With only nine wrestlers competing at the Badger Conference Tournament in Watertown last Saturday, the DeForest prep wrestling team faced a tough challenge.
The already short-handed Norskies had to compete without sophomore Brody Hemauer. The returning conference finalist was out with an illness.
The Norskies had just three wrestlers place and they finished 13th as a team. They came away with 57 team points.
“It was a tough day for us,” DeForest coach Tyler Rauls said. “The kids competed hard, but now we have to get back in the practice room and refocus for the WIAA postseason. We still have a lot of goals in front of us.”
Stoughton repeated as champions after collecting 326 team points, followed in the top five by Milton (240), Waunakee (215.5), Baraboo (208.5) and Fort Atkinson (181).
After factoring in the results from the conference tournament and dual season, Waunakee and Baraboo tied for the overall Badger North title. DeForest finished in a tie with Beaver Dam for sixth place.
Senior 113-pounder Chase Shortreed was the highest placewinner for the Norskies. He worked his way to third place.
After pinning his first two opponents in the first period, Shortreed suffered a heartbreaking 4-3 loss to Watertown’s Oscar Wilkowski in the semifinals. Wilkowski went on to win the title with a pin in the finals.
Shortreed bounced back to pin Monona Grove’s Jaden Denman in 2 minutes, 29 seconds during the consolation round. He followed it up with a 16-2 major decision over Monroe’s Garrett Voegeli in the third-place match.
“He finished well, but it was tough to see him come up a point short in the semifinal match,” Rauls said. “He was able to refocus and finish the day strong.”
The Norskies had sophomore Jacob Larson place seventh at 126 pounds.
After getting pinned by Milton’s Hunter Kieliszewski in the opening round, Larson closed out the tournament with four wins.
Larson won 8-6 over Monroe’s Brady Schuh during an ultimate-tiebreaker during the seventh-place match.
“That was a big win for Jacob,” Rauls said. “He keeps taking steps in the right direction.”
Freshman 120-pounder Luke Barske was the only other Norski to place. He worked his way to eighth place.
Barske pinned Oregon’s Dakota Brown in the first round, but was pinned by Waunakee’s Kolby Heinz in the quarterfinals.
Barske battled back to earn a spot in the seventh-place match, where he was pinned in the first period by Reedsburg’s Ryan Schneider.
“I’m very happy for Luke,” Rauls said. “He has been working hard and this is a great way to start his conference career.”
Austin Schuster (132), Koby Prellwitz (152), Kyle Blum (170), Isaah Foges (182), Peyton Laufenberg (195) and Jagger Lokken (220) also wrestled for the Norskies but didn’t place.
DeForest will be at the WIAA Division 1 Middleton Regional at 10 a.m. this Saturday. The Norskies will be joined by Madison East, Madison Memorial, Madison West, Middleton, Mount Horeb, Verona and Waunakee.
“We have to keep working hard in the practice room and focus on individual success at regionals and sectionals,” Rauls said.