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On to sectionals
Monroe's Mason Goff wrestles River Valley's Garrett Lowe in the 152-pound semifinals during Saturdays regional. Goff won the match 13-10 and advanced to sectionals.
MONROE - The Cheesemakers will send five wrestlers to the Feb. 20 WIAA Division 2 Richland Center Sectional and Sugar River will send along four grapplers to the same meet.

Monroe's Kevin Klopfenstein (119-pounds), Dylan Schwitz (145), Mason Goff (152), Cory Kundert (215) and Nick Walker (heavyweight) are keeping their seasons alive, as are Mike Nolden (189), Ben Schmitt (160), Tom Vetterli (140) and Dylan Riley (135) of Sugar River.

"It was about what we expected," Monroe head coach Jeriamy Jackson said as far as how many of his wrestlers earned their way to sectionals. "It's nice to be at home in front of your hometown fans. We haven't had a lot of opportunities to wrestle at home this year, so this was nice."

Schwitz and Schmitt were the only two local champions at Saturday's regional. Schwitz (32-10 overall) knocked off River Valley's Justin Lowe 5-0 in the semifinals before pinning Cuba City-Southwestern's Tyler Bass in 2 minutes, 18 seconds to keep his bid alive for a second-straight trip to state.

Schmitt (32-0) pinned Dodgeville's Austin Olson in just 52 seconds in the semifinals before picking up a major decision 13-3 win over River Valley's Jake Meixelsperger.

"We're up and down today," Sugar River head coach Pete Swenson said. "We got three guys in the finals and two in wrestle backs - so five out of the nine (had a chance to advance). I'm pretty happy about that."

Klopfenstein, Goff, Kundert and Walker each finished in second place for the Cheesemakers.

A freshman, Klopfenstein (37-9) worked his way out of a 2-1 first-period deficit to Cuba City-Southwestern's Bob Donar (28-3) by escaping with 12 seconds left in the second period. Neither grappler could score a point in the third, leading to overtime. In the extra frame, Donar, a junior, took down Klopfenstein 23 seconds in to end the match.

"I just wanted to keep on going. I didn't want to give it up or lose, but I did in the end. But I still have a chance next week against him," Klopfenstein said.

Jackson was proud of his youngest qualifier.

"That's a relief for him. He had a great match," Jackson said. "It's the third time this year those two had wrestled, and as a freshman you may start playing games with your own head, 'Should I be here?' We're getting a little close to the state tournament, so you may doubt yourself. I hope he believes that he is in that (state) class, because I believe he is."

Klopfenstein said he was pleased with his finish, but wants to continue his season.

"It's a great accomplishment, I think," he said of advancing. "I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing right now. I just want to do good next week. I hope I can make it to state. As a freshman, that would be amazing."

Goff (32-8) earned his way into the finals with a pin and a 13-10 decision in the quarter and semifinals. However, Belmont-Platteville's Dusty Jentz (38-4) won by major decision, 20-8, to keep Goff off of the champions podium. Goff reached sectionals with an 11-4 decision win over Dodgeville's Beau Smith.

Kundert (15-11) worked his way through a leg injury to beat Belmont-Platteville's David Stoney in overtime of the semifinal, 4-2. Prairie du Chien's Jordon Panka (31-10) then topped Kundert in the finals, 7-2.

"We had four guys in the finals that were seeded one or two and Kundert, who was No. 3, beat the two seed, so that's always nice," Jackson said. "For him to gut it out and to win that match, it's awesome. He lost to that same kid in another tournament. I hope this win carries over into next week."

Walker (34-10), a junior, moved onto sectionals in his first year of varsity wrestling. Walker knocked off Cuba City-Southwestern's Mike Loeffelholz, 6-1, before losing to Prairie du Chien's Quincy Lorenz (29-9) in the finals, 1-0.

Nolden (29-13) pinned Monroe's Josh Mayer (28-14) in 3:20 in the semifinals. Prairie du Chien's Evan Sinram (37-2) got the best of Nolden in the finals, 15-2, but the Raiders' biggest fighter moved on to Richland Center.

Vetterli (23-19) lost in the finals, 10-1, to Cuba City-Southwestern's Scott Digman. Riley (23-16) worked his way back from a semifinal loss to knock off Dodgeville's Trae Vance in the wrestle back, 16-3.

"Experience comes into play here (at regionals)," Swenson said. "It's good experience for some of our younger guys to see what they need to do to get to the next step. But the effort from all the guys today was really good."

Monroe had three other wrestlers net third-place finishes. Aaron Hesgard (103), Dillon Weckerly (171) and Josh Mayer (189) each finished just outside the mark to qualify for sectionals.