WAUSAU, Wis.—Although the Coleman wrestling team did not finish the WIAA Division 3 individual state finals with a gold, the Cougars did something they haven’t since the 1960s.
All four wrestlers who competed at Wausau East High School on Saturday placed and brought home medals, which hasn’t happened since Coleman was in a one class system and dominated high school wrestling by winning five state championships and two runner-ups in a seven-year span.
Junior Karson Casper (145-pounds) finished in second-place to lead the Cougars, while seniors Ty Blanchard (170) and Spencer Karban (285) came in third and junior Ray LeMieux (113) finished sixth.
“We brought four kids down here and we walked away with four medals and I’m very proud of our wrestlers,” Coleman coach Kevin Casper said. “The great news is, we have next week yet to come home with gold around our necks and be state champs again at team state. We’ll start working on Monday and hopefully come back with another state championship.”
Kason Casper’s road to second-place started with an 8-3 decision win over Pittsville’s Camron Dammann in the quarterfinals.
In the semis, he went up against Elijah Lucio of Stratford where he came away with a hard fough 4-2 decision to get him to finals against Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Cael Erickson, where Erickson got the best of him in a 5-0 decision win.
Blanchard won by 5-2 decision in his first match against Stratford’s Logan Rueth, but was pinned in 5 minutes, 10 seconds by Random Lake’s Samuel Schwabe in the semis to fall to the consolation semis.
In the consolation bracket, Blanchard defeated Spring Valley’s Brayden Wolf with a pin in 44 seconds before coming away with a 9-0 decision over Kewaunee’s Mitchell Thompson in the third-place match.
“Last year, if I wouldn’t have been injured and got the chance to wrestle at state I wouldn’t have been satisfied (with third-place), but this year I don’t have a choice because there is no next year for me,” Blanchard said. “Coming up short here, not just me but I know all four of us are disappointed so to come away with a gold medal as a team next weekend would mean everything.”
Karban gutted out a 6-5 decision victory to start his day off in the quarterfinals over Whitehall’s Wylie Dunn, but in the semifinals Wade Stanger of Ladysmith pinned him in 4:28 to fall into the consolation semifinals.
Against Blair-Taylor’s Chris Rogstad in the consolations, Karban took out his frustration with a 53-second pin to advance to the third-place match where he faced his first round opponent, Wylie Dunn.
This time, Karban left nothing to chance with a 10-4 decision victory to claim his bronze.
“It feels pretty good (to take third) but I’m not done yet,” Karban said. “We’re all very excited about next week, and hopefully we can pull it out and win another state title.”
LeMieux fell in his first match of the day against Nolan McKittrick of Royall by 9-0 major decision to fall into the consolation round against Ken. Christian Life’s Ian Grubbs where he turned around and won by a 14-0 major decision of his own.
In the consolation semis against Kayne Johnson of Cameron, LeMieux fell by pinfall in 4:19 to move on to the fifth-place match, where he was defeated by 6-1 decision by Kaleb Casey of Spring Valley.
Coleman will now prepare for WIAA Division 3 team state tournament back in Wausau this coming weekend, except this time they’ll be heading to Wausau West High School for competition.