Bears send 4 to Madison

Boldt leads Bonduel as sectional champ

Leader photo by Jacy Zollar Bonduel High School senior Jordan Boldt defeated Stratford’s A.J. Schoenfuss 3-1 to take the 126-pound title at the WIAA Division 3 sectional tournament in Shawano on Saturday.

Bonduel head coach Chris Rank had the number four in the back of his mind from the start of the WIAA Division 3 wrestling tournament.

His goal came to pass at Saturday’s sectional as four Bears advanced to the state tournament in Madison.

Senior Jordan Boldt clinched the 126-pound championship at the sectional hosted by Bonduel in Shawano. Isaac Banker (170 pounds), Jacob Banker (182 pounds) and Jacob Giese (195 pounds) punched their tickets to state with wins in consecutive third-place matches.

“That was exciting,” Rank said. “I was a little nervous after the second round, because we only had Jordan (Boldt) guaranteed. But to have Jordan win the championship and then the other three qualify back-to-back-to-back was just exciting and a great way to finish.”

Boldt (41-4) picked up a 3-1 decision over three-time state champion, Stratford’s A.J. Schoenfuss (41-4), in the championship match. Boldt last defeated Schoenfuss in the first round of sectionals his sophomore year, but Schoenfuss went on to take the 120-pound state title while Boldt finished fourth.

“I can’t put this feeling into words,” Boldt said. “I worked toward this every day at practice to get myself to this level, and now that I finally wrestled Schoenfuss again and beat him, it feels insane. I’ve studied him, and we have a very similar wrestling style, so I know this kid. I’d love to see him in the finals at state and take his chance at four titles away.”

“I would love nothing more than to see those two meet up in the finals,” Rank agreed. “They’re on opposite sides of the bracket and I can guarantee Schoenfuss is thinking about being a four-timer, and Jordan’s very confident and wrestling very well, so that would be a great matchup.”

Boldt pinned both of his opponents in the first two rounds — Manawa’s Tyler Pynenberg in 3 minutes, 4 seconds, followed by Crandon’s Jakob Hoyt in 5:47 — before the title match.

Boldt also achieved a feat he’s been working toward all season. He slid into the No. 2 spot for most wins in Bonduel school history after surpassing the previous second-place holder, Rich Schmidt (156 wins), with his first sectional victory over Pynenberg. Boldt sits at 159 wins before the state tournament. He’ll end his high school career just shy of Ben Tauchen, who holds the record at 168 wins.

“It’s been an awesome day,” Boldt said. “I actually didn’t know I broke the second-place record after my first match until coach (Rank) told me later. But it feels amazing, because I grew up watching Ben (Tauchen) and I wanted to be like him as a wrestler. And now kids will see my name up there next to his and hopefully feel that same way about me.”

Bonduel’s other three state-qualifiers clinched their spots within minutes of each other.

Isaac Banker (40-7) began the Bears’ rally with an overtime victory in the third-place match. The freshman knocked off Coleman’s Tyler Blanchard 6-4 in sudden victory to secure third place.

His brother, senior Jacob Banker (35-2), pinned Crandon’s John Doane in 3:21 in the following match.

Junior Jacob Giese (40-6) capped it off with a quick pin over Dylan Houts, of Wabeno, in 59 seconds. Giese moved up to second-place after winning by medical forfeit over Stratford’s Aiden Hoffman in the wrestleback.

Boldt and Jacob Banker are headed to Madison for their third time, while Isaac Banker and Giese will both make their first trip to the state tourney. For the Banker brothers, Isaac will start his state run as Jacob rounds out his high school career.

“For brothers to have this opportunity is pretty special,” Rank said. “Making it to state in this sectional is very tough, so for a freshman to get there is a great accomplishment. And to get to experience that with his brother, who is very experienced at state, will be a great opportunity.”

With one of the toughest sectionals in Division 3, Rank expects his wrestlers to have an edge in Madison.

“This is no doubt the most competitive sectional,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of kids on the podium from this sectional, so these kids have already competed against some of the hardest wrestlers in the division.

“I feel very confident that all four of these guys have a good chance of making the podium. And that’s our goal — we don’t want to just go there and say we’re competing at state. The goal is to get on the podium.”

Five other Bears ended their seasons at the sectional tournament.

Max Sokolski (106 pounds) was just shy of making state after falling to Weyauwega-Fremont’s Carter Greening (1:35) in the third-place match.

Luis Lagunes (113 pounds), Moises Lagunes (145 pounds) and Colin Wussow (220 pounds) lost in the quarterfinal.

Jayson Toellner (120 pounds) won the quarterfinal by technical fall, but was pinned in the semifinal and consolation semi.