Panthers one step closer to state after winning regionals
History repeated itself on Saturday, Feb. 10 when the Ellsworth Panthers wrestling team finished in first place at the Division 2 Region 3 wrestling tournament.
The Panthers finished with 286 points, eight regional champions, and will send 12 of their 13 regional wrestlers to sectionals at Amery on Saturday, Feb. 17.
"Bringing 12 [wrestlers] to the sectional meet is pretty awesome," Ellsworth's head coach Mark Matzek said. "This keeps the guys focused on just that next step. I told the guys, 'This is all a part of our journey.'"
Bailey Poellinger (106), Owen Matzek (126), Sam Stuhl (138), Jared Lansing (145), Cedric Kosnopfal (152), Logan Melstrom (160), Dalton George (170) and Caleb Linder (220) were Ellsworth's eight champs.
Lansing, who secured his second regional title on Saturday at B-W, said his confidence has built up since he claimed his first regional championship in 2017.
"Last year I was pretty insecure about everything; I was scared to go out and wrestle new guys," Lansing said. "This year I've just kind of gone out and done my thing."
Lansing said he's not too nervous for sectionals, yet.
"Coach tells us to just take one match at a time, don't overlook anyone, and I just kind of go by that," Lansing said. "I take all of my matches like they're a state championship match and I just do what I've got to do."
Lansing pinned his way to his second regional title with pins over Prescott's Isaiah Tulip and B-W's Joe Garcia.
Carter Huppert (113), Charlie Stuhl (120), Conner Ekholm (182) and Logan Peterson (195) all took second place in their weight classes to qualify for the upcoming sectional tournament.
Charlie Stuhl, last year's Division 2 106-pound state runner-up was upset by Baldwin-Woodville's Jacek Nickowski in the 120-pound championship match. Charlie received two byes before losing 11-9 in overtime to Nickowski.
"He's disappointed," Matzek said about Charlie.
Matzek said he reminded Charlie of former Ellsworth wrestlers who have lost regional final matches then gone on to win state titles — himself included.
"It's all about making adjustments," Matzek said. "He's a true wrestler; he'll make his adjustments and come back strong. He doesn't have to focus on beating any one wrestler, he just needs to keep the focus on finishing periods correctly, riding on top correctly."
Charlie and his fellow teammates will head to Hayward on Tuesday, Feb. 13 before sectionals on Saturday, Feb. 17. Matzek said his team will work on sharpening up skills in the week to come, and will try to find the "sweet spot" in their training regimens.
"We want to push them, but not too hard right now," Matzek said. "We just need to focus on ourselves and what we need to improve on."
• Ellsworth (286)
• Baldwin-Woodville (199.5)
• Prescott (129)
• Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta/Fall Creek (91)
• Bloomer/Colfax (74)
• Regis/Altoona (54.5)
106: First-place match: Bailey Poellinger (Ellsworth) 28-10, So. over Walker Langer (Baldwin-Woodville) 21-10, So. (Fall 1:59).
113: First-place match: Ethan Tulip (Prescott) 31-5, Sr. over Carter Huppert (Ellsworth) 18-15, So. (Dec 5-2).
120: Second-place wrestleback: Charlie Stuhl (Ellsworth) 28-6, So. over Sawyer Best (Bloomer/Colfax) 31-6, So. (Dec 7-5).
126: First-place match: Owen Matzek (Ellsworth) 28-7, Sr. over Alex McCray (Baldwin-Woodville) 33-3, Sr. (Dec 9-4).
132: Third-place match: Wyatt Hines (Ellsworth) 9-6, Jr. over Kevin Kitchen (Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta/Fall Creek) 18-20, Jr. (Fall 2:55).
138: First-place match: Sam Stuhl (Ellsworth) 33-1, Sr. over Landen Lorentson (Baldwin-Woodville) 20-18, Sr. (Fall 0:33).
145: First-place match: Jared Lansing (Ellsworth) 34-5, Jr. over Joe Garcia (Baldwin-Woodville) 21-14, Jr. (Fall 1:52).
152: First-place match: Cedric Kosnopfal (Ellsworth) 22-12, Jr. over Cody Atherton (Prescott) 23-13, Sr. (Fall 3:29).
160: First-place match: Logan Melstrom (Ellsworth) 7-4, Jr. over Cody Breaker (Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta/Fall Creek) 22-19, Jr. (TF-1.5 5:15 (17-2)).
170: First-place match: Dalton George (Ellsworth) 24-7, Sr. over Blaine Guthrie (Baldwin-Woodville) 23-13, Fr. (Fall 3:40).
182: First-place match: Joe Schulte (Prescott) 27-4, So. over Connor Ekholm (Ellsworth) 14-7, Sr. (Fall 3:17).
195: First-place match: Ty Sanford (Prescott) 31-3, Sr. over Logan Peterson (Ellsworth) 22-14, So. (Dec 7-0).
220: First-place match: Caleb Linder (Ellsworth) 26-10, Sr. over Trevor Fischer (Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta/Fall Creek) 21-16, Sr. (Fall 1:02).