Ellsworth wrestlers rally twice to win Division 2 state team title
MADISON -- Ellsworth rallied twice from deficits to win the school's fourth state wrestling championship.
The No. 2 Panthers defeated No. 4 Pewaukee 33-19 in the semifinals and No. 1 ranked Lodi 35-23 in the finals of the WIAA Division 2 state team wrestling tournament Saturday at the University of Wisconsin Field House.
Versus Lodi, Ellsworth trailed 17-3 after the 103-pound match. The Panthers rallied back with wins by Sam Huppert at 112, a key pinfall by D.J. Yarwood at 119 and a major decision by Taylor Boettcher at 125.
Spencer Kuesel also picked up a crucial pinfall 53 seconds into his match against the Blue Devils' Justin Miller at 140.
"He took a bad shot and I steered him down towards the mat and kept moving, following him until I could roll on top of him," Kuesel said.
State individual champion Hayden Hauschildt clinched the championship with his 5-0 win at 145 over Tony Zeman. Ellsworth's Shawn Helmueller won the final match 8-6 over Dakota Cable at 160.
Against Pewaukee, Ellsworth rallied from a 15-0 deficit to win nine of the next 10 matches. Ellsworth lost the first four matches as the Pirates moved up some of its best wrestlers one or two weight classes.
But then Panthers freshman Brent Stockwell pinned the Pirates Sean Braden in 1 minute, 19 seconds at 119 pounds to halt Pewaukee's momentum.
"I knew we needed a fresh start and that's what I wanted to provide for the team," Stockwell said.
Ellsworth coach Jack Radabaugh lauded the way his team stayed focused despite trailing in both matches.
"The kids wrestled the way they knew they had to," Radabaugh said. "Even the kids who lost didn't give up big points. That's why our team has such a good dual meet mindset and why they are state dual meet champions."
The Panthers finished with a record of 17-7 overall.