Hatchet grapplers Finish 11th at Oshkosh

By Matt Turkiewicz

Over the holiday break, the Tomahawk Hatchet Wrestling team traveled to the 29th annual Lourdes Academy On The Water Classic, held at UW-Oshkosh. Outside of the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament, The Lourdes Academy tournament is considered one of the toughest tournaments held in Wisconsin. This year’s tournament featured a multitude of ranked teams across all three divisions, as well as a number of ranked wrestlers.

Heading into the finals, the 28 wrestlers left wrestling for a championship had a combined record of over 400 wins, next to only 20 combined losses on the season. The Hatchets ended the two-day tournament 11th, while Coleman won the tournament.

Starting at 106 pounds, Addison Peissig made his first appearance at Oshkosh. Peissig wrestled hard the first day, but ultimately ended up not qualifying for day two. At 113 pounds, Chris Bushong lost his first match before scoring a pin for the Hatchets on the consolation side. Bushong had a tough task his next match, and eventually fell to Noah Tonsor of Slinger, who ended the tournament placing fourth. Next weight class up was 120 pounds, where Lance Knight was bounced from the tournament the first day after being caught in a couple bad scrambles that cost him matches and ended his tournament early.

Luke Knight, competing at 126, was the first of seven Hatchets to advance to the second day. Luke opened his tournament with a major decision, before falling in his second match. Luke advanced to day two with a fall over Jack McDonough of Deerfield. Luke came up short his first match of day two and ended the tournament with a no-place. The Hatchet 132-pounder, Mason Evans, started his tournament off with a fall before falling in his second match. Evans rebounded with a major in consolation action, before losing a tight 3-1 decision to end his tournament.  Competing at 138 pounds was Micah Arnott, who opened his tournament off with a 13-1 major decision. Arnott lost his second match and came back with a 5-1 decision before falling out the tournament with a loss his next match.

Alex Bishop, in the 145-pound weight class, became the second day two qualifier for the Hatchets, starting with a quick 26 second pin in his first match. Bishop’s second match ended with a come-from behind 4-3 win with a tough end of the third period ride out. Bishop lost his third match of the day, but qualified for the second day with an overtime take down in his fourth match. Bishop lost his first match of day two and finished with a no-place. At 152, Tom Rigney fell out the tournament the first day, despite wrestling hard and giving full effort both matches. Logan Bishop, wrestling at 160 pounds, became the third Hatchet day two qualifier and first wrestler to place at the tournament. Logan started off with a pin, before being caught in a freak scramble his second match. Logan responded with three straight wins in consolation before falling again. Logan won his next two matches, including a thrilling third period fall, to claim 9th place for the Hatchets.

Mark Matti, at 170 pounds, was the fourth second day qualifier. Matti opened up with a fall his first match before being bounced to consolation after his second match. Matti qualified for the second day with a 10-5 decision, showing off some unique moves in the process. Matti lost his first match day two and did not place. At 182 pounds, Kade Wenninger was the Hatchets second to place. Wenninger won his first match and lost his second. On the consolation side, Wenninger won his next two matches before falling to Ashwaubenon’s 11th-ranked Jordan Vandehei. Wenninger won his next two matches to claim ninth. Making his first appearance this year at 195 pounds was Erik Decker. Decker started his tournament off with two falls before losing to Coleman’s 3rd-ranked Shamus McLain. On the consolation side, Decker won his next two matches before coming up short in a come-from-behind bid to move him to the fifth place match. Decker secured his third fall of the tournament and ended as the Hatchets second highest point scorer and place winner, scoring 32 points and taking fifth place. Austin Leinen competed at 220 pounds. Leinen went 2-2 in the tournament, including two falls, but ultimately ended up not placing.

At Heavyweight, Tony Matti was the Hatchets highest placing winner. Tony won his first four matches to advance to the finals and become the first Tomahawk finalist since returning to Oshkosh On The Water in 2017. Along the way, Tony scored two falls and a decision over Amherst’s 12th-ranked John Farkas. In the finals, Tony met Menasha’s third-ranked Cullen Quick. Both entered the tournament undefeated, but it was Quick who came away with the 5-2 decision to hand Tony his first loss of the season. It was only the second time this season Quick did not score a fall. Tony finished the tournament 2nd and scored 40 points.

The Hatchets are back in action tomorrow (Thursday) as they host the Rhinelander Hodags in a GNC dual. The dual will take place in the Hatchet Fieldhouse starting at 7 p.m. Then on Saturday, Jan.11 the Hatchets head to Merrill to compete in the Merrill Invitational. Both varsity and JV wrestlers will compete with wrestling slated to start at 9:30 a.m.

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