The Poynette prep wrestling team may have not had a lot of team success, but the Pumas had one of their most talented lineups in program history.
Forfeits kept the Pumas from dual success, but the wrestlers they put on the mat were impressive.
“This was another great season for Poynette wrestling,” Puma coach Nate Leu said. “It has been a while since Poynette has sent multiple kids to state and had six kids make it to sectionals.”
Poynette opened the season by placing third at the Royall Invite. The Pumas then went 2-3 at the Capitol North Conference Dual Tournament.
After placing sixth at the Mount Horeb Invite, Poynette was 21st at the ultra-competitive Mid-States Classic in Whitewater. The Pumas then by placed eighth at the Sauk Prairie Invite and fourth at the Markesan Invite.
“What I will remember most about the season is the great tournament finishes we had,” Leu said.
Poynette opened the postseason by placing fourth at the Capitol Conference Tournament. They garnered 157 points to finish behind only Lodi (328.5), Marshall (178) and Waterloo (171).
Sophomore 126-pounder Cash Stewart and freshman 138-pounder Gunnar Hamre both claimed conference titles, while freshman 106-pounder Isaiah Gauer, sophomore 113-pounder Aiden Pinheiro and freshman 132-pounder James Amacher all placed second.
Senior 120-pounder Gwen Golueke (seventh), sophomore 145-pounder Owen Bahr (fourth) and junior 152-pounder Kyle Attoe (fifth) also placed at the conference tournament.
The Pumas finished third at the WIAA Division 3 Johnson Creek Regional.
Poynette had Gauer (106), Stewart (120), Amacher (126) and Hamre (138) win regional crowns, while Pinheiro (113) and Bahr (152) were second.
Junior 132-pounder Matthew Bartz (2-3), junior 145-pounder Adam Hehl (1-5) and sophomore 160-pounder Dylan Elsing 1-2) had their respective seasons come to an end at the regional.
Poynette finished fifth at the Dodgeland Sectional and advanced three wrestlers to the state tournament.
Stewart and Hamre both claimed individual sectional titles, while Amacher placed third to advance to state.
Gauer (20-17), Pinheiro (27-13) and Bahr (22-20) failed to place at the sectional tournament and had their seasons come to an end.
The season culminated with the biggest highlight of the season, Stewart claiming the program’s first-ever state title.
Stewart concluded his second trip to state by earning a thrilling 4-3 overtime victory over Boyceville’s Josiah Berg in the championship match.
Stewart finished the season 44-1.
Hamre concluded his outstanding freshman season by placing fourth at state. He finished the year 44-3.
Amacher lost his only match at state and finished the season 30-9.
Golueke is the only senior on this year’s Puma squad.
“She was an amazing wrestler, racking up 76 varsity wins in her career,” Leu said. “She had a lot of firsts for our program. She was the first female wrestler with a winning varsity record, the first Badger State Wrestling Girls Tournament champion, the first female wrestler on the team to make it to sectionals and so many other great accomplishments. She led by example and was a great person on and off the mat. She will be sorely missed.”
With nearly all of its roster returning next season, including three state qualifiers, the future looks bright for the Pumas.
“Next season looks to be an even better season than this one with all but one varsity wrestler returning,” Leu said. “A lot of the wrestlers are planning on doing some off-season work to improve and build off of their success from this season.”