As they have traditionally done in the past, the Lodi prep wrestling team is wrestling its best in the WIAA postseason.
The Blue Devils hosted a WIAA Division 2 team sectional on Feb. 18 and reached the championship dual.
Lodi defeated Evansville 46-27 to reach the sectional final, but fell short of advancing to the team state tournament after falling 40-30 to Prairie du Chien.
The Blue Devils followed it up with a strong showing at the Evansville Individual Sectional last Saturday. They had four wrestlers punch their tickets to the state tournament.
The WIAA state individual tournament will start on Feb. 27 at the Kohl Center in Madison and will run through Saturday. The first round in Division 2 is set for 7 p.m. on Feb. 27.
The Blue Devils finished third behind Prairie du Chien (123) and Beloit Turner (90) on Saturday with 89 points.
Lodi had sophomore 106-pounder Parker Heintz, sophomore 120-pounder Chandler Curtis, senior 152-pounder Colton Nicolay and senior 170-pounder Sawyer Helmbrecht advance to state with top-three finishes.
“Individual Sectionals is always a tough day,” Lodi coach Cody Endres said. “It’s filled with a lot of highs and a lot of lows and Saturday was no different. We are ecstatic for Parker, Chandler, Colton, and Sawyer. At the same time, our hearts break for the guys who didn’t advance and achieve their goals, and for the seniors who had their careers end on Saturday.
“The cool thing about our 4 State Qualifiers is that all of these guys have goals to win and place at the state tournament,” he added. “Sometimes you get guys who are just happy to be there and they treat it like a vacation. Whereas these guys are on a mission and treating it as a business trip.”
Helmbrecht and Curtis both claimed sectional titles, while Nicolay was the runner-up. Heintz finished in third place.
Curtis pinned his first two opponents and then defeated Beloit Turner’s Devon Harbison 8-3 in the championship match.
Curtis (35-8) will face either Luxemburg-Casco’s Hunter Joriaux (34-13) or Plymouth’s Devin Gore (28-10) in the state quarterfinals on Friday.
Helmbrecht is headed back to state after pinning all three of his opponents on Saturday. He pinned Prairie du Chien’s Bradyn Saint in 4 minutes, 37 seconds in the finals.
Helmbrecht (35-3) will face either Berlin’s Brady Wagner (28-11) or Max Ramberg (36-7) in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Nicolay had to battle back after a 4-3 overtime loss to Turner’s Treveon Bivens in the semifinals to earn a return trip to state. He defeated Viroqua’s Aaron Dobs 11-5 in the third-place match and then pinned Whitewater’s Carter Friend in 2:40 in the second-place wrestleback.
Nicolay (35-12) will face Lake County Lutheran’s Steven Johnson (22-8) in the opening round at state on Thursday.
Heintz earned his second trip to state. He pinned Monroe’s Jack Dubach in 3:17 in the third-place match.
Heintz (34-12) will take on Oconto Falls’ Graeson Pankratz (26-12) to open the state tournament on Thursday.
Lodi sophomore heavyweight Wyatt Ripp just missed out on a trip to state after placing fourth. He fell 3-1 to Edgerton’s Reed Farrington in the third-place match.
The Blue Devils also had sophomore 126-pounder Dean Finney, freshman 132-pounder Zane Licht, senior 145-pounder Zach Potter, senior 160-pounder Jack Hansen, senior 182-pounder Ben Simplot and sophomore 195-pounder Brock Beyer compete at the sectional, but they were unable to place.
The Blue Devils were looking for their first trip to the state team tournament since 2017, but came up a win short.
Lodi opened their team sectional with an impressive 46-27 victory over Evansville in the semifinals.
“We wrestled lights out against Evansville.” Endres said. “Less than a month ago, we lost to them by 26 points. That’s a 45 point turn around, which is unheard of in duals. I think it’s a testament to our guys wrestling their best at the end of the year, and our hard schedule preparing guys for the end of the year.”
The Blue Devils jumped out to a 10-0 lead after Ripp (285) defeated Waylon Klitzman 12-4 and Heintz (106) pinned Caleb Miller in 49 seconds.
Curtis (120) rolled to a 16-1 technical fall over Gavin Frey to put Lodi up 15-4.
After Evansville tied the dual at 15, Lodi got consecutive wins by Licht (138), Potter (145), Nicolay (152), Hansen (160) and Helmbrecht (170).
Licht started the run by pinning Nicholas Barmore in 1:05, while Potter followed with an 18-5 major decision over Evan Senter. Nicolay pinned Riley Long in 47 seconds, while Hansen edged Patrick Crull 7-3. Helmbrecht closed the run with a fall in 4:15 against Rickey Braunschweig.
Bryce James (220) closed out the dual for Lodi by pinning Cutter Lange in 1:18.
Prairie du Chien, which defeated Richland Center 65-18 in the semifinals, ended the Blue Devils season as a team with a 40-30 win in the championship dual.
After falling behind 9-0, Lodi got on the scoreboard when Curtis (120) pinned Maddox Cejka in 22 seconds.
Trailing 19-6, the Blue Devils got back in the meet with wins by Licht (138), Potter (145) and Nicolay (152). Licht defeated Matt Rogge 6-0, while Potter scored a 13-1 major decision over Chase Fisher. Nicolay pinned Brogan Brewer in 2:38.
Simplot and Ripp had the final two wins for the Blue Devils at 182 and heavyweight, respectively. Simplot pinned Ben Riter in 1:27, while Ripp received a forfeit.