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Panthers get classic team win over L-C

MADISON -- Never has a loss been cheered so loudly.

Even though Ellsworth's Shawn Helmueller fell 11-7 in the 152-pound match to Luxemburg-Casco's four-time state individual champion Zac Cibula, Panther fans shouted their heads off and stomped their feet.

Helmueller took one for the team in classic team wrestling fashion. While losing the decision, he won for his Panther team by avoiding a much-need pin for Cibula and the Spartans and helped Ellsworth upend L-C once again in the WIAA State Team Tournament.

The Panthers won by a 33-28 score in the Division 2 semifinals at the UW-Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.

Spartan slayer

Alex Hoyer did it again.

After clinching the state title for his Ellsworth squad with a win in the championship dual against Luexmburg-Casco last year, Hoyer again came through the Panthers against L-C.

Normally the Purple's 215-pound wrestler, Hoyer moved up to heavyweight and edged the Spartans' Phil Kinjerski 4-3 in double overtime.

Hoyer won despite giving up nearly 50 pounds to Kinjerski. But he was able to score a reversal to tie the match in the third period and then made an escape in the second overtime to win 4-3.

"When we saw who they were going to put out at 215 pounds (where the dual meet began) then we were able to move Alex up a weight class because he had better chance of beating their heavyweight than (Trever) Spude (a state individual runner-up)," Ellsworth head coach Jack Radabaugh said. "We knew Alex was giving up a lot of weight, but we figured if we could get the match to go the distance or longer, he would have a good chance of winning because he's in such great shape."

The bowling pin set-up

That win helped set-up Ellsworth to several big wins in the lower and middle weights where the strength of the Panther line-up has been all season. At 112, the Panthers' D.J. Yarwood was able to get a 17-6 major decision on Jordan Seidl. At 119, Chace Kinneman beat the wrestler that finished ahead of him at the individual state meet, the Spartans' Adam Zehren, 3-1. At 125 and 130, Ellsworth's Dane Solyntjes and Joe Kornmann had back to back pins with Kormann coming from behind 3-0 to win. At 135, state individual champion Hayden Hauschildt won by a 20-5 technical fall in 4:58 over Jordan Shefchik and at 140 the Panthers' Reuben Huppert wasted little time in getting a 1:20 pinfall to put his team ahead 33-7.

Kinneman got satisfaction not only winning for the team, but winning individually as well. He fired up the Panther faithful with his fiery reaction to victory.

"I wanted to prove that I was the better wrestler. I wanted to prove I should have finished ahead of him at state and that's what I did," Kinneman said. Lose to win

Ellsworth clinched the dual meet with Helmueller's match against Cibula. Helmueller avoided a pin in the first period and scored a reversal in the second plus another reversal and takedown in the third as a frustrated Cibula could not turn over Helmuller while down on the mat.

Although Helmueller is normally E-Town's 160-pound wrestler, he was light enough to go down to 152 and had some experience wrestling against the four-time state champ.

"Shawn had wrestled Cibula right here last year," Radabaugh said. "He knew how to wrestle him and he knew he could score points on Cibula if he risked moves in order to get the pin his team needed to stay in the meet. The way Shawn wrestled was an outstanding example of how team wrestling works."

Radabaugh also credited EHS' Corey Deiss for wrestling the same way in the first match of the dual meet. Taking on L-C's state runner-up Trever Spude at 215, Deiss only lost by a 12-4 major decision, and swung two points in the Panthers' direction.

Despite have six state finalists and three state individual champions the week before in the individual tournament, the Spartans only received 22 points from these wrestlers. Meanwhile, the Panthers received 21 points from wrestlers that didn't even qualify for the state individual tournament.

In other words, a classic team wrestling win.