Demons send all 14 to sectionals Saturday

Burlington sophomore Zach Wallace dominates his opponent at 182 pounds during the Southern Lakes Conference tournament Feb. 2. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)



Editor’s Note: Burlington hosted a Division 1 regional Saturday and had all 14 wrestlers earn a top-four finish, thus qualifying for sectionals Saturday, Feb. 9 at Racine Park High School.

The following story appears in this week’s Burlington Standard Press, available at area newsstands through Wednesday, Feb. 13.


By Mike Ramczyk

The Burlington wrestling squad took care of business Saturday at the Southern Lakes Conference tournament.

A game Waterford squad scored 260 total team points, but the Demons held on to score 262.5 and earn outright SLC champs for the second consecutive year.

Burlington boasted five champions – Jaden Bird (113), Zach Weiler (132) Cody Welker (145), Jake Skrundz (160) and Zach Wallace (182).

Waterford also had five champions.

Union Grove took third place with 144 points.

It wasn’t as dominant of a day as the Demons anticipated, but getting Skrundz back from a season-long injury and being as healthy as they have all season came in handy at the meet, which was held at Elkhorn Area High School.

Burlington followed up its perfect conference regular season with a tournament title.

“It’s good, it’s something we’re working on,” said Burlington head coach Jade Gribble. “It’s not the goal, it’s a goal we’ve been working on. Hopefully we can accomplish another goal at regionals next week.”

“We’re getting people back, hopefully we get a few more back next week. We really haven’t had a healthy team all season. We are just trying to fight through and do what we can.”


Skrundz impressive in comeback

Skrundz, who was out most of the season with a separated shoulder, returned to action a few weeks ago and re-injured the shoulder.

Saturday was his first action in awhile, and he was dominant.

After receiving a bye, he won by pin fall before pinning Elkhorn’s Colman Karl in 2:37 in the championship match.

“I was taking time off,” Skrundz said Saturday. “I couldn’t raise my arm or do anything, it was awful. My goal was to get back for regionals. I decided to wrestle today, and it turned out well.”

“Normally, I keep pushing, but today I tried to wrestle smart. I felt really good, and I got it in my mind I was ready to wrestle.”

Skrundz said he is near 100 percent.

Gribble said it was nice to have him back on the mat.

“He really wrestled well the whole day and was pretty dominant,” Gribble said.


Bird wins in thriller

At 113, Bird went to overtime against Elkhorn’s Payton Jacobson.

In an exciting match, Bird pulled off an escape in the third OT period to win, 4-1.

Bird is the No. 1 wrestler in the state at 113, and Jacobson is No. 3.

“Jaden wrestled a good match with Jacobson,” Gribble said. “We knew it would be close. Jaden wrestled well all day, and he’s been wrestling well all season.”

Weiler, a two-year captain, pinned his opponent in the finals. Gribble said he was “dominant” all day and is a great leader.

Welker earned a 13-2 major decision over Waterford’s Jacob Cherba in the 145 championship.

At 182, Wallace beat Union Grove’s Keith Storm-
Voltz, 9-0, in the championship.

At 126 pounds, Nathan Cortez took third place.

He overcame a low seed and won by major decision in his third-place match.

“Nathan had a good day,” Gribble said. “He came from an eighth seed to take third place.”

At 285 pounds, Taylon Hensley got a huge pin over Waterford for third place, and he pointed to his teammates as they erupted on the sideline.

Gribble said that despite the victory, there is still room for improvement.

“We got some things to fix right now,” he said. “I wouldn’t say we had a great day. It’s hard with an individual/team sport, some wrestled well and others didn’t.”

“I’m happy for our conference championship and happy for our kids.”

Second-place finishers for the Demons included Ben Kumprey (138), Max Ehlen (152), Qwade Gehring (170) and Wyatt Hayes (220).