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State Individual Wrestling Tournament begins Thursday, many area wrestlers involved

MADISON - The 68th WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament begins Thursday at 3 p.m. in the Kohl Center in Madison. There will be 23 wrestlers from the Rivertowns area involved in this year's tournament.

Action begins with Division 1 prelims. All Division 1 wrestlers will be in action. Eight of the area's wrestlers will competing in this round.

Starting at 103 pounds is New Richmond freshman Shane Blackman (34-11). He will be facing Waukesha South's Bill Prochniewski, a sophomore with a 39-2 mark.

Hudson's Gordon Johnson (39-4) is one of the top seeds in 119-pound weight class. He will take on Franklin sophomore Roman Siff (39-11). Another top-ranked area wrestler is River Falls' Logan Cudd (35-1) at 125 pounds. His first round opponent is Shawano's Jared Kust (senior, 38-5).

Two other Hudson wrestlers competing in the meet are Tanner Owens at 135 pounds and Nick Larson at 152. Owens, a 32-7 junior, is facing senior Jake Maechtle of Port Washington (29-8). Larson has one of the top seeds at 152 and takes on junior Brian Smith of West Allis Central (28-17).

Next up will be River Falls' Adam Figi at 160 and Tyson Bystrom at 189. Figi, a 36-4 senior, will wrestle Vernon Rash, a 47-4 junior from Milwaukee Bradley Tech and Bystrom's prelim opponent at 189 pounds is Josh Wipperfurth of Waunakee, a junior with a 33-13 record. Bystrom, a junior, is 24-10.

Bookending the D-1 prelims is New Richmond heavyweight Joel Neumann. The senior has a 39-5 record and is wrestling Stoughton's Jessie Nelson, a sophopmore with a 30-10 mark in the first round.

Division 2 wrestlers in prelim matches will hit the mat at 7:15 p.m. Thursday.

Three Pierce County wrestlers will compete Thursday in the Division 2 prelims. Prescott's Trevor Leyde will wrestle Prairie du Chein's Taylor Elliot at 103 pounds, Ellsworth's Levi Kuesel, a state runner-up last season, will wrestle Luxemburg-Casco junior Matt Zellner at 152 and EHS' Tanner Eggenberger takes on Clinton's Dane Brandl at 160. If Kuesel wins he would face Marshall's Thurston Schuster, who has 48 wins on the season. If Eggenberger wins he would take on Luxemburg-Casco's Zeke Peters who is one of the top wrestlers in a tough 160-pound field.

Competing Thursday from Somerset and St. Croix Central are the Spartans' Bobby Leroy (31-10) at 112. He will be facing Campbellsport's Ryan Costello, a fellow sophomore with just one loss on the season (39-1); St. Croix Central sophomore Cody Nyhagen (42-7) at 152 against Wrightstown junior Jackson Fox (38-7); SCC junior Marcus Malacek (40-7) vs. Edgerton junior Adam Carlson (also 38-7) and Panther junior Lauden Wood (33-9) against Campbellsport senior Eric Gonwa (33-9).

Divsion 2 wrestlers who lose today are eliminated immediately from the tournament while those in Division 1 have to wait to see if their first round victors move on to the semifinals. If they do they will wrestle at 10 a.m. Friday. Division 2 quarterfinals start at 11:15 a.m. Friday.