Marshfield’s Nolan Hertel excited for chance at first state wrestling tournament
Matches begin Thursday afternoon in Madison
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield freshman Nolan Hertel has high goals as he heads to Madison for his first WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament.
Hertel (31-12) finished second at 138 pounds at the D.C. Everest sectional last Saturday, fighting through a third-place match and a second-place wrestleback, where he took down two state-ranked opponents by narrow margins.
Hertel will face Zach Lee of Kaukauna in a Division 1 preliminary Thursday afternoon at the Kohl Center.
“I’ve been really working my offense,” Hertel said. “I know that will help me succeed and reaching my ultimate goal of getting on the podium (with a top-six finish and a state medal).
“It’s been an unbelievable journey. All of the hard work, it feels very good right now.”
Marshfield coach Jackson Hein said Hertel made it to the state meet through determination.
“It’s not a complicated formula,” Hein said. “The harder you work and the more you believe in yourself and the training, (the better you become).
“He was focused the entire time, even when the match got tight, he had a lot of composure. Both matches he was tied up with about 30 seconds left. We’re looking that momentum going into the state tournament. He’s going to have a tough match, but I think if he wrestles the way he can and up to his ability, he’s going to do some damage like (at sectionals).”
Hertel has never faced Lee, a member of the top-ranked Division 1 team in the state from Kaukauna. Going up against an unknown opponent is nothing new in high school wrestling, so Hertel is going to concentrate more on what he can do.
“A lot of my matches have been like that this year,” Hertel said. “I don’t focus on names. I just go out there and do my best and beat the guy no matter what. I’m really excited. I just want to go out there and have a good time. That’s what I’m there for. I want to wrestle tough and give it my all.”
Hertel has been to the state tournament before as a spectator watching his brother Mitch, who was a two-time state qualifier. His previous experience there, even though not in competition, could be beneficial for the freshman.
“I keep telling him it’s not so much pressure as it is opportunity,” Hein said. “Last year his brother Mitch wrestled there and took third place, and I had Nolan on the floor trying to get him familiar with the environment. It is a fun environment, and it’s the big stage. To have some butterflies is normal, but I think his mindset is right in that it’s pure opportunity, and go out and battle every single match.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)
2016 WIAA State Individual Wrestling Championships
Feb. 25-27, Kohl Center, Madison
Thursday, Feb. 25
3 p.m. – Division 1 preliminaries
5:15 p.m. – Division 1 quarterfinals
7:15 p.m. – Division 2 & 3 preliminaries
Friday, Feb. 26
10 a.m. – Division 1 consolation matches
11:15 a.m. – Division 2 & 3 quarterfinals
1:45 p.m. – Division 1 consolation semifinals
2:45 p.m. – Division 2 & 3 consolation semifinals
7 p.m. – Semifinals, all divisions
Saturday, Feb. 27
11 a.m. – Consolation wrestlebacks, all divisions; followed by fifth-place and third-place matches in all divisions
6 p.m. – Championship matches, all divisions
Division 1 preliminaries (Thursday afternoon)
138 pounds: Nolan Hertel (31-12) Marshfield versus Zach Lee (41-6) Kaukauna.