Four area grapplers will hit the mat this (Thursday) afternoon to kick-off their run in the 2019 Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Individual State Wrestling Championships.
Sparta seniors Jon Bailey and Garet Pfaff, Tomah junior Marques Fritsche and Brookwood senior James Gjefle are slated to wrestle in the preliminary round of the 76th annual state tourney at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Bailey, Pfaff and Fritsche will compete in the Division 1 preliminaries, which get underway at 3 p.m., while Gjefle will begin his state tournament experience in the Division 3 preliminaries, which kick off at 7 p.m.
All four wrestlers finished runner-up in their respective sectionals Saturday to advance to state.
Sparta’s Bailey, who boasts a stellar 33-1 record heading into state, is making his third appearance in the Division 1 championships.
He finished fourth at 106 pounds as a freshman in 2016 and third at 113 pounds as a sophomore in 2017, before missing the post-season his junior year because of an injury.
Bailey will open his third and final state tournament with a 120-pound preliminary round match against Arrowhead freshman Mitchell Mesenbrink (41-3).
The winner of the 120-pound opener advanced to the Division 1 quarterfinals to face the winner of a match between Union Grove’s Cade Willis (32-2) and Kaukauna’s Mason Campshure (35-11).
Pfaff, who’s posted a 29-9 mark so far this season, finished second at 220 pounds at the Verona Sectional to qualify for Sparta as well.
He’ll open his first state tournament run with a preliminary-round bout against Pewaukee senior Josh Keskinen (43-7).
The winner of the 220-pound opener moves on to the quarterfinals to face the winner of a preliminary between Watertown senior Nate Brewster (37-5) and Germantown senior Jack Pluta (39-9).
Tomah 160-pounder Fritsche, who boasts a 42-7 record this season, will be making his first state tournament appearance as well.
He will take the mat against Stoughton senior Cade Spilde (42-6) in the preliminaries, with the winner advancing to the quarterfinal round to take on the winner of a bout between Eau Claire North senior Carter Duerkop (28-7) and Plymouth senior Josh Koll (30-10).
Brookwood’s Gjefle, who is 35-9 so far this season, also is making his first state tournament appearance.
He will open his Division 3 tournament run at 145 pounds with a preliminary match with Saint Croix Falls sophomore Bennett Bergmann (38-10).
The winner will advance to Friday’s 145-pound quarterfinals to take on Coleman senior Jake Baldwin (42-1).
The D1, D2 and D3 semifinals will get underway at the Kohl Center at 7 p.m. Friday night, with the consolation semifinals following Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
The championship round in all three divisions is slated to start at 5:30 p.m. Saturday evening.