Gabe Guralski

Gabe Guralski wrestles a match earlier in the season. Guralski is one of six Warrior JV wrestlers to qualify for the Varsity Reserve Challenge in Wausau on Jan. 25.

The Warrior wrestling team continues to roll.

Waunakee blew out Mount Horeb on Friday in a Badger North dual before heading to River Valley for an invitational on Saturday, where they claimed the top spot.

Waunakee 65,

Mount Horeb 3

In winning 12 matches wrestled on Friday night, the Warriors certainly made a statement. Though the Vikings aren’t near the top of the Badger North, Waunakee’s seven first-period pins – by Nick Schweitzer at 126, Braysen Ellis at 138, Berhett Statz at 145, Kyle Wilcox at 152, Kaden Hooker at 160, Colton Grindle at 170 and Jack Schweitzer at 220 – ensured the match wouldn’t be a close one.

Starting at 182, Dan Ford put the Warriors on the right track with a 9-6 victory to open the night’s matches. Following that was a 12-8 win at 195 by Chase Borchardt.

“He hasn’t gotten much varsity action…” Waunakee’s Head Coach Mark Natzke said of Borchardt. “For him to get a win, the guys were pumped up about that.”

With a pin by Coltan Nechvatal at 113, a technical fall by Sam Lorenz at 132 and a forfeit win for Kolby Heinz at 120, it all added up to a lopsided 65-3 win for the Warriors.

Waunakee then traveled to River Valley the next morning to compete in the Rick Lawinger Invite.

Rick Lawinger Invite

In River Valley, the Warriors took the top spot as a team, racking up 208.5 points. Finishing behind them were Chilton/Hilbert – ranked 10th in Division 2 – with 184.5 points and Scott West (MN) – ranked third in Minnesota’s Class 2A – with 183 points.

“We had some injuries and a couple guys out, so we only ended up having 10 guys,” said Natzke. “The guys we had, they went out and battled.”

Seven Waunakee wrestlers earned spots in first-place matches, while the remaining three wrestled for third place.

“One of the things that impressed me: going into the final round, we were up seven points over Chilton/Hilbert and Scott West wasn’t far behind,” added Natzke. “We went 9-1 in the finals.”

Taking first place on the day were Heinz at 120, Nick Schweitzer at 126, Ellis at 138, Statz at 145, Grindle at 170 and Jack Schweitzer at 195.

Ellis had perhaps the most impressive win of the day, defeating Chilton/Hilbert’s Maverik Ott – ranked fifth in the state at 138 pounds in Division 2 – 8-4 in his first-place match.

“[Ellis] handled him throughout the match…” said Natzke, noting how the first-place match wasn’t the only big win of the day for Ellis. “In the semifinal match, he wrestled a kid from Reedsburg who had beaten him two or three times last year. [Ellis] beat him in overtime…”

Lorenz took second at 132, while Jayden Freie (106), Wilcox (152) and Hooker (160) each finished in third place in their weight classes.

Waunakee also sent a group of wrestlers to Sauk Prairie on Friday for the Varsity Reserve Challenge Series Qualifier.

Varsity Reserve Challenge Series Qualifier

With a spot at the Varsity Reserve Challenge in Wausau on the line, Waunakee’s primarily JV wrestlers were eager to earn their way to the biggest JV tournament in the state.

“You get to go and wrestle against the best kids who aren’t on varsity in the state…” said Natzke. “It’s the big tournament for the JV kids.”

Needing to place in the top three to advance, Waunakee saw six wrestlers earn their spot. Gabe Guralski at 126 and Jacob Lyftogt at 160 both won their brackets with undefeated records, with every win coming via pin. Borchardt took second at 182, while Robert Lofreddo at 120, Sam Jezik at 145 and Riley Fackrell at 145 all took third place.

Waunakee’s six qualifiers will make the trip to Wausau on Saturday, January 25, where they’ll shoot to continue their success.

As for the rest of the team, they’ll return home on Friday for a Badger North dual meet against Beaver Dam. Start time at the Waunakee High School Fieldhouse is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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