[Individual Sectional:] Hurlburt dominates his Ladysmith opponent. Photo by Jon Tanberg
[Individual Sectional:] Hurlburt dominates his Ladysmith opponent. Photo by Jon Tanberg

INDEPENDENCE, WI - The Spring Valley/Elmwood wrestling team brought five wrestlers to the WIAA Individual Sectional tournament this past weekend. Those same five wrestlers are in Madison today as they all advanced to the WIAA Individual State Tournament this week.

Seniors Cruze Hurlburt and Dylan Bune earned a first-day bye at Madison by claiming individual sectional championships in their brackets.

Senior Seth Schlegel, junior Nick Hofacker and sophomore Carter Merth all finished in second place at their weight classes.

Bune began his day with a quarterfinal match win over Reid Olson of Cumberland with a 6-4 decision. He won his semifinal match with a tech fall (18-3) win over Hunter Bruhn of Phillips to make it to the championship match. The 126-pound championship match pitted Bune against Andrew Gunderson of Cadott. Gunderson had beaten Bune in the Regional in Clear Lake a week earlier with a 9-4 decision. Bune was able to turn the tables on Gunderson with a 9-6 decision win in the sectional championship. Bune will wrestle the winner of the Thursday match between Zach Foth of Laconia and Billy Ganter of Coleman on Friday morning.

Hurlburt won his 145 pound opening match with a 7-0 decision over Isaiah Skidmore of Cumberland and followed that up with a tech fall win over Josiah Cook of Bayfield/Washburn , 16-1. Hurlburt then wasted little time in the championship match with a first period win by fall over Steven Jerry of Ladysmith. Hurlburt will open his tournament on Friday morning by wrestling the winner of the Thursday match between Guenther Hebbe of Princeton and Levi Snortum of Shiocton.

Schlegel won his first match by technical fall over Lance Schwaller of Flambeau 19-4. He followed that up with a semifinal match win over Chad Waldera of Blair-Taylor with a 9-6 decision. Schlegel is ranked second in the state at 132 pounds, he faced the number one ranked state wrestler in Tate Murty of Cochrane-Fountain City. Murty won the championship with a 10-2 decision over Schlegel. Schlegel will open his run for a state title on Thursday where he will face          Jacob Luckow of Mishicot. When he wins he will face Jake Drexler of Stratford, the third ranked wrestler in the state.

Merth lost his opening match to Luke Clark of Saint Croix Falls in his opening match by a 7-0 decision for an uphill battle the rest of the day. Clark would eventually win the weight class. Merth had to work his way into the opportunity to advance. In the consolation semifinal he won by major decision (13-2) over Dakota Hoffman of Bruce. He won the third place match with a very tight 2-1 decision win over Bryce Johnson of Mondovi to earn his way into the wrestleback match. He faced another familiar face in Justin Malean of Boyceville, whom he beat in a 4-3 decision, to take second place in the 170 pound bracket. Malean had come in as the regional champion. For his effforts, Merth will wrestle on Thursday against Tyler Mosley of Darlington/Black Hawk. If he wins on Thursday he will face number one ranked Helton Vandenbush of Random Lake on Friday.

Hofacker, wrestling at 182, opened his run with a win by fall over Kyle Nelson of Ladysmith in the first period and followed that up with a 4-2 semifinal decision win over Gio Torres of Cumberland to reach the championship match. Hofacker ran into a familiar foe there in Boyceville’s James Palmer. Palmer is the top ranked wrestler in the state in Division 3 and Hofacker was not much of a match for him as he lost by fall to Palmer in the first period, he didn’t have to wrestle in the wrestleback though. Hofacker will open his state tournament on Thursday by facing Stephen Schostok of Kensington Christian Life. If he wins Thursday, Hofacker will earn the opportunity to wrestle Alex Peplinski of Wittenberg-Birn.

Wrestling for the opening round begins on Thursday for the Cardinals, championship matches are on Saturday for the individual championships. All the individual wrestling state championships are held at the Kohl Center on the UW campus. Tickets are $8 per session with five complete sessions from Thursday to Saturday.

The Team State is on Saturday, March 4 at 10:00 a.m. at the UW-Field House. The Spring Valley/Elmwood squad will face Fennimore in the semifinals with the opportunity to wrestle the winner of the Stratford vs. Random Lake winner at 3:00 p.m.