Two victories into his final WIAA Division 1 state wrestling tournament, Sun Prairie senior Drew Scharenbrock has big things on his mind.
The senior 145-pounder is a defending state champion, holds the No. 1 individual ranking and is now 50-0 after two wins by pin on Thursday earned him a spot in tonight’s semifinal round.
After his action concluded Thursday, Scharenbrock made it sound a little like a second WIAA title is no big deal. It’s because he has other priorities, too.
Scharenbrock wants to be able to win so that he can match what his big brother, Jared, did a few years ago.
“Jared won two state titles, too,” Scharenbrock said. “He doesn’t remind me of it too often. He’s been really supportive. For me, it would just be a very nice to cap my career at Sun Prairie by repeating.”
Scharenbrock, who like his brother will wrestle at the University of Wisconsin next year after also considering Brown and Princeton, pinned Kenosha Bradford’s Marco Infusino in 1 minute, 38 seconds and Muskego’s Evan Sinda in 3:14.
“I just wanted to concentrate on my takedowns and work on some other things,” he said. “I tried to treat this just like any other tournament. I didn’t want to make it any different than any other day. Just put a good foot forward and get things done quickly.
“Now, my goal is to go out there and make a statement.”
In the semifinal, the defending 138-pound champ will face powerful Jacob DeMeyer of Rhinelander (45-1) for a berth in Saturday’s championship match.
Joining him from the area will be four Stoughton wrestlers, including top-ranked Hunter Lewis (48-4) at 120, Braeden Whitehead (26-1) at 126, defending champion and No. 1-ranked Tyler Dow (51-1) at 160 and surprising freshman Brooks Empey (31-19) at 182.
Also making the semifinals were Waunakee freshman Sam Lorenz (46-4) at 106, Reedsburg’s Mason McMillen (46-3) at 126 and Middleton’s Kevin Meicher (45-0) at 152. Milton’s Mason Dutcher (41-9) advanced at 113, and Janesville Craig placed two entrants in the semifinals: Nate Ellis (44-8) at 132 and Keeanu Benton (45-1) at 285.
The Stoughton group was impressive all day, highlighted by the wins from Empey. He pinned Jared Walton of Green Bay West and Tristan Griswold of Port Washington to make the semifinal.
“All I was doing was working to get past the first round,” he said. “Starting out the season, I was just trying to hold my own and win a few matches. This is amazing.”
For Whitehead, making the semifinals was a bit of redemption. He beat Pulaski’s Logan Bellow 12-4 and pinned West Bend East’s Cayden Henschel in 3:00.
Whitehead missed last season with a right knee injury and then missed part of this season with an injury to his left knee. He said he just started feeling better around the conference meet.
“I went into the tournament with the idea of placing,” he said, “but now that I’m in the semifinals, I want to do better. I want to win it.”
Lewis, a state runner-up last season, is ready to move to the top of the podium this time. He won a title at the Youth Nationals this summer and cruised into the state tournament semifinals with pins of Menomonee Falls’ Alec Lind and Wausau West’s Cameron Schmeiser.
“I’ve got only one goal: win state,” he said. “I’m just going to take it one match at a time and work my way up to the top.”
Dow, who will join Scharenbrock at UW next year, pinned Nathan Fehlen of New Richmond and Cooper Schlosser of West Bend East.
Lorenz was the sole survivor of a very competitive Waunakee contingent. He defeated Elkhorn’s Payton Jacobson 4-1 and then held on to beat Port Washington’s Blake Peiffer in overtime 6-4.
“My goals were always to place higher than I’m ranked (he’s currently seventh),” said Lorenz. “I’m really happy to have made it this far.”
McMillen earned his berth in the semis with a 13-3 win over Germantown’s Chase Celichowski and a 3-2 decision over Elkhorn’s Grant Truesdale.