By Jason Arndt
First-year coach Brian Hopkins describes freshman Logan DeFilippo as a quiet, but resilient, wrestler for the Wilmot Union High School wrestling team.
DeFilippo, at 106 pounds, showed his resilience in the Feb. 6 WIAA Division 1 sectional at Brookfield East, where he cruised through his first two matches with pin fall victories to set up a title match against Lake Geneva Badger’s Logan Clausen.
Unlike the regional meeting, where Clausen defeated DeFilippo in an ultimate tie breaker, the Panthers wrestler came through with a 5-0 decision to claim a sectional title and earned a bid to Saturday’s WIAA State Individual Tournament in Kaukauna.
During a Jan. 7 regular season dual meet, DeFilippo outlasted Clausen, 5-1.
“For a freshman, he showed great resilience. It is pretty exciting and remarkable for a young athlete,” said Hopkins, who remembered DeFilippo’s reaction as he left the mat.
“When he came off the mat, he had a big smile on his face, you could see it through the corners of his mask.”
DeFilippo boasts a 15-1 record entering the Individual State Tournament and opens with a bout against La Crosse Logan/Central sophomore Cole Fitzpatrick (8-2).
While Hopkins acknowledged DeFilippo accomplished one objective, which was qualifying for the State Individual Tournament, the coach believes his freshman isn’t done.
“I don’t think that is the only goal, I think Logan has an opportunity to do a pretty good job,” said Hopkins.
DeFilippo moved to the title bout with a quarterfinal pin fall of Waukesha South’s Colin Wasley (16-4) in 49 seconds and later sent Jacob Madaus (12-8) from West Allis Central to the mat at 1:33 in the semifinal match.
The Panthers, meanwhile, had seven other wrestlers who appeared at the sectional meet.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which reduced the total number of sectional meets and cut state qualifiers in half, the Panthers did not advance anyone else.
At 138, freshman Joel Sullivan (10-4) finished third, losing on a pin fall to Waterford’s Joshua Cherba (11-1) in the second place wrestle back at 1:57 and narrowly missed qualifying for the state meet.
Sullivan, who lost the title bout to Kenosha Bradford’s Corbin Ramos (8-0) in 0:29, won his first two matches in sectionals.
Sullivan, in the quarterfinal match, defeated Marcellus Satterfield (13-7) from Greenfield in 0:58 before winning a semifinal bout on a pin fall against Marquette University High School’s Noah Poston (11-6) at 3:16.
Hopkins, however, believes Sullivan’s experience at sectionals can only help him in his next three seasons at Wilmot.
“Hopefully it will light a fire for him next season,” Hopkins said.
Senior Mason Diedrich, meanwhile, fought his way to second place wrestle back after losing a quarterfinal bout to Union Grove junior Cooper Willis (13-0) on a 9-0 major decision.
Diedrich, who pinned Brookfield Center’s Preston Rockwell (8-5) at 0:26 in the first consolation round, moved the consolation semifinal and won on a pin fall in 1:21 against Seth Swanson (10-3) from Franklin to set up a third place bout.
In the third place match, Diedrich edged Muskego’s Austin Elger (10-3) on a 9-3 decision, which advanced him to the second place wrestle back for a final opportunity of qualifying for state.
But Chris Dobbie (13-4), of Whitnall/Greendale, narrowly escaped with a 7-6 decision and ended Diedrich’s hopes.
“He wrestled very hard, it was a great match,” Hopkins said. “He had a chance to go, but unfortunately it didn’t go the way he wanted it to go.”
At 113, sophomore Gianni Reballato, who won the regional meet, finished sixth in sectionals.
Reballato (6-4) opened with a quarterfinal victory against Oak Creek’s Ayden Woda (7-5) on an 8-5 decision, but dropped his next three matches, including a 9-6 loss to Frank Wagner (13-4) from West Allis Nathan Hale in the fifth place match.
Other Wilmot wrestlers who advanced, but did not place at sectionals, included junior Mason Gauger (120, 5-7), junior Mitch Novalis (170, 6-6), sophomore Devon Hall (220, 1-9) and senior Joey Devall (285, 8-4).