LODI — The Lodi wrestling team and regional titles go together like peanut butter and jelly, so it was no surprise the host Blue Devils came out on top at the WIAA Division 2 regional they hosted on Saturday.
Lodi racked up five individual champions and had a total of 10 sectional qualifiers en route to a meet-high 261 points to capture its 28th overall and 25th consecutive regional title. With the win, the sixth-ranked Blue Devils will take on fourth-ranked Prairie Du Chien in Tuesday’s a team sectional semifinal in Viroqua at 6 p.m. The winner of the semifinal will take on the winner of the other semifinal between Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau and Evansville/Albany in a dual at 8 p.m. for the right to compete at the WIAA team state tournament on March 3.
It wasn’t a cakewalk for Lodi, a state semifinalist last year, as both Wautoma/Wild Rose (223.5) and Wisconsin Dells (215) made a strong push for first place.
“It was awesome to have a really competitive regional,” Lodi coach Cody Endres said. “I think it’s going to help our guys and keep them ready to go both on Tuesday at team sectional and individual sectionals on Saturday.”
Leading the way for the Blue Devils was the trio of junior Garrett Moll and seniors Max Barreau and Jacob Heyroth. Moll, ranked No. 3 at 120 pounds in Division 2 by WiWrestling.com, breezed to the 120-pound title, picking up two first-period pins, including one over Columbus’ Sal Genco in 55 seconds in the first-place match.
Barreau, ranked No. 9 at 170, dropped down to 160 pounds and followed Moll’s lead earning two pins. After knocking off Cambria-Friesland co-op’s Wesley Bancroft in the semifinals, Barreau pinned Wisconsin Dells’ Sabastian Kontaxis in 5:20 in the championship match.
Heyroth faced the toughest challenge of the day as he faced off against fourth-ranked Andrew Henschel from Wautoma/Wild Rose in the 182-pound final. Henschel was no match for the second-ranked Heyroth, as the Lodi senior rolled to a 9-1 major decision win.
“They’re just zoned in,” Endres said of the trio. “They’re competitors; they know what they want as the end of the year approaches and they’ve been training for this.”
Lodi senior Branden Errthum and sophomore Zach Potter also bagged regional titles on Saturday. Errthum pinned Wisconsin Dells’ Marty Koenig in 1:59 in the 138-pound championship match while Potter earned a 10-4 decision over Wisconsin Dells’ Maverick Platt in the final at 145 pounds.
GALLERY: Division 2 Lodi wrestling regional
Photos of the Lodi, Poynette, Cambria-Friesland co-op and Columbus wrestling teams competing in the Division 2 Lodi regional on Saturday, Feb. 10. The Blue Devils captured their 25th consecutive team regional title with 261 points, while the Cardinals (99), Pumas (62) and Hilltoppers (40) finished fourth, fifth and sixth.
“For him to win a regional title and put himself in a position to potentially qualify for individual state is awesome,” Endres said of Errthum. “And I don’t think Zach’s ever won a varsity tournament before and for his first one to be at regionals is pretty good for him.”
Along with the first-place finishers, the Blue Devils had five runners-up in senior Jacob Harland (113), junior Jaedon Heintz (126), sophomores Colton Nicolay (132) and Sawyer Helmbrecht (170) and senior Gabe Mabin (220).
The 10 who finished first or second qualified for the Richland Center Sectional next Saturday, but the Blue Devils must first compete in Tuesday’s team sectional.
The path to the team state tournament won’t be easy, as the other three teams competing in Tuesday’s team sectional in Viroqua are also ranked, but Endres thinks his team is up for the challenge.
“I think these guys are excited to compete,” he said. “They’ve put so much work into this year and wrestling is such a long year. These guys have put in the work and they’re ready to go.”
Poynette junior Justin Taylor claimed the 152-pound bracket to advance to sectionals. Taylor (28-14) pinned Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Zach Nelson in 3:37 in the semifinal and later held off Wisconsin Dells’ Billy Dethloff in the finals to punch his ticket to Richland Center.
The Pumas, who scored 62 points as a team to finish fifth, almost advanced all four of their wrestlers to sectionals, but the other three came up just short. At 106 pounds, Gwen Golueke was pinned by Wisconsin Dells’ Will Van Dinter in the semifinals.
The sophomore rebounded with a pin over Lodi’s Mason Marchand in the third-place match, but didn’t get a chance at second place after van Dinter lost in the finals.
Poynette juniors Levi Walz and Blake Shallow both earned second-place wrestleback matches at 126 and 138. After beating Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Ethan Kubasta 16-10 in the third-place match, Walz was pinned by Lodi’s Jaedon Heintz in 2:50. Shallow followed his semifinal loss with a pin of Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Jacob Gaboury-Gorges for third place, but like Walz, fell to Wisconsin Dells’ Marty Koenig 8-4 in the wrestleback.
Against some stiff competition, the Cambria-Friesland co-op struggled and didn’t advance anyone onto the sectional round. The Hilltoppers, who finished sixth with 40 points, were unable to get anyone into position for a wrestleback match.
Sophomores Max Papp (120) and Max Raymond (132) and Bancroft all fell in the semifinals before each ultimately finished fourth. Senior Jacob Raymond (126) and junior Jacob Roche (170) each took fifth.
DIVISION 2 LODI REGIONAL
Team scores: Lodi 261, Wautoma/Wild Rose 223.5, Wisconsin Dells 215, Columbus 99, Poynette 62, Cambria-Friesland co-op 40.