By David Paulsen
Although he faced some very stiff competition at state, Union Grove High School’s Cole Ryan gained a lot of experience at the WIAA Division 1 Individual State Wrestling Championships last week.
Ryan wrestled two matches at state at the 220-pound weight class, one on Feb. 21 and the other Feb. 22. His opening match was against the eventual state champion, Tyler Schmidt of Merrill. Schmidt pinned Ryan in one minute 16 seconds.
“Going up against the top kid right away gave him a chance on Friday (to wrestle),” head coach Andy Weis noted.
In Friday’s wrestlebacks, Ryan faced Menasha’s Zeek Hooyman. Hooyman pinned Ryan in 3:45.
Weis said that Ryan, a sophomore, was not nearly as nervous on Friday as he had been the day before. Ryan was trailing just 3-0 when he got pinned.
Weis added that the state experience has increased Ryan’s drive for next season.
“He’s excited about next season,” Weis said.
Ryan finished the season with a 24-13 record.
It was a good weekend for SLC schools at the tournament. Schmidt defeated Elkhorn’s Dakota Johnson 6-1 for the title, while Elkhorn’s Jake Stilling (170), Burlington’s Josh Bird (120) and Waterford’s Cody Nannemann (160) all won state titles.