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Three Cheesemakers set new goals for state
Monroe High School wrestlers Cole Murray, Hayden Arneson and Sam Kind will be competing in the WIAA state wrestling tournament, which starts today at the Kohl Center in Madison. (Times photo: Marissa Weiher)


When: Thursday-Saturday

Where: Kohl Center, Madison

Area state qualifiers

Division 2

Monroe: Cole Murray 138, Sam Kind 160, Hayden Arneson 195

Brodhead-Juda: Jackson Hauri 132

Evansville-Albany: Chase Katzenmeyer 126, Nolan Kicmol 145, Lucius Rinehart 195, Branden Lange heavyweight

Division 3

Black Hawk-Darlington: Kolbe Ubersox 132, Tyler Mosley 170

Pecatonica-Argyle: Prestan Rosenstiel 182

MONROE - For two Monroe High School wrestlers, it's a dream come true, and for one senior it's a chance to win a medal in his final athletic curtain call at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Monroe senior Cole Murray at 138 pounds, junior Sam Kind (160) and senior Hayden Arneson (195) enter the WIAA Division 2 state wrestling tournament with aspirations of making a splash and are not just satisfied to be there.

"The urgency to win is greater," said Arneson, who is ranked fourth in the Wisconsin Wrestling Online Division 2 poll. "After this year I'm done. My athletic career will be over. That's terrifying to me."

For Murray and Kind, the chance to wrestle at state when the lights are bright at the Kohl Center in preliminary matches today can't come soon enough.

"It's been one of my goals since I was a little kid and in Mat Rats," Murray said of making a trip to state in high school. "It's a dream come true. My goal was to get here. Now that I'm here, I will have to set another goal to get on the podium."

Each one of the Cheesemakers wrestlers had had obstacles to overcome. Arneson has been bothered by a quadriceps injury. Murray had to battle last year to cut weight to wrestle at 132. Kind as a freshman suffered a lacerated spleen and broke his shoulder blade in a four-wheel accident that wiped out a chunk of his wrestling season. Last year, Kind suffered a torn meniscus at the regional and didn't wrestle in the sectional.

"Going into this season I was hoping I didn't get hurt this year," Kind said. "I'm just overjoyed. It's exciting having two seniors with me."

Murray (33-11), ranked sixth in Division 2, will wrestle 11th-ranked Kewaskum sophomore Alex Deheck (29-9) in a preliminary match today. If Murray beats Deheck, he would wrestle New London second-ranked senior Scott Cook (31-2) in a state quarterfinal match Friday.

Viroqua junior Ryan Hannah moves up a weight class after winning a state championship at 132 last year. Hannah (45-2) is ranked No. 1 this season as he enters the state meet.

"I'm going in with an open mind," Murray said. "I just have to go out there and wrestle my match. I feel like I've overcome a lot. I have been able to win the close matches. I didn't have to cut weight this year. That may have been a factor."

At 160, Oconto Falls senior Nate Trepanier (43-1), ranked No. 1, jumps up two divisions after winning a state title at 145 last season. Kind (28-6), ranked 12th in Division 2, will wrestle Martin Luther senior Mikey Rohleder (36-7) in a preliminary match today. If Kind wins that battle, he would wrestle Trepanier in a quarterfinal match Friday.

The turning point for Kind this year came at the Bi-State Classic in late December in La Crosse.

"I wrestled some good competition at Bi-State," he said. "How I competed at that level showed that I could compete with these guys. I kind of have the mindset that I'm good enough to win and just have to wrestle tough."

Arneson (195), who has amassed a 31-6 mark, will wrestle seventh-ranked New Holstein senior Matt Buechel (30-7) in a preliminary match today. If Arneson wins, he would move on to face second-ranked junior Hunter Luepke of Spencer-Columbus-Catholic in a quarterfinal match on Friday.

"I will be a lot calmer this year," he said. "Last year, I was nervous, shaky and sweaty. I want to be on top of the podium on Saturday."

Evansville-Albany has four wrestlers who will compete at state, including senior Lucius Rinehart (34-0), who enters the state tournament ranked No. 1.

Arneson is 0-7 against Rinehart the past two years. He could see him in the final on Saturday.

"Just win baby," Arneson said. "I want to reach the finals Saturday and wrestle Lucius Rinehart.

"Lucius is a very technical wrestler. He's always at the right spot at the right time. If you make a mistake he will counter it."

Albany junior Branden Lange, ranked ninth at heavyweight in Division 2, is one of the wrestlers on the biggest surge heading into state. It's Lange's first trip to state. As a sectional champion, Lange will wrestle a quarterfinal match Friday against the winner of sixth-ranked Lomira senior Adam Kinyon (41-6) and eighth-ranked Ellsworth senior Mike Freund (40-9).

"He's no stranger to a tournament venue like this," Evansville-Albany coach Rob Kostroun said. "He's wrestled in national tournaments before."

Kostroun said Lange is a more improved wrestler this year compared to last season.

"He's definitely showed the most growth," Kostroun said. "He's matured in attitude and mental preparation. He has grown in size, athleticism and maturity. He's really been on a roll the last month. He's really been wrestling at a high level. It's really exciting to see what he can do at the state meet."

Evansville-Albany has three returning state medal winners this year: Junior Nolan Kicmol, who finished second at 145 last year; Rinehart, who took third last year; and senior Chase Katzenmeyer (126), who finished third last season and fourth as a sophomore. Both Katzenmeyer and Kicmol are ranked second in Division 2 in their respective weight classes.

"I think by the time you get there everyone you see is going to be good," Kostroun said. "You try to compete one match at a time. The steps to reaching a goal are to be focused and take it one match at a time and remove who is in your way. They are all capable of getting themselves on the podium."

Brodhead-Juda sophomore Jackson Hauri was a state qualifier for Orfordville Parkview last season and took fifth at 106 in Division 3. Hauri, ranked ninth in Division 2, enters his second straight state meet with expectations of earning a second straight medal.

"A logical goal for him is to place," Brodhead-Juda coach Bill Davis said. "It's a jump up in weight from 106. He's adjusted very well. He's good at studying the sport. He watches film and studies his opponent."

The 132-pound class features top-ranked Ellsworth junior Sam Stuhl (43-0), who is seeking his third straight state championship. He moves up a weight class after winning the state title at 126 last year and at 120 in 2015.

Hauri (38-4) will wrestle sixth-ranked Wrightstown freshman Ben Durocher (36-8) in a preliminary match today. If he wins that match, Hauri would face unbeaten second-ranked Kewaskum sophomore Eric Bauer (36-0) in a quarterfinal match Friday.

"He's a very competitive kid," Davis said of Durocher. "He's wrestled some good competition."

Hauri won't be a stranger to the state tournament scene at the Kohl Center.

"There are kids that say state is like any other big tournament they have wrestled," Davis said. "Nothing is like the Kohl Center when you get there and all of the people are cheering. He has that experience."