LODI — It was a successful day for Wisconsin Dells at Saturday’s Division 2 Lodi Regional.
Facing some stiff competition, the Chiefs shined, producing two champions and advancing eight total wrestlers onto Saturday’s Division 2 Richland Center Sectional.
Wisconsin Dells finished third as a team with 215 points, being narrowly edged out by South Central Conference foe Wautoma/Wild Rose (223.5) while the host Blue Devils (261) captured the team title.
“I think Wautoma proved they’re a little better tournament team, but the numbers show where we are,” Wisconsin Dells coach Jim McFaul said. “But to get eight through to a sectional for us is a huge number. I’m very happy with that, proud of the way the kids executed today and they showed a lot of heart.”
Leading the way for the Chiefs was the duo of Gabe Kingsley and Chester Isaacson, as the seniors captured titles at 126 and 220 pounds. Kingsley (24-8) opened his day with a pin over Poynette’s Levi Walz in 3 minutes, 41 seconds and capped off his title with a 5-2 decision over Lodi’s Jaedon Heintz.
Isaacson (15-7) was given the top seed at 220 and earned a bye into the final, pinning Lodi’s Gabe Mabin in 1:34 to take first.
“I thought, right from the get-go, that he was the best kid out there and he didn’t disappoint,” McFaul said of Kingsley. “For Chester, it’s a big step for him. He had a heartbreaking loss in the conference tournament last week and to turn around and have a championship here in the regionals, hopefully he’ll carry that momentum through to next week.”
Along with the pair of champions, the Chiefs had five wrestlers finish second to punch their tickets to Richland Center. At 106, freshman Will Van Dinter pinned Poynette’s Gwen Golueke in 4:42 in the semifinals. Van Dinter was pinned in the finals by Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Abram Lezana, but was awarded second by rule thanks to his win over Golueke.
“It just shows how much he’s improved since the start of the year,” McFaul said, noting that Van Dinter struggled against Golueke in the Royall Invitational earlier this year. “To come back and get a pin there was really big for him and he’s just been constantly getting better.”
Junior Maverick Platt also finished second by rule at 145 pounds. Platt, who has missed most of this year, including last week, due to injury, fell in the finals to Lodi’s Zach Potter, but was awarded second after pinning Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Jon Clark in 1:57 in the semifinals.
Sophomore Billy Dethloff took second by rule at 152 behind a pin over Lodi’s Jack Hansen in the semifinals and Sabastian Kontaxis finished second by rule at 160. Kontaxis was pinned by Lodi’s Max Barreau in the finals, but was awarded second after holding off Columbus’s Sean Roche, a sectional qualifier from last year, 4-3 in the semifinals.
GALLERY: Wisconsin Dells wrestling at Division 2 Lodi regional
Photos of the Wisconsin Dells wrestling team competing in the Division 2 Lodi regional on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Lodi High School. The Chiefs crowned two champions in senior Gabe Kingsley at 126 pounds and senior Chester Isaacson at 220, and qualified eight total wrestlers onto this weekend's Div. 2 Richland Center sectional.
Rounding out the second-place finishers for Wisconsin Dells was sophomore Marty Koenig, who won a second-place wrestleback at 138. Koenig upset Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Jacob Gaboury-Gortes 5-4 in the semifinals before falling to Lodi’s Branden Errthum in the championship match.
Koenig’s loss to Errthum set the table for a wrestleback match with Poynette’s Blake Shallow. Shallow led 4-2 late into the third period, but Koenig scored a late reversal and two back points in the final 20 seconds to take the lead. He added two more back points in the waning seconds to seal the 8-4 win.
“There was a lot of heart there to score four points in the last of the third period,” McFaul said. “He’s really come on the second half of the season.”
Along with the second-place finishers, junior Kayleb Galloway will advance on to sectoinals at 195 despite finishing third on Saturday. Galloway fell to Columbus’ James Roche 6-4 in the semifinals, but rebounded by pinning Gabe Pickarts in 4:39 of the third place match. In the first place match, Roche dislocated his shoulder and forfeited by injury. According to McFaul, he was notified that Roche has previously injured the shoulder and won’t compete at sectionals, awarding the spot to Galloway instead.
Wisconsin Dells came close to advancing four more onto sectionals but came up short. Sophomore Gavin Kingsley pinned Cambria-Friesland co-op’s Max Raymond in the third-place match at 132 pounds, but had to settle for third after Nicolay, who beat Kingsley in the semis, lost in the first-place match.
Junior Hunter Stenson, senior Travis Hudack and junior Kevin Coughlin all suffered the same fate at 170, 182 and 285. Stenson pinned Columbus’ Jevin Burbach in 1:39 in the third-place match at 170, but took third as Lodi’s Sawyer Helmbrecht, who beat Stenson in the semis, fell in the finals.
Hudack dropped a hard-fought 12-8 decision to Wautoma/Wild Rose’s Andrew Henschel in the semifinal at 182 and was unable to get a wrestleback after Henschel lost to Lodi’s Jacob Heyroth in the finals. Coughlin pinned Lodi’s Bryce James in the third-place match at 285, but finished third by rule after Columbus’ Tayvon Hayes, who pinned Coughlin in the semis, was pinned in the finals.
Along with the top-three finishers, sophomore Elizah Leonard took fourth at 113 and sophomore Jordon Kosterman took fifth at 120.
While he admits it would have been nice to get a couple more through to the sectional, McFaul was thoroughly pleased with his team’s effort. For the veteran head coach, the team’s progression this year has stemmed directly from a strong practice room and he knows it will be key if they want to advance wrestlers onto state.
“We’ll make sure the whole team is in the practice room for us and keep it moving, hopefully down to the state tournament in Madison,” he said. “It would be special.”
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.