Even though the season looked much different, the Poynette prep wrestling team put together another special season.
“This season was definitely a different and challenging season for our wrestlers, but that didn’t stop us from making the most of it,” Puma coach Nate Leu said. “Finishing second in conference was a little disappointing for the team, but was still an amazing accomplishment.”
The Pumas had a limited schedule this winter. They did not compete in a tournament until the WIAA postseason.
Poynette opened the season with a 42-30 victory over visiting Waterloo. The Pumas then knocked off visiting Cambridge 42-24.
The Pumas made it three straight wins after edging visiting Columbus 28-27.
In a quadrangular at River Valley, Poynette came away with wins against Dodgeville (42-24) and River Valley (40-27), but lost to Cuba City (39-27).
“As a team, our biggest highlight was our dual against River Valley,” Leu said. “As a team, we were solid that night and really showcased our strength as a team.”
Poynette closed out the regular season with a home triple dual. The Pumas defeated Lake Mills 30-24, but lost to Mount Horeb 35-30.
The Pumas opened the WIAA Division 3 post season with a second place finish at the Waterloo Regional. They had 113-pounder Isaiah Gauer, 138-pounder Cash Stewart, 145-pounder Gunnar Hamre, 152-pounder James Amacher and 160-pounder Owen Bahr advance out of the regional. Gauer, Stewart, Hamre and Bahr all claimed titles.
“What I will remember most is the mental toughness and perseverance of my wrestlers in a very challenging season,” Leu said. “We could have written this season off and looked to the next year, but instead every kid in that room pushed each other and wanted to compete at their best no matter what the season looked like.”
Poynette garnered seventh place at the Dodgeland Sectional and Stewart and Hamre both advanced to state. Stewart claimed a sectional title, while Hamre placed second.
Stewart, who won a state title in 2020, appeared in the state tournament for a third time. He fell short of repeating and placing third.
In his second state tournament appearance, Hamre garnered third place.
Kyle Attoe was the Pumas’ lone senior this season.
“Kyle will be missed by the team,” Leu said. “He was always there for the team all four years and pushed everyone he wrestled. He may not have been the most vocal in the room, but led through example and helped build the comradeship in the team through his actions.”
With the return of nearly the entire team, including Stewart and Hamre, Leu is already excited about next season.
“I think a lot of the team is still very much hungry for competition and want to continue the success they have had from this shortened season,” Leu said.