramble to get a takedown, Donar caught Yarwood in a duck-under move and won 7-3.
"Sam lost his balance trying for a takedown and with D.J. it was almost the same thing, getting caught on a mistake," Radabaugh said. "But it doesn't take away from outstanding effort both gave to reach the finals and the fact both wrestled very good matches and had chances to win."
Huppert, despite an injured shoulder, made it through three close wins to the finals by three points: 6-5 over Ryan Hayes of Portage, 3-2 over Austin Binish of Sturgeon Bay-Sevastopol, and 5-4 over Clinton's Daniel Bahn. Each time he won by scoring the winning points in the third period.
Yarwood too, had a close semifinal match win after beating Luxemburg-Casco's Joe Mercier 6-2 in the quarterfinals. Yarwood needed a late takedown to surge past Adams-Friendship's Jacob Volkey 4-3.
"It's something we practice on, winning the third period," Yarwood said. "You've got to have the endurance and the energy to get those points."
Shawn Helmueller's finals match at 152 was a forgettable one and a quick one at that, a 1:55 pin by Lodi's Keegan Einerson. But that doesn't erase Helmueller's memorable quick takedown of Pewaukee's David Phillips in the semis that brought him a 3-2 win or the dominating 10-2 major decision over Tyler Zimmerman of Lakeside Lutheran in the quarter.
"Shawn's pretty disappointed, he wrestled a very tough kid in a tough field," Radabaugh said. "All of our second place finishers are disappointed they didn't win their matches. But they'll be back next week ready to help the team at team state."
And there they can all share the first place award stand if they win it all.