Badger High School wrestlers (from left) Kyle Freund, 285 pounds; Josh Stritesky, 106 pounds; and Jake Stritesky, 126 pounds, competed Sauk Prairie Invitational on Saturday. The three grapplers won the championships in their weight classes at the invite. (Submitted photo)

By Michael S. Hoey


The Lake Geneva Badger wrestling team finished 14th out of 42 teams competing at the Mid-States Classic wrestling tournament held at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater on Dec. 28 and 29.

The Badgers did lose one of their team captains because of an injury. Jake Stritesky, wrestling at 126 pounds, bumped heads with his opponent during his first match and received a cut that required four stitches. Assistant Coach Hank Peters said the coaching staff made the decision to have Stritesky withdraw by medical default rather than continue to keep him ready for the upcoming WIAA tournament.

“Any time you lose a captain it is a big deal,” Peters said. “The team rallied with some strong matches to make up for the lost points.”

Peters said the team may have been able to finish higher if Stritesky had continued, but the bigger concern was his injury becoming a nagging injury. Peters said the matches he missed in Whitewater should be the only matches he misses.

The Badgers got some strength in numbers as several wrestlers were able to get down to their competitive weights and compete for the first time.

Kyle Freund had the best meet for the Badgers taking silver at 285 pounds.

“Kyle continues to improve and wrestle smart,” Peters said. “He stays in position and outworks his opponent, tiring them out.”

Peters said Freund is also able to take advantage of mistakes made by hjs opponents when they get tired. He said Freund does not like losing and his drive and focus inspires others.

Freund scored 40 points for taking second. He pinned Max Carpenter of Appleton North in his first match, pinned Nathan Lawrenz of Kewaskum in his second match, and pinned Reed Farrington of Edgerton in the semi-final match. In the finals, Freund was pinned by Keeanu Benton of Janesville Craig, who is ranked No. 1 in Division 1.

Josh Stritesky took third at 106 pounds, earning 30 team points. Stritesky won a 14-0 major decision over Jack Sullivan of Wauconda and then won a 4-2 decision over Michael Smith, ranked No. 7 in the state in Division 1. Stritesky was pinned by Sawyer Nash of Warren Township before defeating Magnus Kuokkanen of Waukesha West by 7-1 decision. Stritesky defeated Smith for a second time by 8-3 decision to win the third-place match.

Patrick Keplar scored 21 team points for finishing seventh at 195 pounds. Keplar won by 11-4 decision over Bryce Heerey of Janesville Parker and won by 14-4 major decision over Armondo Barandey of Warren Township before getting pinned by Barron Masi of Union Grove. Keplar came back to win by 10-0 major decision over Austin Bartel of Weyauwega-Fremont but lost by 8-0 major decision to Terrell Williams of Appleton North. Keplar pinned Nathan Rosas of Harvard in his final match.

Jimmy Stackpool scored 14 points at 182 pounds. Stackpool got wins over Matthew Hansen of Kenosha Tremper (pin), Tayte Hirsch of Pecatonica-Argyle (pin), Logan Haar of Warren Township (5-1 decision), and Joe Smith of Janesville Craig (5-3 decision).

Peters said Stackpool was making his debut at 182 pounds after wrestling at higher weights earlier this season.

“Jimmy is learning how to compete at a lighter weight class and as the season progresses in the second half Jimmy will be ready to peak at the right time,” Peters said.

Peters said Stackpool has a good work ethic and it is paying off.

Dalton Creighton scored 18 points at 220 pounds. Creighton got wins over Noah Vanderberg of Lake Country Lutheran (pin), Hudson Conant of Edgerton (10-2 major decision), Cole Kienbaum of Kiel (3-1 decision), Evan Moody of Milwaukee Lutheran (pin), and McGuire Landvick of Wauconda (2-1 decision).

Peters said Creighton wrestled well. His two losses were both by two points or less.


Badgers take fifth

      The Badgers also took fifth out of 19 teams at the Sauk Prairie Invitational on Saturday. Josh Stritesky (106 pounds), Jake Stritesky (126), and Freund (285) all won championships.

Jake Stritesky was able to compete after suffered the injury the previous week in Whitewater. Peters said Stritesky came ready to wrestle and battled through the day. Peters said Stritesky is learning to improve his stance to negate the fact that his opponents are usually taller and leaner than he is.

Freund defeated the fifth-ranked wrestler in Division 2 in the finals. Peters said he continues to wrestle with determination and recognized that he was quicker then his opponent in the finals and was able to take advantage of that.

Austin Peter took second place at 113 pounds. Peters said Peter had a very good day despite losing in the finals. He won two tremendous matches to get to the finals and was able to come from behind to win his first match in overtime.

Stackpool (182) and Creighton (220) took fifth. Robert Zilskie (120), Clay Larsen (132), and Keplar (195) took seventh.

Read more LG Badger sports in the Jan. 10 Lake Geneva Times.


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