The Burlington High School wrestling team had a night Friday it will remember for quite a while.
Unfortunately, for the wrong reasons.
The Demons gave up a penalty point for unsportsmanlike conduct following the 113-pound match and the point proved to be devastating as Holmen edged Burlington 27-26 in the semifinals of the WIAA State Team Tournament in the University of Wisconsin Field House in Madison.
Without the penalty point, the dual meet would have been tied at 27-27 and tiebreaking procedures would have been implemented.
Burlington (14-1), ranked fourth in Division 1 in the final Wisconsin Wrestling Online poll of the season, was trying to reach the championship round of the tournament for the first time in school history. The Demons reached the semifinals in 2014, but lost to Kaukauna.
Top-ranked Holmen (20-0) won three of the first four matches for a 15-3 lead, but Burlington came back with three straight victories — a pin in 1:18 by Wyatt Hayes over Jesse Fiers at 285 pounds and back-to-back 4-3 decisions by Jaden Bird at 106 and Hayden Halter at 113 — to tie the meet at 15-15.
Then, according to reports on Twitter, Halter flexed his muscles following the match while facing Holmen fans and the referee deducted the point for unsportsmanlike conduct, and warned both teams.
Burlington coach Jade Gribble said Halter did flex and yell.
Gribble thought it should have been a noncall.
“It was disappointing,” Gribble said.
The Demons shook it off, however, winning the next three matches on decisions by Cody Welker (120), Ben Stevenson (126) and Zach Weiler (132) for a 23-15 lead, then a Holmen pin at 138 made it 23-21.
Jake Skrundz won a 7-1 decision at 145 to make it 26-21, but the Vikings’ final two wrestlers, state qualifier Zach Gordon at 152 and state individual third-place finisher Reed Williams at 160, won decisions for the final margin.
If the dual had finished in a tie score, Gribble said the Demons would have likely won the tiebreaker on criteria, because they won eight of the 14 matches.
“It was a good, exciting dual, but we lost it at the end,” Gribble said. “We knew it was going to be close and I thought the kids wrestled hard, but we didn’t do it when we needed to.
“I’m proud of the guys and how hard they worked and it was a good season. It hurts because we really believed we were going to do it. I really think we were the best team there. I believe in the young men I have.”
In the quarterfinals, Burlington dominated Slinger 49-13, winning three of the first four matches and taking six matches in a row at one point.
The Demons’ Qwade Gehring beat Jacob Klinger on a 13-4 major decision at 160 pounds to open the meet and Zach Wallace followed at 170 with a 9-7 victory over Logan Stegemeyer. After a pin by the Owls (14-4) at 182, Nate Crayton pinned Caleb Kovacevich in 3:04 for a 13-6 Burlington lead.
Hayes started the six-match streak with a 17-second pin of Brady Peterson at 285. Other pins in the meet were by Cody Welker in 5:15 at 120 and Jake Skrundz in 1:18 at 152, and state 106-pound champion Hayden Halter had a technical fall (16-1) victory at 113.
This is just the beginning for the Demons, who will lost just two seniors, Crayton and Max Travis.
“We’ll be back, I promise you,” Gribble said.
WIAA State Team Tournament
Burlington 49, Slinger 13
Holmen 39, Hartland Arrowhead 35
Stoughton 47, Marshfield 13
Kaukauna 35, Mukwonago 27
Holmen 27, Burlington 26
Stoughton 34, Kaukauna 30
Burlington 49, Slinger 13
160 — Qwade Gehring, Bur, maj. dec. Jacob Klinger 13-4. 170 — Zach Wallace, Bur, dec. Logan Stegemeyer 9-7. 182 — Timothy Gehring, Sli, pinned Nathan Bousman 3:00. 195 — Nate Crayton, Bur, pinned Caleb Kovacevich 3:04. 220 — Bennett Connolly, Sli, dec. Max Travis 4-0. 285 — Wyatt Hayes, Bur, pinned Brady Peterson 0:17. 106 — Jaden Bird, Bur, dec. Carter Ziebell 7-4. 113 — Hayden Halter, Bur, tech. fall Michael Parker 16-1. 120 — Cody Welker, Bur, pinned Jake Melzer 5:15. 126 — Ben Stevenson, Bur, dec. Aaron Soneson 7-0. 132 — Zach Weiler, Bur, dec. Cameron Tonsor-Heesen 8-4. 138 — Caleb Ziebell, Sli, maj. dec. Max Ehlen 12-4. 145 — Ben Kumprey, Bur, maj. sec. Tyler Wagar 10-2. 152 — Jake Skrundz, Bur, pinned Jake Budnik 1:18.
Holmen 27, Burlington 26
170 — Kalyn Jahn, Hol, pinned Eli Kiesler 1:04. 182 — Isaac Lahr, Hol, pinned Zach Wallace 2:50. 195 — Nate Crayton, Bur, dec. Kyle Burkhardt 8-3. 220 — Jack Westcott, Hol, dec. Max Travis 9-6. 285 — Wyatt Hayes, Bur, pinned Jesse Fiers 1:18. 106 — Jaden Bird, Bur, dec. Alex Pellowski 4-3. 113 — Hayden Halter, Bur, dec. Kody Klonecki 4-3. 120 — Cody Welker, Bur, dec. Carter Vetsch 5-0. 126 — Ben Stevenson, Bur, dec. Logan West 7-3. 132 — Zach Weiler, Bur, dec. Trevor Plomedahl 4-3. 138 — Tanner Schultz, Hol, pinned Max Ehlen 4:45. 145 — Jake Skrundz, Bur, dec. Wyatt McCutchen 7-1. 152 — Zach Gordon, Hol, dec. Ben Kumprey 3-1. 160 — Reed Williams, Hol, dec. Qwade Gehring 11-5.