State wrestling

NORWAY – Norway High School’s history-making wrestling season continues Friday in the MHSAA Division 4 state quarterfinals at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena.

Defending state champion Hudson (27-6) will meet the Knights at 4:30 p.m. (Central time). The other quarterfinals pit Bronson (21-0) vs. Sand Creek (25-9), New Lothrop (31-4) vs. Carson City-Crystal (26-6) and Hesperia (33-2) vs. Kent City (35-4).

Norway captured its first Mid-Peninsula Conference championship and last week produced its first regional title in exciting fashion.

The Knights beat perennial power Rogers City in the regional semifinal and tied St. Ignace in the final. The criteria used for the tie-breaker sent Norway to the state quarterfinals.

“The kids came to work,” Norway Coach Nick Burklund said after the regional tournament. “We told them this was going to be like our state championship.

“We have to leave everything on the mat and boy did they respond.”

First match points scored determined the regional king.

“It was a very exciting night,” said Burklund, assisted by Tracey Haferkorn and Billy Burklund. “We couldn’t be prouder of our kids. They over exceeded all expectations.

“As a team we head to Battle Creek. What an experience that will be.”

In the two regional matches, Norway’s Zac Decremer (103) posted a pin; Tim Huddleston (112), pin; Donny Houle (119), decision; Cayleb Winkler (125), pin and decision; Jake Wetsel (130), decision; Cody Spade (140), pin; Taylor Bonetti (160), pin and decision; Jake Rehn (171), two pins; Jordan Neumann (189), decision; Pat Guffey (215), pin, and Kasey Siegle (285), pin.

Bonetti (152), Rehn (171) and Winkler (125) also qualified for the MHSAA Division 4 individual tournament next week at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Norway also features wrestlers relatively new to the varsity sport. Rehn, Neumann and Guffey are first-year grapplers. Decremer and Huddleston are freshmen with area junior wrestling experience.

The Knights also have a pair of dual sport competitors in Wetsel (swimming) and Garrett Bonetti (jayvee basketball).

Wetsel is a senior and two-year wrestler with “outstanding work ethic.”

“If Garrett were to wrestle full time, he would be a hand full for his opponents,” Burklund said.

State semifinals and finals will take place Saturday.

Dollar to Madison

FLORENCE, Wis. – Florence’s Cole Dollar will tangle with the best this week in the WIAA Division 3 state wrestling tournament at Madison.

Dollar, owning a 35-4 record at 160 pounds, makes his second state appearance in Madison. The senior opens Thursday night against Mason McCauley (29-12) of Weston/Ithaca.

The winner meets Kevin Beckmann (40-6) of Ozaukee in the next round Friday morning. The loser drops to the consolation round.

Ross Peterson (34-1) of Ladysmith is one of 32 wrestlers in the meet that have suffered defeat only once this season. Beckmann, Dexter Karban (30-8) of Coleman and Ethan Soderstrom (46-4) of Lancaster also received first-round byes at 160.

Soderstrom moves up into the 160-pound bracket after winning at 152 last year.

Cashton senior Dominic Flock’s quest for a second straight title is somewhat of an anomaly, moving down a weight class to qualify at 152 after winning the 160 championship a year ago. He has compiled a 41-1 mark this year.

Dollar holds the Florence school record for career victories at 134. Dustin Robinson, a Florence wrestling great from the past, has family ties to the WIAA Division 2 tournament.

River Valley High School’s Joe Crook (37-8), Robinson’s brother-in-law, wrestles in the 145-pound division. The junior from Spring Green received a first-round bye after winning his sectional last week.

Crook, who didn’t make the sectionals last years, tallied two falls and a decision to reach state.