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Panthers rise to the challenge again and win sectional title

Max Peterson tries slip his arm around Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal's Ben Anding to stay in control.4 / 5
Logan Kemmerer tries to slip in a half-nelson on Amery's Broden Schock.5 / 5

Ellsworth's upper weight wrestlers delivered the decisive strike on Amery in the finals of the WIAA Division 2 Ellsworth Team Sectional Tuesday evening in front of a big crowd at Ellsworth High School.

With the sectional finals dual meet starting at 106, Amery led 16-12 after 145 pounds.

But the Panthers won six out of the next seven matches, recording four pins in the process to win their eighth straight sectional title by a 45-22 score. Ellsworth will be making its 12th appearance in the state team tournament. EHS, 13-5 overall, will face No. 1 ranked Luxemburg-Casco right away in the semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Two newcomers to state, Mauston and Chilton/Hilbert, will face each other in the other semifinal.

Logan Kemmerer put EHS in front at 152 with his fall in 2:32. That was followed-up by a pin by the Panthers' Gabe Frandsen in less than a minute. Hank Holdorf won Ellsworth's third match in a row with a 6-0 win over Chaz Henga at 170 and soon the Panthers had a 27-16 lead.

Amery scored a pin at 182 to come withing five points and it moved two of its upperweight wrestlers, Eli Newton and Kenny Gates, up a weight class in a bid to win the dual meet. But those plans were blown up when Jake Murphy pinned JV wrestler Tyler Chenney in 2:16 and junior Brady Zimmer pinned Eli Newton, one of five freshmen in the Warrior line-up, in 1:52. Amery forfeited at heavyweight, balancing off a forfeit Ellworth gave up at 106 to Amery's top-ranked Hunter Marko.

Zimmer said he was in the right frame of mind coming into his match.

"I had wrestled him before and beaten him so I was pretty confident," Zimmer said. "I know they were moving wrestlers around so I knew if I did my job we were going to win."

Ellsworth head coach Chad Steldt credited the work the coaching staff and Ellsworth alumns had in training the Panther wrestlers during the tournament month of February.

"When you wrestle a good opponent, the window of opportunity you have to score a point or get a pin is so small," Steldt said. "You have to take advantage of it quickly when it presents itself and that happens only with attention to detail which comes from intensive training and we've had in a our room thanks to our coaches and our alums helping us out. You saw it make a difference tonight."

Also making a difference from the last time the two teams met was having a healthy Logan Kemmerer and Dan Langer in the line-up. Kemmerer's pin started the Ellsworth run to victory and Langer scored a third period nearfall which led to a key 11-0 major decision for him over Austin Klugo.

"I was just thinking about what I had to do for the team to help us win and I knew I needed to get moving and score points and that's what happened." Langer said. "It's my senior year and I want to get back to state and get first place."

On a team with few seniors (Murphy and Holdorf being the other two wrestling their final matches in the Ellsworth gymnasium) Steldt credited Langer's senior leadership another factor in Ellsworth's win.

"He was helping some of our wrestlers make weight by working out with them," Steldt said. "That's huge to have someone like that leading your team as a senior and you put Logan back in the line-up, who is one of our team captains along with Jens (Lantz), he gets a pin we didn't have the last time we faced them. It changed the match-ups and it made a big difference."

Also winning for EHS against Amery, 12-6 overall, were Riley Melstrom at 120 with a 10-4 decision over Bryan Burke and Lantz by technical fall 16-0 in 4:15.

WIAA Division 2 Ellsworth Team Sectional

Finals - Ellsworth 45, Amery 22

106 - Hunter Marko (Amery) receives forfeit

113 - Andrew Smith (Amery) major decisioned John Albarado 14-0

120 - Riley Melstrom (Ellsworth) decisioned Bryan Burke 10-4

126 - Jens Lantz (Ellsworth) tech. falled Johnny Benitez 16-0 in 4:15

132 - Bennet Paulson (Amery) decisioned Brad Cain 6-1

138 - Dan Langer (Ellsworth) major decisioned Austin Klugo 11-0

145 - Mitch Nichols (Amery) decisioned Max Peterson 3-0 3.00 0

152 - Logan Kemmerer (Ellsworth) pinned Broden Schock (Amery) 2:32

160 - Gable Frandson (Ellsworth) pinned Alex Warman 0:59

170 - Henry Holdorf (Ellsworth) decisioned Chaz Hegna 6-0

182 - David `Joe` Lundgren (Amery pinned Devrin Myers in 1:51

195 - Jacob Murphy (Ellsworth) pinned Tyler Chenny in 2:26

220 - Brady Zimmer (Ellsworth) pinned Eli Newton in 1:52

285 - Brody Kemmerer (Ellsworth) receives forfeit

Ellsworth continued its long winning streak over Neillsville by winning 44-20 in the sectional semifinals. The Panthers got of to a great start by winning the first three matches led by Brodey Kemmerer's pin at heavyweight plus a quick :39 pin for John Albarado at 106, a win for Hunter Piepenburg 9-2 over Derek Nielsen at 113 and another tech. fall for Lantz at 120.

The Cloverbelt Conference champions won the next three matches but could only get three close decisions to trail 20-9, not enough as Ellsworth's heavy hitters came to bat. EHS scored pins from Kemmerer at 152, Holdorf at 170 and Devrin Myers at 182 along with wins from Gabe Frandsen by 9-3 decision over Mitch Pohlman and Max Peterson, 4-2 over Ben Anding.

WIAA Division 2 Ellsworth Team Sectionals

Semifinals - Ellsworth 44, Neillsville/Greenwood/Loyal 20

285 - Brody Kemmerer (Ellsworth) pinned Anthony Peplinski in :42

106 - John Albarado (Ellsworth) pinned Kanyon Rachu in :39

113 - Hunter Piepenburg (Ellsworth) decisioned Derek Nielsen 9-2

120 - Jens Lantz (Ellsworth) tech. falled Jared Boon 23-8 in 5:55

126 - Morgan Malm (Neilsville/Greenwood/Loyal) decisioned Riley Melstrom 8-4

132 - Phillip Opelt (Neilsville/Greenwood/Loyal) decisioned Tristen Mueller 7-2

138 - Michael Chadwick (Neilsville/Greenwood/Loyal) decisioned Dan Langer 6-5

145 - Max Peterson (Ellsworth) decisioned Ben Anding 4-2

152 - Logan Kemmerer (Ellsworth) pinned Jake Rueth in :35

160 - Gable Frandson (Ellsworth) decisioned Mitchell Pohlman 8-3

170 - Henry Holdorf (Ellsworth) pinned Dalton Clark in 1:38

182 - Devrin Myers (Ellsworth) pinned Trenton Drangstveit in 2:42

195 - Bob Hogan (Neilsville/Greenwood/Loyal) pinned Jacob Murphy in 4:59

220 - Daniel Rossow (Neilsville/Greenwood/Loyal) tech. falled Brock Steldt 19-2

Amery had won its semifinal dual 43-24 over Rice Lake.

Steldt says the tough schedule Ellsworth wrestled paid off in another sectional title and perhaps in more gratification.

"The kids had been under the gun to perform against top-ranked opponents and they did so tonight," Steldt said. "I think you get more from that than just steamrolling someone. Amery's a got a great program and it's going to help the both of us and the sport to have a competitive rivalry here in the northwest. Hopefully other programs will join in in Division 2 because it makes for some exciting wrestling in front of big crowds just like we had here tonight."

2013 State Team Tournament Pairings

Friday-Saturday, March 1-2

UW Fieldhouse, Madison, Wis.


Quarterfinals - Friday, March 1 - 7 p.m.

Match-1:No. 5 Sauk Prairie vs. Mukwonago

Match-2:No. 2 Kaukauna vs. No. 8 Lake Geneva Badger

Match-3:No. 4 Bay Port vs. No. 10 Menomonee Falls

Match-4:No. 1 Wausau West vs. No. 9 Burlington

Semifinals - Saturday, March 2 - 9 a.m.

Match-5: Winner of Match-1 vs. Winner of Match-2

Match-6: Winner of Match-3 vs. Winner of Match-4

Final - Saturday March 2 - 6 p.m.

Match-7:Winner of Match-5 vs. Winner of Match-6



Semifinals - Saturday, March 2 - 1 p.m.

Match-1:No. 4 Ellsworth vs. No. 1 Luxemburg-Casco

Match-2:No. 8 Mauston vs. No. 10 Chilton/Hilbert

Final - Saturday March 2 - 6 p.m.

Match-3: Winner of Match-1 vs. Winner of Match-2



Semifinals - Saturday, March 2 - 1 p.m.

Match-1: No. 4 Clear Lake vs. No. 2 Coleman

Match-2: No. 1 Lancaster vs. No. 5 Random Lake

Final - Saturday March 2 - 6 p.m.

Match-3: Winner of Match-1 vs. Winner of Match-2