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Wrestlers advance to State
Monroe freshman Kevin Klopfenstein defeated Lakeside Lutherans Riley Wingate 1-0 in a third-place match at the WIAA Division 2 Richland Center sectional Saturday to qualify for state. Klopfensteins 40 wins this year are a freshman record.
RICHLAND CENTER - Sugar River senior Ben Schmitt kept his unbeaten season alive and is in contention for a state championship.

Schmitt (35-0), ranked No. 1 at 160 pounds in the Crossface poll, defeated Marshall junior Spencer Meinholz 6-2 to win a WIAA Division 2 Richland Center sectional title Saturday.

"I just wanted to win it and go to state," Schmitt said. "Everyone is always telling me I have a target on my back. It's motivation. Everyone will give me their all and I have to give them my all."

Schmitt was one of three area wrestlers to qualify for state Feb. 25-27 at the Kohl Center in Madison. Monroe freshman Kevin Klopfenstein (119) and Brodhead-Juda freshman Hunter Colden (145) each took third place to qualify for state.

Klopfenstein, who set a school record with 40 wins this year, beat Lakeside Lutheran's Riley Wingate 1-0 in a thrilling third-place match to qualify for state. He scored on a second-period escape and made it hold up by riding Wingate in the third period.

"It took a long time," Klopfenstein said of the two minutes in the third period. "I just wanted to keep him down and try to get back points if I could."

Monroe coach Jeriamy Jackson said he was confident when Klopfenstein had a 1-0 lead going into the third period and had to ride on top to protect the lead.

"That's really Kevin's strength," Jackson said. "I'm pretty confident in him being able to ride. I thought he would be able to turn him. It's a lesson for a lot of wrestlers. One to nothing can still get you to state. It doesn't have to be 10-0. A win is a win."

The last time the Cheesemakers qualified a freshman for the state wrestling tournament came in 1984 when Steve Grossen earned a trip to Madison.

"It's amazing," Klopfenstein said. "It's a great accomplishment for a freshman I think."

Klopfenstein (40-10) pinned Clinton sophomore Nate McConnell in 3 minutes, 41 seconds in the quarterfinals. Sparta sophomore Brandon Rickert beat him 3-0 in the semifinals.

Klopfenstein rebounded by pinning Lodi junior Alex Ibinger in 5:02 in the consolation semifinals.

Colden (39-6) became the first freshman in the history of the Brodhead-Juda's program to qualify for state. Colden defeated Sparta junior Morgan Leis 4-2 in the quarterfinals.

He received a break when Monroe junior Dylan Schwitz (32-11) lost a heartbreaker to Lodi sophomore Jesse Ziegler 7-6 in the quarterfinals. Schwitz led 6-2 with about 30 seconds left. After Schwitz shot, Ziegler scored on a takedown and a near fall to cap the comeback win.

"You make one mistake and you could be done," Jackson said. "You get to the sectionals and it's another level of competition. You can't make mistakes. Everyone is good at countering."

Colden then beat Ziegler in the semifinals, 14-8, to assure a trip to state. In the title match, Colden was pinned by Marshall sophomore Thurston Schuster in 5:46. In the wrestleback for second place, he was pinned by Delavan-Darien senior John Benzon in 1:29.

"The wrestler I wanted to lose lost," Colden said of Schwitz. "I would have had a better chance of beating Ziegler than I did Schwitz.To be a freshman and going on, no one has ever done that for Brodhead. It just makes me feel better because we have not had a wrestler qualify for state since 2005."

Hunter's father, Brodhead-Juda wrestling coach Tim Colden, was satisfied with his son's finish.

"He has surpassed my expectations for the year," Tim Colden said. "I wasn't expecting 39 wins out of him and a trip to the Kohl Center."

Monroe junior heavyweight Nick Walker just missed qualifying for state after losing a third-place match 3-1 to Lodi senior Ryan Quick. Walker was locked in a tie at 1 until Quick scored on a takedown in the last 10 seconds to beat him.

"We told him he had a great year," Jackson said. "We told him don't look upon this match as the defining moment of the season. He can't feel bad about how he did."

Walker (36-12) beat Marshall junior Zach James 7-3 in the quarterfinals. He then lost a semifinal match to Wisconsin Dells senior Kit Conrad 8-4. Conrad (37-5), who is ranked fifth, went on to win a sectional title.

Walker went on and beat Brodhead-Juda junior Dylan Severson 5-1 in the consolation semifinals.

Monroe senior Mason Goff (32-9) at 152 lost a quarterfinal match 13-4 to Parkview's Jeremy Graham. Goff didn't get a chance to wrestleback since Graham lost in the semifinals. Fellow senior Cory Kundert (15-13) at 215 was pinned by Sparta senior Matt Tourdot in 1:44 in the quarterfinals. In the consolation semifinals, Kundert was pinned by Lodi senior Cody Endres, who was the state runner-up last year.

Sugar River had three other wrestlers close out their seasons at the sectional including senior Dylan Riley (135), senior Tom Vetterli (140) and junior Mike Nolden (189). Nolden defeated Brodhead-Juda senior Ben Conway 18-8 in a quarterfinal match. In the semifinals, Nolden lost to Sparta's Jordan Stanek 13-5. He then lost a consolation semifinal to Jefferson senior Jim Horn 6-3.

Brodhead-Juda had several other wrestlers' seasons come to an end including senior Devon Seitz (152), sophomore Ethan Voights (171), Conway (189), senior Cody Spooner (215) and Severson at heavyweight.

Spooner (31-7) pinned Lake Mills sophomore Ryan Funk in 1:35 in a quarterfinal match. He then lost a semifinal match to Richland Center sophomore Logan Schmidt 9-5.

In the consolation semifinals, Spooner was pinned by Prairie du Chien senior Jordon Panka in 1:41. Seitz ran into two of the state's premier wrestlers losing to Belmont-Platteville sophomore Dusty Jentz (41-4), ranked third, 9-4. In the wrestlebacks, he was pinned by Lodi senior Tony Zeman (45-2), who is ranked second.

"They wrestled hard," Tim Colden said. "They all had great seasons. You get here and there are no poor kids. You can throw the records out the window."