The last time the Union Grove High School wrestling team did this well at the Mid-States Classic at UW-Whitewater, Brett Favre was quarterbacking the Green Bay Packers, Michael Jordan was leading the Chicago Bulls to another NBA title and Google was just being invented.
The Broncos finished two quality days at the major invitational on Saturday and placed fourth overall in the 42-team field—their best finish since 1998, according to head coach Andy Weis.
“We came out, we won matches we should’ve won, we managed a few upsets here and there, and overall I’m just really proud with the way the boys have been wrestling,” Weis said.
Led by Cade Willis winning the championship at 120 pounds, Union Grove scored 216 points. Warren Township in Illinois won the meet with 285 points. Wrightstown was second with 271 and Weyauwega-Fremont third with 226.
Willis, ranked fifth in Division 1 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online, improved to 22-1 after going 5-0 at the tournament.
Willis defeated Juan Armas of Janesville Craig by a technical fall, Nik Jimenez of Harvard by a pin in 1:10, and Kaiden Koltz of Wrightstown in a 4-2 decision. In the championship match, Willis dominated Cameron Domke of Warren Township and won 5-0.
“Cade wrestled a really solid match in the semis, battling after going down early to Koltz and managing to pull off the win,” Weis said. “The final match he was able to control the whole way through.”
Freshman Cooper Willis, ranked fourth at 106 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online, placed second in his weight class. He went 4-1 — recording two pins — and improved to 21-2.
Barron Masi, ranked fifth at 195 by Wisconsin Wrestling Online, also finished second. He improved to 17-1 after going 4-0 with three pins. He reached the championship match, but had to forfeit after hurting his shoulder, Weis said.
Keith Storm-Voltz rounded out the top finishes for the Broncos with a fourth-place finish at 182. He improved to 19-6 after going 5-2 with three decisions and two pins.
“The boys have been working hard and feeding off one another, and it really shows out there,” Weis said.
Also at the tournament, Case tied for 38th with 15 points. At 145 pounds, Julian Cintron went 1-2 and is now 10-2 this season.
PARK: The Panthers turned in a school-best performance at the annual Lourdes On The Water Classic at UW-Oshkosh, tying for 20th in the 67-team field,
Park scored 123 points. Coleman won the two-day tournament with 365.5 points.
“This was a very successful tournament for our guys, we did a great job overall and we were able to gain experience of what it’s like to wrestle on a big stage,” said Park coach Jon Burdick.
At 120 pounds, Joseph Mendoza placed third. He went 7-1 at the event and improved to 23-2 overall. Among his seven wins, Mendoza recorded three pins and two major decisions.
“Mendoza suffered a loss in the quarterfinal on day one, but he was able to dominate all the way to third place,” Burdick said.
At 106 pounds, Angel Rodriguez went 4-3 and placed sixth. He improved to 21-5 overall. His path to the podium was a little bumpier, with a major decision, an ultimate tie breaker and a sudden victory among his wins.
“Rodriguez had a great day one for us but ran into some stiff competition today,” Burdick said. “Both Mendoza and Rodriguez wrestled incredibly well, though, and overall this was a great tournament for us. This experience will help our guys for when state comes around.”