Opportunities were knocking at the door.
Waunakee wrestlers couldn’t take advantage of them in a 56-22 dual meet loss to Beaver Dam/Wayland Academy on Friday, Jan. 7, at home.
“The guys who got pins and ended up winning; they went out and wrestled well and took care of business,” said Warrior Head Coach Mark Natzke. “We didn’t win any of the matches that could have gone either way. We just needed a little more to pull off some upsets.”
Down 9-0, Waunakee got on the scoreboard when Jackson Lenzendorf pinned Keegan Jacobs in 31 seconds, but Beaver Dam/Wayland Academy was awarded three straight forfeits to make it 27-6.
A couple of wins at 126 and 132 helped the Warriors get back in it, as Jayden Freie dominated Ren Nickel in a 9-0 major decision, and Coltan Nechvatal pinned Matthew Hendrix in 2:49, respectively.
Gabe Guralski also won by fall, catching Broc Mullenbach in 2:15 at 145 for Waunakee’s last points.
Wrestling at 152, Waunakee’s Robert Lofreddo was locked in a 4-4 tie with Easton Warden in the third period, when Warden caught Lofreddo for a Beaver Dam/Wayland Academy pin in 4:58. That was one of the close matches that could have tipped the scales for the Warriors.
In the junior varsity match, Waunakee squeezed out a 20-18 win.
On Saturday, the Warriors’ varsity reserve wrestlers competed at the Wisconsin Challenge Series Sauk Prairie Qualifier for a chance to go the state meet in two weeks. Seven Waunakee athletes earned a place at state with their performances at Sauk Prairie, with the Warriors winning the team meet.
Waunakee had five champions, including Max McKinley (126), Dane Spencer (132), Tyler Endres (132), Joe Kaney (170) and Jacob Lyftogt (195). Ian Hamilton (126) also qualified, as did Harrison May at 160, who placed third. Wrestlers who placed in the top three are all moving on to state.
“It was all guys who’ve been bouncing back and forth (between varsity and JV), or they’ve been wrestling behind someone else,” said Natzke. “Those guys are the future of the program. We had a great day with those seven guys. We put some good quality matches together.”
Next up for Waunakee is a trip to DeForest on Thursday, Jan. 13, followed by the River Valley Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 15.