By Greg Bates
Times Press sports correspondent
WRIGHTSTOWN– Wyatt Kaczrowski and Brady Eick went into their WIAA Division 2 sectionals looking to make history.
That’s exactly what they did.
For the first time since 2012, the Seymour wrestling program registered two sectional champions as Kaczrowski and Eick took home titles on Saturday.
“We’re really excited,” Seymour coach Mark Schmoll said. “Any time you get a sectional champion, it’s an exciting day. But to get two in the same day is icing on the cake.”
What makes the rare feat more special is Kaczrowski and Eick are best friends and live two blocks from one another.
“We grew up together,” Eick said. “It’s awesome we get to experience this together.”
Both guys got to cheer one another on in their title matches and celebrate afterward.
Kaczrowski (113) was first to win his sectional crown. The sophomore had a very solid day on the mat. He cruised to the championship match with a decision and tech fall in the opening two rounds.
Kaczrowski, who is ranked No. 3 in the state in his weight class by WiWrestling.com, faced off against No. 10-ranked Blaze Thurber from Nekoosa/Assumption/Port Edwards. Kaczrowski controlled the match and pulled off an 8-6 decision.
“I feel like I dominated the match the whole time,” Kaczrowski said.
“He’s been wrestling really smart, lots of motion, attacking to score,” Schmoll said. “One of points was for stalling, so it wasn’t quite as close as the final score ended up being.”
Schmoll was impressed by Kaczrowski’s wrestling all day.
“Wyatt looked great today,” Schmoll said. “Early in the year he was wrestling lights out, beating highly ranked kids. He was sick for the middle part of the season and missed quite a bit of time and right now he’s peaking and continues to get better every week. We’re really excited about next weekend as well.”
Kaczrowski (30-5) was thrilled to win a sectional title after placing third at 113 in sectionals last season.
“It feels pretty good,” Kaczrowski said. “I’ve been working for this all season and it’s the one thing I wanted to do. Now I’ve just got to get all the way to the top at state.”
Kaczrowski rose to the occasion last season at state and placed fifth. But he has bigger expectations this year: a state title.
“I’ve been working for to win it this whole season and I’ll be disappointed if I don’t get that,” Kaczrowski said.
Since he won the sectional title, Kaczrowski has a first-round bye at state. His opening match will be Friday at 11:15 a.m. If Kaczrowski wins to advance to the semifinals, he will most likely face the winner of No. 2-ranked Quintin Gehrmann of Jefferson and No. 4-ranked Josh Frye of Viroqua. Top-ranked Tommy Larson of East Troy, who won the 106-pound title last season, is on the opposite bracket.
Eick (182) pulled a couple upsets en route to his sectional title. He came in ranked No. 9 in the state but had three guys in his sectional ranked ahead of him: Little Chute’s Bryce Schumacher (No. 2), Sturgeon Bay/Sevastopol’s Jeremy Jorns (No. 3) and Amherst’s Josh Rieck (No. 8).
After a pin in the opening round, Eick (31-3) took on Schumacher in the semifinals. A two-time state qualifier, Schumacher came into the match undefeated on the season. But Eick calmly claimed an 8-4 victory.
There wasn’t much time to savor the victory as Rieck was the opponent in the championship match. Eick trailed 6-2 heading into the third period, but he wasn’t afraid.
“I kind of just waited it out,” Eick said. “I kind of just let the match take its toll and I felt my way through the match as it went.”
Eick took a shot early in the period and ended up getting a pin at 4:21.
“Brady’s put a lot of time in wrestling Greco in the summer and that paid off for him in that match,” Schmoll said. “He was behind in points, so he was going to have to use his hips and throw to get caught up, and he did just that.”
Said Eick: “I feel like he was definitely shocked. The kid’s a stud, I give him all credit. He had three solid doubles on me, but I think I really shocked him with that.”
Elated, Eick received a big bear hug from Schmoll. He loved being the underdog and pulling off the victory.
“It’s the best feeling in the world, there’s nothing really like it,” Eick said. “There’s nothing that compares to getting your hand raised then getting hugs and high-fives from everyone.”
Eick will have his work cut out for him at state after his opening-round bye. In the quarterfinals, he’ll most likely take on No. 4-ranked Bret Kostka of Osseo-Fairchild/Augusta/Fall Creek. Undefeated two-time state champion Shane Liegel from River Valley lies ahead in the semifinals.
“It’s going to be epic,” said Eick about competing at state. “Under the big lights down in Madison, it’s going to be fun.
“I have a lot of work yet if I want to stand on that podium at state.”
Seymour had two other wrestlers compete at sectionals: Javon Leisgang (160) and Jeremiah Baranczyk (132).
Leisgang (25-9) lost his opening match by tech fall and then pinned Tomahawk’s Wyatt Wenninger, who was ranked No. 11 in state. In the third-place match, Leisgang fell to No. 10-ranked Aden Elsen from Nekoosa/Assumption/Port Edwards, 8-2.
Baranczyk (26-14) got pinned in his lone match against No. 9-ranked Colby Bernhardt of Waupaca.
“It’s sad when a senior has his last match, especially when he has that type of character,” Schmoll said. “But eventually it has to end, unfortunately. I couldn’t be more proud of Jeremiah, the young man that he is and the leader he’s been for our team.”