Marshfield senior Brad Dolezal signals to the Tigers' fans that he has won state title No. 3 after he defeated Ryan Bonikowske of Neenah 7-0 in the Division 1 160-pound championship match Saturday at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament in Madison. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
Marshfield senior Torin Boernke battles Thomas Allen of Menasha in the 135-pound championship match Saturday night at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison. Boernke lost 8-4 to finish second at state for the second year in a row. (Photo by Paul Lecker/MarshfieldAreaSports.com)
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By Paul Lecker
MADISON – Marshfield High School wrestler Brad Dolezal capped off the greatest career in the history of the school’s program with his third state title on Saturday at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at the Kohl Center.
Dolezal beat Ryan Bonikowske of Neenah in the 160-pound Division 1 championship match in dominating fashion, 7-0, to repeat as state champion and capture his third title overall in his four-year career.
“Going in freshman year I was just hoping to make varsity,” Dolezal said. “I made the spot, the season started going well and getting better and better. Then it developed from there to being a state qualifier and found myself in the finals. I would have never thought this would happen – not at all.”
Dolezal’s teammate Torin Boernke settled for second place for the second season in a row.
Boernke lost to Menasha’s Thomas Allen 8-4 in the 135-pound championship match to end his season with a 44-3 record. It was Boernke’s fourth top-three medal at the state tournament as he took third place as a freshman and won the 112-pound championship as a sophomore.
“He was a really good opponent and capitalized on some of the mistakes I made,” Boernke said. “I had opportunities to score once, twice, maybe a few other times, but he was good on his feet, he was good at countering. He was a good wrestler, just better than me today, I guess.”
Dolezal, who will wrestle collegiately at the University of Minnesota starting in the fall, finishes as Marshfield’s all-time leader in wins with 172 (with only seven losses), shattering the old mark of 144 set by Ross Needham from 1999-2002. He won his final 95 matches and became the first four-time finalist and three-time state champion at Marshfield.
“There’s a lot of plaques up in our room (at the high school) with takedowns, most wins in a season and a career and I think definitely, when I get back, I’ll be looking at that,” Dolezal said. “I set a goal of trying to get on some of those plaques up there and I accomplished that. It’s nice to see my name up there.”
Boernke narrowly missed grabbing control on at least two occasions in the first period, but did take a 1-0 in the second on an escape. Allen quickly turned the tables as he had a takedown and a two-point nearfall with 50 seconds to go to take a 4-1 lead.
Allen eventually took a 6-4 lead into the final seconds when Boernke went for one final move to tie the match with a takedown, but Allen retaliated and instead gained control of Boernke for another two points just before the buzzer.
The loss puts a damper on Boernke’s season, but not on his career, where he finishes second on Marshfield’s all-time wins list behind Dolezal with 155 victories.
“I’m happy with how I did all the years,” Boernke said. “I put in all that hard work and I think that I got out what I put in, which makes me happy and that it was all worthwhile. I definitely feel it was. I will always look back with fond memories and be happy with what I did.”
Marshfield coach Don Lang said the two seniors walking away with eight top-three medals and four state championships between them during their careers is something the program may never see again.
“Do they have to leave? I can’t have them back?” Lang joked. “To match what they have done during these four years is pretty tough to do. There’s not many guys out there that can say they have accomplished what Brad and Torin have accomplished.
“Torin really wanted that state title this year, but it didn’t work out for him. He has to hold his head high, he’s head one heck of a career. Both of them have been a joy to coach, they have been so coachable, so humble. You can’t ask for two better individuals on the mat, in the classroom and just in life in general.”
Marshfield State Champions
Gene Johnson (128 pounds), 1957
Roger Larson (180), 1958
Jerry Holubets (138), 1958
Doug Sommer (145), 1963
Jon Clermont (145), 1986
Darwin Larson (145), 1989
Ross Needham (140), 2002
Torin Boernke (112), 2009
Brad Dolezal (140), 2008; (145), 2010; (160) 2011
(Champions list from marshfieldwrestling.org).