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Ellsworth's Andrew Swanson will be the Panthers' first competitor to wrestle at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Meet.

State high school individual wrestling tournament begins today (PCH Wrestling Honor Roll)

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MADISON -  The 71st WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament begins at 3 p.m today at the Kohl Center.

The Division 1 preliminary matches start the day's action followed by D-1 quarterfinals at 5:15 p.m. Division 2 and 3 prelims will begin at 7:15 p.m.

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It will be a big day for the Ellsworth High School wrestling team as they will have eight of their school-record 12-person contingent competing this evening. The Panthers have the largest number of participants of any school or co-op team at the state meet and are certainly to eagar to prove to fans across the state their numerous entries were more than just the product off a less-than-competitive sectional. However, some of their wrestlers will face some very tough first round match-ups and the one on the losing side of the final score is eliminated from the tournament immediately.

The Division 2 action for the Panthers begins right away at 106 pounds as Andrew Swanson (14-7) takes on Pewaukee's Rajiv Geffert (38-10). Ellsworth's Anders Lantz (36-13) faces Edgerton's Sonny Schleidt (39-4) at 120; Brad Cain (32-11) faces Mosinee's Riley Ivaska (31-13) at 132; Jacob Fuchs (17-11) faces Joey Seitz of Kewaskum (35-10) at 145; Josh Hines (31-13) wrestles Bryce Bennot (40-4) of Wautoma/Wild Rose at 152; Dennis Schutz (22-3) takes on Brett Handschke of New London (36-10) at 182; Brock Steldt (39-13) faces David Gunderson (27-17) of Portage and the EHS's day will conclude late in the evening when Brodey Kemmerer (21-12) faces Peshtigo's Andrew Johnston (41-4).

Schleidt is ranked No. 8 the state at 120 (Anders Lantz was honorable mention) while Cain vs. Ivanka will be a match-up of top 10 wrestlers. Bennot was ranked No. 4 before regionals, Handschke was No. 6 and Johnston was ranked No. 4.

Ellsworth's four sectional champions, Jens Lantz at 126, Tristen Mueller at 138; Gabe Frandsen at 160 and Logan Kemmerer at 170 will hit the mat tomorrow, already byed into the quarterfinals starting at 11:15 a.m.  

Lantz is in his fourth straight state meet and going for his fourth title to become only the 13th wrestler in state history to reach that goal while Frandsen will look to win his second state crown. Panther wrestlers Logan Kemmerer and Brad Cain are both state meet veterans while the rest of the Ellsworth crew will compete in the Kohl Center for the first time, something which pleases EHS head coach Chad Steldt a lot.

"Some our wrestlers have in our program for a long time and behind other wrestlers on the depth chart," Steldt said. "It may seem like a thankless task to wrestle the starters day in and out but you can appreciate the fact those kids stuck with it and when they got opportunities to move up to varsity they took advantage of them. It's very gratifying." 

Spring Valley/Elmwood will have just two wrestlers competing this evening in the Division 3 prelims. Trent Miller (34-11) will go up against Weston/Ithaca's Mason McCauley (39-7) at 160 and Kevin Fesenmaier (37-10) will wrestle Ruben Hill of Kenosha Christian Life (34-11) at 170. McCauley was ranked No. 8 before regionals while Fesenmaier was ranked No. 6 (Miller received honorable mention as did Hill.)

Tomorrow five SVE wrestlers will start quarterfinals action,  the Redbrids sectional champions Cruze Hurlburt at 120, Tyler Berg at 126, Zach Newton at 145, Jed Schlegel at 152 and Ethan Hofacker at 195. Only Newton has wrestled in the state meet before. SVE's group of seven wrestlers is one of the largest in the D-3 field of teams. 

For more on the state individual tournament, here's the WIAA preview.

Pierce County Herald Wrestling Honor Roll (records .500 or above as of Feb. 27)

106 - Andrew Webb, SVE, 32-9; Sam Hoopingarner, Prescott, 30-13, Sawyer Strom, Ellsworth, 23-10; Andrew Swanson, Ellsworth, 14-7

113 -  Derek Huebel, SVE, 30-7; Gabe Mancino, Ellsworth, 26-21

120 - Cruze Hurlburt, SVE, 41-1; Anders Lantz, Ellsworth, 36-13 

126 - Jens Lantz, Ellsworth, 38-1; Tyler Berg, SVE, 41-4; Paul Hansen, Prescott, 28-9

132 - Alex Stuhl, Prescott, 32-9; Brad Cain, Ellsworth, 32-11; Logan Newton, SVE, 32-12; Riley Melstrom, Ellsworth, 15-11

138 -  Tristen Mueller, Ellsworth, 32-10; Isaiah Eitrem, SVE, 12-5; Ryan Berg, SVE, 16-15;

145 - Zach Newton, SVE, 38-7;  Nick Opdahl, Prescott, 18-10; Jacob Fuchs, Ellsworth, 17-11

152 - Troy Urman, Prescott, 33-3; Jed Schlegel, SVE, 37-5; Josh Hines, Ellsworth, 31-13

160 - Gabe Frandsen, Ellsworth, 50-1; Trent Miller, SVE, 34-11; Matthew McNurlin, Prescott, 17-17

170 - Logan Kemmerer, Ellsworth, 41-3; Kevin Fesenmaier, SVE, 37-10

182 - Dennis Schutz, Ellsworth; 22-3; Brady Zimmer, Ellsworth, 11-8; Tyler Miller, Prescott, 31-13; Chris Craft, SVE, 23-18

195 - Ethan Hofacker, SVE,33-3; Brock Steldt, Ellsworth, 27-12

220 -  Mike Roesler, SVE, 23-17; Ken Stowe, Ellsworth, 26-17;

285 - D.J. Wheeler, SVE, 28-15; Brodey Kemmerer, Ellsworth, 21-13 

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