Hatchet grapplers rout Athens, take 2nd in GNC in Medford

By Matt Turkiewicz

Last Tuesday, Tomahawk wrestling welcomed Athens to Hatchet Fieldhouse for their second non-conference dual of the season and easily soared past the Blue Jays getting the 60-16 win.

Starting the dual off at 182 pounds, Kade Wenninger received a forfeit and put a quick six on the board for the Hatchets. At 195 pounds, Austin Leinen scored a pin over Athens’ Kyler Ellenbecker in the second period. At 220 pounds, Erik Decker scored the fastest pin of the night, needing just 16 seconds to pin Athens’ Peyton Zettler to put the Hatchets up 18-0 after three matches. Athens won a 6-5 decision at Heavyweight to put their first three points on the scoreboard.

Circling back down to 106 pounds, Athens won by technical fall to score five more team points. At 113 pounds, Chris Bushong received a forfeit. At 120, Lance Knight locked up another cradle and scored a second period fall over Connor Lewandowski. The pin put the Hatchets up 30-8 at the halfway mark. At 126 and 132, Luke Knight and Mason Evans both received forfeits to score the Hatchets another 12 points. Alex Bishop also made short work of his opponent, needing just 25 seconds to pin Athens Isabelle den Otter at 138 pounds. At 145 pounds, Athens scored their second technical fall of the night to score five more team points. At 152 pounds, Tom Rigney scored a fall in the second period. At 160, Logan Bishop received a forfeit to put the Hatchets up 60-13 with one match to go. Athens won at 170 in a 7-2 decision to bring the final score to 60-16, improving the Hatchets to 12-2 on the season.

Tuesday night was also Senior Night for the Hatchets. With a month left in their high school careers, the Tomahawk wrestling program would like to show a lot appreciation to seniors Tony Matti, Tom Rigney, Alex Bishop, Lance Knight, and Luke Knight for their contributions to the Hatchets, and wish them the best as they look to finish their seasons strong and the best of luck in the future.

On Saturday, the Hatchets headed to Medford to compete in the GNC tournament. The Hatchets placed 2nd and had 12 grapplers earn All-Conference Honors. At 106 pounds, Addison Peissig made All-Conference Honorable Mention. At 113 pounds, Chris Bushong scored a fall for the Hatchets in a tough bracket that included wrestlers either state-ranked or previously state ranked. At 120 pounds, Lance Knight earned All-Conference Honorable Mention behind two pins. Luke Knight, at 126 pounds, also earned All-Conference Honorable Mention behind two pins and a major decision.

Mason Evans, at 132 pounds, earned All-Conference Second Team, scoring a fall and two decisions. At 138, Alex Bishop received All-Conference Second Team, scoring two falls and a decision. Hatchet 145 pounder, Micah Arnott, scored the Hatchets two falls and received All-Conference Honorable Mention. Tom Rigney scored the Hatchets a fall at 152 pounds. Logan Bishop, at 160 pounds, scored two falls and a decision to receive All-Conference Second Team. At 170 pounds, Mark Matti earned All-Conference Second Team behind a decision, a major decision, and a fall. Kade Wenninger also earned All-Conference Second Team at 182 pounds, scoring a decision, a major decision, and a fall for the Hatchets.

At 195 pounds, Erik Decker earned All-Conference Second Team, scoring two falls. At 220 pounds, Austin Leinen received All-Conference Honorable Mention, scoring a fall and technical fall in a bracket that included the returning state champion and seventh-ranked 220-pounder at Division 2. Closing out at Heavyweight, Tony Matti was a conference Champion for the third time in his career.

Tomahawk scored 391 total team points in the tournament, 134 more than third place.

Next up, the Hatchets travel to Waupaca on Saturday, Feb. 15 to compete in the WIAA D2 Regional tournament, with action set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Also competing in Comet Country will be Nekoosa/Assumption/Port Edwards, Wautoma/Wild Rose, Lakeland/Mercer, Mosinee, and Wittenbirg-Birnamwood. The top two finishers in each weight class will advance to the WIAA Sectionals in Oconto Falls, and the top team will compete in WIAA Team Sectional to be held next Tuesday, Feb. 18.

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