SW freshman Philip French (silver singlet) punched his ticket to districts Saturday and carries a 32-8 season record into the meet at 113 pounds. (Photo by Becky Walz)
SW freshman Philip French (silver singlet) punched his ticket to districts Saturday and carries a 32-8 season record into the meet at 113 pounds. (Photo by Becky Walz)

Three South Winn matmen are one step closer to earning a spot at the state wrestling meet.

At Saturday’s Class 1A Sectional 2 meet in Monona, two freshmen and a junior finished in the top-two of their weight classes to move on to the district meet Saturday, Feb. 9, in Denver.

Earning runner-up finishes to advance were Ethan Maldonado (freshman, 106 pounds), Philip French (freshman, 113 pounds) and junior Logan Schnuelle (152 pounds).

As a team, South Winn placed fifth with 120 points. Denver was the team champion, compiling 278.5 points. MFL MarMac was second with 186 points. The top-two teams (Denver and MFL MarMac) advance to the regional team tournament today, Tuesday, Feb. 5.

How it works

There were seven teams at the Sectional 2 meet. Grapplers needed to finish in the top-two of their weight bracket in order to advance to districts.

Unlike other meets, wrestle backs are utilized beginning with the sectional round. Wrestle backs are used when the grapplers who finished second and third didn’t face each other. This determines the “true” second-place finisher.

Terrific trio

Maldonado placed second at the sectional meet Saturday to earn a spot at districts. The freshman started his day with a quarterfinal bye at 106 pounds. He then went up against Cael Judisch of Sumner-Fredericksburg, throwing the Cougar in 3:50 in the semifinals. That put him in the finals against Joe Ebaugh of Denver, falling on a 4-2 decision. In a wrestle back match, the SW 106-pounder pinned Postville’s Riley Rankin in 5:55 to earn second.

With a 32-8 season record, Maldondo will face Rockford’s Kaden Peterson (26-13) in the first round Saturday.

Also a freshman, French claimed runner-up at 113 pounds, utilizing a first-round bye. The youngster toppled Sumner-Fredericksburg’s Brady Wilkinson in 53 seconds to advance to the finals against Class 1A No. 6 Brooks Meyer of Denver. French was thrown in 26 seconds to finish second.

So far, French is 31-10 this year. He will do battle with Class 1A No. 3 Jakob Whitinger (40-2) of Nashua-Plainfield at districts.

A year ago, Schnuelle’s sophomore season ended at the district meet and he is looking for redemption. It was a wrestle back victory for Schnuelle at 152 pounds, allowing him to finish second. Following a bye, Schnuelle took on Denver’s Ben Foelske, winning by a 5-3 decision. Next on the list was Class 1A No. 1 Kaleb Krall of Wapsie Valley. Schnuelle put up a fight against the top-ranked Class 1A wrestler before being thrown in 3:20. Luckily for Schnuelle, he got a second chance with a wrestle back. Facing MFL MarMac’s Max Havlicek, Schnuelle won by fall in 1:16.

At 34-8 this year, Schnuelle will face off with Brody Roder (28-16) of AGWSR in the first round of district action.

District information

The district meet is Saturday, Feb. 9, at noon in Denver. Champions and runners-up from the MFL MarMac and North Butler-Clarksville sectional sites do battle at districts. The top-two grapplers at each weight class advance to the state meet, which runs Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 14-16, at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

The champion from each sectional site battles the runner-up from each opposing sectional location in the first round of district action. There will be two rounds, followed by a possible wrestle back. Wrestle backs occur if the second and third place finishers did not face each other in the first round. This determines the true second-place winner and the grapplers who advance to state.

Last year, South Winn had nine grapplers move on to districts. Schnuelle will be the lone matman with district experience.