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Before entering Ellsworth High School's south gymnasium, visitors will come across the school's most prized athletic possessions in its "Panther Champions" display case. Inside they'll find Wisconsin-shaped plaques that commemorate the eight WIAA Team State titles the Panthers wrestling team has brought home for their fans.
Didn't get enough of the 2018 WIAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament? You're in luck.
Sam Stuhl had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a Chobani strawberry banana yogurt and a little bit of Gatorade for breakfast on Saturday, Feb. 24, just like any other day. But Feb. 24 wasn't a typical day for Stuhl. Feb. 24 was the day he won his fourth state title — something only 14 other Wisconsin high school wrestlers (one being 2014 Ellsworth graduate Jens Lantz) had done before 2018.
Cedric Kosnopfal and Dalton George were the Ellsworth Panthers' first 2018 state place winners on Saturday, Feb. 24 — the final day of the 2018 WIAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament. Kosnopfal (Jr., 28-16), the Panthers' 152-pound wrestler, went 0-2 on the day to finish as the sixth-place wrestler of his weight class. The Ellsworth junior lost to Mauston's Jarrett Dolata (Sr., 44-5) by a 10-5 decision in the consolation semifinals, and was then pinned by Devan Vandenbush (Sr., 46-8) of Luxemburg-Casco in Saturday's Division 2 152-pound fifth-place match.
Prescott's Ty Sanford had his eyes on a state title for the entirety of his senior year, but being the third-best Division 2 195-pound wrestler is nothing to dismiss. Sanford claimed a third-place finish at the 2018 WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 24, beating out his 2017 fourth-place state finish. "I'm just really happy to go out with a win," Sanford said after his last high school wrestling match. "Obviously I'm a little disappointed I didn't win [the title], but I'll take it. It's better than last year."
Prairie Du Chien's Stephen Ronnfeldt defeated Ty Sanford 6-3 in the semifinals of the WIAA Individual State Tournament on Friday, Feb. 23. Ronnfeldt (Sr., 42-9) took down the Prescott senior in the opening minutes of the 195-pound battle, and controlled the top position for the majority of the match. Sanford (Sr., 35-5) managed a late reversal to get within three, but watched as the final seconds ticked down, realizing he wouldn't be moving onto the finals.
Ellsworth's Sam Stuhl and Jared Lansing will wrestle in the biggest matches of their seasons on Saturday, Feb. 24. The state finals. Stuhl (Sr., 40-1) passed West Salem/Bangor's Aaron Bahr by a 3-1 decision in the semifinals, and will see Traeton Saint (So., 51-4) of Prairie Du Chien in the 138-pound state championship match. Saint advanced to the finals after defeating Eric Bauer (Jr., 38-4) by a 5-3 sudden victory decision.
After two scoreless periods, Prescott’s Ty Sanford came away with a 2-0 quarterfinal win over Marcus Orlandoni of North Fond Du Lac/Saint Marys on Friday, Feb. 23 at the WIAA Individual State Tournament. Sanford’s first two periods against Orlandoni were evenly matched, but the Prescott senior’s head coach Jordan Poirier said his movement on the bottom in the third period was what made the difference.
Two Ellsworth wrestlers are headed to the WIAA Individual State Tournament's semifinals after picking up quarterfinal wins on Friday, Feb. 23. Sam Stuhl (Sr., 39-1) was the first Panther to qualify for the semifinals after pinning Ethan Schwartz (Fr., 36-9) of Denmark in two minutes and 38 seconds. Next, Stuhl will face Aaron Bahr (Jr., 46-5) of West Salem/Bangor. Bahr pinned Dean Neff (So., 46-8) of Jefferson in one minute and 28 seconds in his quarterfinal match.
Both Ellsworth wrestlers who competed in the 2018 WIAA Individual State Tournament's preliminary round are headed to the tournament's quarterfinals. Sophomore Charlie Stuhl faced River Valley's Caleb Radtke on Thursday, Feb. 22, and eliminated the River Valley 120-pounder by a 7-0 decision. Stuhl improves to 33-7 on the season, and will face Lucas Schevikhoven (Sr., 40-0) of Shoreland Lutheran on Friday, Feb. 23 in the quarterfinals.