By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
12 local wrestlers make the podium
s022824_Althea Eckdhal INSIDE
Althea Eckdhal became Monroe’s first female to place at the WIAA individual state tournament, finishing sixth in the girls 120-pound weight class on Saturday, Feb. 24. Eckdhal entered the tournament as the 10-seed and upset two wrestlers for a spot on the podium. - photo by Natalie Dillon

MADISON — Nineteen local wrestlers from six different teams qualified for the WIAA individual state tournament at the Kohl Center Feb. 22-24, and 12 of them finished sixth or better for a spot on the podium.

Pecatonica-Argyle’s Aidan Gruenenfelder and Darlington-Black Hawk’s Owen Seffrood were state champions (See State Champs, Page A1). The Vikings had one other place-winner — Lukas Orloff. DBH sent five wrestlers to state — Seffrood, Breylin Goebel, Maddox Goebel, Ross Crist and Ethan Aird — and all five of them made the podium. Both of Brodhead-Juda’s qualifiers — Marcus McIntyre and Joe Lohmar — earned a top-six spot. Parkview-Albany landed two on the podium — Wes Egan and Sam Schwengels — and Althea Eckdhal made history as Monroe’s first female to place at the state tournament.


Althea Eckdhal (28-9) made history as Monroe’s first female to qualify for state, but she further cemented her legacy with a sixth-place finish — which was four spots higher than her seed. 

“My first couple of matches went really well,” Eckdhal said. “My placement matches were just really tough. I did much better than I expected to.”

Eckdhal opened with a pin of 7-seed Kylee Firari with just five seconds left in the second period. She then ran into eventual champion Emjay Neumann, who had just one loss on the season. Neumanm pinned Eckdhal in 43 seconds, but she rebounded with wins over Lilly Canvin and 6-seed Jenna Lawrence, guaranteeing a spot on the podium.

Eckdhal then fell in back-to-back matches against 4-seed Hayli Fletcher and 5-seed Amelia Adams. Although Eckdhal ended with two losses, she secured a spot on the podium as a freshman. Not only did she pave her own path for the next three seasons, but she opened the door for other girls in Monroe’s Wrestling Club.

“Next year, I hope I can make it back to state and keep improving my placement,” Eckdhal said. “The girls at the club will also do great things when they get to high school.”


Darlington-Black Hawk sent five wrestlers to state, and all five of them medaled — a feat never done before in program history. 

Breylin Goebel (47-4, 157) capped his wrestling career with a third-place finish. In the previous two years, he had only qualified for the state tournament.

As the 3-seed, Breylin Goebel received a first-round bye. He won in sudden victory over Steven Kielpikowski, earning a spot in the semifinals. There, Breylin Goebel ran into eventual champion Gage Losiewsicz, who won 8-5. 

In wrestle-backs, Breylin Goebel drew Brody Hart. Entering the tournament, Hart earned the 1-seed as one of 24 undefeated male wrestlers. He suffered his first loss of the season to 9-seed Tanner Halopka and rebounded for a guaranteed spot on the podium.

Hart proved his rank in the consolation quarterfinal match against Breylin Goebel with a takedown early in the first period. Breylin Goebel escaped but got taken down in the second period once again. With 35 seconds left in the frame, he scored his first points via takedown. From there, Breylin Goebel controlled the match with three more takedowns for the 11-7 win.

“Coming out, he just threw me,” Breylin Goebel said of Hart. “I was a little scared in the beginning, wondering if I could even hang with him at that point. I kept my head, got my escape and worked on my offense.”

Breylin Goebel then rematched Kielpiwkowski for third place, winning by a 7-0 decision.

Maddox Goebel (29-5, 165) took third in a revenge match against Conner Melton. Maddox Goebel received the 3-seed, facing Melton in the quarterfinals. Melton scored four points in the final period for a 11-6 decision.

In the consolation bracket, Maddox Goebel defeated Ryker Swenson of Sugar River 13-3 to guarantee a spot on the podium. The win set up a rematch of the Wisconsin Dells sectional championship with Jeremiah Avery, where Maddox Goebel won 5-4. The consolation semifinal proved to be just as competitive with Maddox Goebel winning 4-3.

“Each time he’s wrestled me, he’s gotten closer and closer,” he said of Avery. “I had to stay smart in that match and use my speed to get around him. It’s our eighth time wrestling each other this year — he’s a great wrestler.”

For third place, Maddox Goebel rebounded from his quarterfinal loss, defeating Melton in convincing fashion, 11-3.

Ethan Aird (41-5, 126) became one of four wrestlers in DBH program history to medal three times — joining Seffrood this season — with his fourth-place finish. In 2022, Aird finished fourth at 106 pounds, and last year he was a runner-up at 113 pounds.

At the 2024 state tournament, he went 2-2. Aird defeated Michael Bostwick by a 9-0 major decision then fell to 3-seed Bob Huntley, 4-0. In the consolation semifinals, Aird bested Talon Berg 6-2. He then lost the third-place match to Max Gonzalez 8-7. Aird led 4-2 after two periods but suffered a takedown and 2-nearfall in the loss. His only losses were to wrestlers one and two spots below him in the final Wisconsin Grapplers poll.

Ross Crist (47-7, 190) finished three spots higher than his seed for fourth place. After a 10-6 decision over Dane Luchterhand, Crist ran into eventual champion Wyatt Ingham, the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class who will continue his athletic career at UW-Madison. Crist fell in the first period, but rebounded with a narrow 3-2 decision over Owen Burling to guarantee a spot on the podium.

The win set up a rematch of the Wisconsin Dells sectional championship with Hayden Gyllin, where Gyllin pinned Crist with just 31 seconds left in the match. This time, Crist pinned Gyllin in the third period.

“I came in more prepared,” Crist said. “I knew what he was going to do. I knew how to beat him and what I had to do. I had a different mindset to take him down as many times as I could.”

Crist then fell to Max Matthias, the 3-seed. 


In 2023, Brodhead-Juda’s Marcus McIntyre and Joe Lohmar lost their opening matches of the state tournament, making early exits. This year, both wrestlers capped their careers with a podium finish.

McIntyre (42-4, 138) came into the 2024 tournament with a chip on his shoulder. Although he was a regional and sectional champion, he received the 6-seed and had to wrestle on the first day.

He proved his skill with a first-period pin of Joey Williams, setting up a rivalry match against 3-seed Mason Mau of Sugar River. The two had seen each other four times previously — two matches in regular season and in the regional and sectional championships — splitting results. 

In the deciding fifth contest of the season, McIntyre pinned Mau in the second period for a spot in the semifinals. 

“A lot of people doubted that I could do it,” McIntyre said. “Seeding doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything. My mindset is to go out there and destroy. I’m not going to let anyone take it from me.”

McIntyre fell in back-to-back matches to 2-seed Cole Bozile and 1-seed William Penn, drawing Mau for the fourth time in three weeks in the fifth-place match. McIntyre won on a flagrant misconduct call against Mau, which was at the referee’s discretion. Sugar River head coach Peter Swenson appealed the decision, but the judgement stood.

Lohmar (40-7, 150) won his first two matches — upsetting 4-seed Kage Weseman — before running into a familiar opponent in Danny Heiser. Heiser, the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class who will wrestle at the University of Missouri next year, had previously beaten Lohmar in the regional and sectional championship. The state semifinal proved much the same, as Heiser won by tech fall. He went on to win the bracket, becoming a three-time state champion.

Lohmar lost back-to-back matches to 7-seed Jacob Durocher and 3-seed Hudzon Debesta-Opelt for sixth place.


Parkview-Albany’s Wes Egan and Sam Schwengels made return appearances to the state tournament this season, and both improved upon their 2023 performances.

Egan (52-6, 215) took sixth last season and battled for fifth this year. After an 11-7 decision over Devin Otto, Egan ran into eventual champion Jackson Shramek. In sectionals, Shramek defeated Egan by 18-2 tech fall. This time, Shramek pinned Egan in 50 seconds.

To guarantee a spot on the podium, Egan pinned 5-seed Zach Hellendrung in the second period. He then ran into 2-seed Bode Brokopp, who also beat him in sectionals. Although Egan went all three periods with Brokhopp this time, he still lost 7-2. Egan defeated 4-seed Axel Tegels 7-4 for fifth place — which was four spots higher than his seed.

Schwengels (51-6, 190) missed out on a podium spot by one match last season. This year, he finished sixth.

The senior defeated Tellyer Alix 8-2 in his opening round before falling to 3-seed Trevor Firari 7-0. Schwengels earned a spot on the podium with a 6-1 decision over Kemper Robinson. In the consolation semifinals, Schwengels trailed Wyatt Ahnen 9-0 before falling to injury. Schwengels battled a meniscus injury all season but pushed through for his senior year. He took sixth by medical forfeit.


In addition to individual champion Aidan Gruenenfelder, Pecatonica-Argyle’s Lukas Orloff made the podium. It was the first time in over 20 years that Pecatonica-Argyle had multiple placers at state.

Orloff (46-7, 113) pinned Josue Azuara in the third period of their opening match. He then ran into eventual champion Jake Fitzpatrick of Aquinas, who was one of 14 wrestlers to finish with a perfect record in 2023.

Orloff overcame the loss, upsetting his next three opponents for third. He beat 4-seed Jaxon Bogacz 11-2, 3-seed Derek Godard 11-4 and 5-seed Kaleb Lodahl 2-0. Orloff’s only points of the third-place contest came on a takedown with just eight seconds left in the match. 

“I told myself to stay calm and don’t make any dumb mistakes. I knew I could get that takedown, I just had to keep pushing,” Orloff said of the final moments of the third-place match. “Losing to the No. 1 seed and coming back to take out the other top seeds in the bracket, making it all the way back for third feels great.”

Other local state qualifiers — Parkview-Albany’s Sydney Coyne and Danny Finley, Monroe’s Carson Menehan,  and Sugar River’s Ryker Swenson and Carson Loshaw — fell short of placing.