Team garners three regional champions

By Jason Arndt

Coming off their Southern Lakes Conference wrestling titles, the trends continued for Wilmot Union High School seniors Joey Graham and Hunter Valach, both of whom secured championships in the WIAA Division 1 regional hosted by Elkhorn Area High School on Feb. 10.

With their victories, Graham and Valach advanced to Saturday’s sectional at Fort Atkinson, where they will vie for a chance to compete in the state meet.

“Hunter Valach and Joey Graham each wrestled quite well as expected,” Panthers coach John Watson said.

Graham, who holds a 38-0 record, won his 120 pound division on a forfeit while Valach, at 170, came away with a 5-4 defeat of Elkhorn’s Myles Schumaker.

The Panthers duo, however, are not the only Wilmot wrestlers to move forward.

Along with Graham, who holds a 38-0 record at 120 pounds, and Valach (32-4, 170), the Panthers saw another champion in sophomore Logan Pye.

Pye, who pinned Charlie Schweinler of Elkhorn in the semifinal match, claimed the 152 pound title with a 10-2 major decision against Lake Geneva Badger’s Austin Pack.

“Pye has been slowly improving his entire career, and this regional title is not only well deserved, but will hopefully give him the increased confidence and drive moving forward in his career,” Watson said about Pye, who stands at 32-4.

Meanwhile, the Panthers qualified four others, Larz Gough (160, 4th), Mason Diedrich (138, 4th), Drew Hebior (132, 4th) and Benson DuChemin (113, 3rd).

The seven sectional qualifiers exceeds their total from last year, when the Panthers had five advance, which left Watson pleased.

“This year, we saw continued improvement at regionals with more qualifiers and champions than last year,” Watson. “I feel all of the Wilmot wrestlers gave great efforts, whether they got through or not, and that is how we judge our kids.”

With exception to an injury at 126, the Panthers 11 other wrestlers notched at least one win.


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