March 1, 2024 at 11:05 a.m.

Gruenenfelder wins title, Orloff 3rd at state wrestling

Pecatonica/Argyle’s Aidan Gruenenfelder won the 106 lb. weight division in Division 3 at the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament Saturday at the Kohl Center.

He registered a pin and a technical fall to ease through his first two mathes. Then he didn’t allow a point in the title bout, scoring the lone point he needed with an escape.

Pec/Argyle’s other entrant in the state tournament, 113 lb. Lukas Orloff finished third. After a win and a loss he won his next two consolation matches then pitched a 2-0 shutout for third place.

A very pumped up Pec/Argyle coach Grant Sutter had this to say about the tournament experience, “I think my heart rate has finally returned to its normal bpm by now. This past weekend was downright special. From the moment we took off from Pecatonica HS, with the fire truck escort through Blanchardville and Hollandale, I had a really good feeling that it’d be a weekend for us to remember.

“Leading up to the weekend, we talked a lot in practice of what to expect with the atmosphere to be like down at the Kohl Center. I’ve been fortunate to have a handful of experiences down there, both as a competitor and as a coach. I think talking about these things leading up to the weekend definitely helps alleviate some of the nerves going in to that arena. However you just never know how one will respond, whether it’s their first or 50th time there.

“Lukas impressed me over and over again with his poise and relentless attacking match after match. The way he wrestled, one would think he’s a senior making his 4th appearance. Coming in, seeded 8th, we knew winning the first match put us in a tough spot with the 1 seed, who’s a senior and a multiple time state place winner (now 2x champ). Jake Fitzpatrick is an amazing wrestler and clearly had the upper hand on us, but that didn’t stop Lukas from throwing everything he had at him. This definitely gave him confidence to battle through his next 3 matches on the back side, upsetting higher seeded guys in every match on his way to the bronze medal. I was so impressed and proud of that young man on his first state appearance. He set an awfully high bar for his next two years as a Vikings wrestler, and I can’t wait to see how he does with his next two years!

“Aidan looked absolutely terrific all season, and after the way last season ended for him losing a heartbreaker in the state finals, we had lofty goals and expectations for him since then. His laser focus and determination to settle some unfinished business was clear to everybody in the state the moment he took to the mat on Friday morning. With a couple of tech falls in his quarterfinals and semifinals matches, we were feeling very confident going in to Saturday night.

“Although, I would have preferred a blow out and a much more relaxed feeling through the finals match. On the other hand, with how tense and close the match turned out to be, the emotions experienced as the last few seconds ticked off the clock were some of the greatest I’ve ever experienced during a match. With everything that yo-yoing man has gone through, since this time last year, that win felt extra special. He definitely impressed his Grandpa Gary, who we know was watching down from the pearly gates.

Moving in to next season, we will have to bring our best on a regular basis. There’s a big ol target on their backs now, and when that’s the case, every opponent is going to throw everything at them to knock off the top dogs.

“What a special feeling it was to return to town with the fire trucks escorting us once again. This community sure knows how to appreciate their student athletes. Having been 43 years since our last state wrestling champ, this was a big deal to those that care for the program. 

“The only thing to do from here is to keep striving for better. Maybe next year, we’ll be bring homing multiple champs. Can’t wait to get back to work on 24’/25’ season.

“Stay Ready!”

2024 WIAA Individual State Results for Pecatonica/Argyle

D3-106 Aidan Gruenenfelder (53-1) placed 1st and scored 23.5 team points.

Quarterfinal - Aidan Gruenenfelder (Pecatonica/Argyle) 53-1 won by fall over Parker Mlsna (Cashton) 42-13 (Fall 3:26), Semifinal - Aidan Gruenenfelder (Pecatonica/Argyle) 53-1 won by tech fall over Reegan Roy (Wabeno/Laona/Th. Lakes) 48-12 (TF-1.5 4:55 (19-3)), 1st Place Match - Aidan Gruenenfelder (Pecatonica/Argyle) 53-1 won by decision over Blake Underwood (Marathon) 53-2 (Dec 1-0)

D3-113 Lukas Orloff (46-7) placed 3rd and scored 16.0 team points.

Champ. Round 1 - Lukas Orloff (Pecatonica/Argyle) 46-7 won by fall over Josue Azuara (Weyauwega-Fremont) 39-14 (Fall 5:01), Quarterfinal - Jake Fitzpatrick (Aquinas) 43-0 won by major decision over Lukas Orloff (Pecatonica/Argyle) 46-7 (MD 16-4), Cons. Round 1 - Lukas Orloff (Pecatonica/Argyle) 46-7 won by major decision over Jaxon Bogacz (Bonduel) 24-9 (MD 11-2), Cons. Semi - Lukas Orloff (Pecatonica/Argyle) 46-7 won by decision over Derek Godard (Auburndale) 48-8 (Dec 11-4), 3rd Place Match - Lukas Orloff (Pecatonica/Argyle) 46-7 won by decision over Kaleb Lodahl (Cadott) 44-10 (Dec 2-0)