Contributed photograph
Lakeland’s Harry Nemcek stands atop the podium as the conference champ at 113 pounds.
Contributed photograph
Lakeland’s Harry Nemcek stands atop the podium as the conference champ at 113 pounds.
Highlighted by Harry Nemcek’s conference title at 113 pounds, the Lakeland wrestling team had a good day at the conference meet at Medford, racking up six individual podium appearances and a fifth place team finish.

Nemcek put in a full day’s work in the round robin tournament to earn the championship, as he had to wrestle five matches on the day.

He first pinned Kayden Dassow of Medford in 1:29. Then he won a 14-3 major decision over Gage Robinson of Tomahawk. He then pinned Conner Dettman of Antigo in 3:06. That was followed by a 9-1 major decision over Mosinee’s Logan Johnson before he pinned Hugh Weiss of Rhinelander in 3:30 for the title. 

“Harry Nemcek going undefeated on the day and being conference champion at 113 for us that was a pretty awesome day for him,” assistant coach Ryan Heath said. 

In addition to the Nemcek’s first place finish, Lakeland also had four runner-ups.  

At 106 Sawyer Duir beat Antigo’s Seth Beaver 4-6, then got two byes before beating Blake Felser of Tomahawk 8-2. In his final match he would get pinned by Tim Fox of Rhinelander in 1:11 and receive second place.

At 132, Nazar Lenz also was a runner-up champion. He first got pinned by Dane Higgins of Medford before he pinned Benjamin Stimac of Antigo. Then he received two byes. In his final match he pinned Alex Bishop of Tomahawk to secure second place.

“Nazar Lenz had a very tough weight class, was really impressive that he got a couple pins on the day,” Heath said.

Jason Hilgart also was conference runner-up champion at 145. Hilgart’s path to the podium included a forfeit by Neil Bretl of Antigo, a pin over Tyler Olson of Rhinelander, a bye, and a pin over Isaiah Scheffler of Tomahawk. However, in his final match Hilgart would get pinned by Zeke Sigmund of Medford to receive second place.

“Zeke actually hit a pretty funky move on (Hilgart) called the cement mixer and he kind of hit it out of nowhere in the first period, caught Jason off guard a little bit,” Heath said. “It’s kind of hard to feel bad about that loss. (Sigmund) was the most outstanding wrestler in the conference.”

Xavier Burgess took second place as well at 170 pounds. He pinned Jovanni Castaneda of Antigo and Ryan Skees of Tomahawk before he was pinned by Clay Bowe of Medford in a 4:30 battle. Burgess then pinned Jaydon Cheek of Mosinee and Gavin Ostermann of Rhinelander to secure the runner-up spot.

Though both Burgess and Bowe were 4-1 on the day, Bowe was given the championship due to the fact that his loss was a decision and not a pin.

“That was a tough break. That was unfortunate for him, obviously we wanted to finish out his career on a conference championship,” Heath said.

Lakeland’s final podium finisher was Henry Evenhouse at 195. Evenhouse first pinned Brady VandeWeerd of Antigo and then received a bye before getting pinned by Eric Decker of Tomahawk. Then he would lose a 6-4 decision to Connor Lund of Rhinelander before beating Dalton Krug of Medford 3-1 to take third place overall.

In other action, Tim Burnett took fourth place at 126 pounds, Patrick Grams took fifth place at 138, Brady Edwards took sixth place at 160, Andre Starynski took sixth place at 182, and Ian Valliere took fourth place at 220.

“Overall we finished fifth which was lower than we finished last year,” Heath said. “It was a little bit of an up and down day. We had a few individuals that stood out. That was nice to see.”

Medford won the team conference title with 370 points. They were followed by Antigo with 350, Tomahawk with 335, Rhinelander with 283, Lakeland with 259, and Mosinee with 187. 

Next up for the Thunderbirds is a the regional meet at Amherst. Wrestling is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m

Jacob Friede may be reached at or