Call them the Sensational Six.
After a day of exciting wrestling and several close battles, the Wrightstown Tigers wrestling team qualified six wrestlers for sectional competition at the WIAA Division II Regionals at Luxemburg Casco High School.
The Tigers of co-head coach Matt and Bill Verbeten earned three championships and three runners’ up finishes, good for third in the team competition. Two Rivers earned the Regional Championship with the host Spartans coming in second place.
“I thought we wrestled pretty good today,” Matt Verbeten said. “We could have had a couple more qualifiers, but if you go with the overall performance, I think we wrestled pretty good today.”
Earning Regional Championships for the Tigers were Ben Klister at 145 pounds, Josh Verbeten at 152, and Stetson Burmeister at 182. Second place finishers included Derick Bader at 120, Darby Schumacher at 132, and Bryce Herlache at 160. Coach Verbeten liked the way his team stepped up.
“I really like the way guys stepped up today,” Verbeten said. “Kids just stepping up there in the middle. A lot of those guys one close ones in the semis, and we just continued to battle. That is all you can ask. So stuff to build on and improve for next week, so we are sitting pretty good.”
Burmeister was the only wrestler to win a regional title for the Tigers by pin fall. In the final, the senior suddenly flipped Darius Campanella of Two Rivers on his back to earn the pin at 2:24. Both Klister and Verbeten used close decision victories to earn their titles, with Klister getting a 7-5 decision over Eric Peters of Luxemburg-Casco, in what many called the toughest regional in the state.
“Every day at practice we get motivational speeches from the coaches, telling us that at any time it could be our last match of the year,” Klister said. “If you want to do something great, you have to push yourself and that is what we did in practice this week.”
For Verbeten, who earned his championship with a 4-3 decision over Michael Bertrand of Southern Door, it is another chance to improve on his state qualifier season of last year.
“I think I wrestled pretty good today, but I still have a lot of work to do for sectionals,” the senior said. “I know that we will have a tough practice and the coaches will prepare us for the next step.”
Coach Verbeten thinks that he has a good group of kids going for a sectional title.
“I think that they all have a chance to (qualify for states),” Verbeten said. “They are all state quality kids. They just got to put the time in and come with the right mindset that they want to do it. They are all right there; it is up to them.”
Individual Sectionals are at Oconto Falls High School on Saturday, February 20th.