Hunter Luepke wins first state wrestling title for Spencer/Columbus
Luepke grabs D-2 195-pound title at WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament
By Paul Lecker
MADISON — Spencer/Columbus Catholic junior Hunter Luepke became the first athlete in the history of the Spencer program to win a WIAA state individual wrestling title as he dominated previously undefeated Lucius Rinehart of Evansville/Albany 8-1 in the Division 2 195-pound championship match at the 2017 WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.
Luepke, who earned a fifth-place medal last season, now has a gold medal to add to his collection.
“It’s amazing,” Luepke said. “I’ve been working for it all year, pretty much all of my life. It’s finally good to get on top of the podium.”
Luepke trailed 1-0 early in the second period before taking it into a different gear.
Luepke earned a takedown and three-point nearfall in the final 15 seconds of the second, and he earned another takedown late in the third against Rinehart (38-1) to pull out the win.
Luepke finishes the year with a 39-2 record, winning his final 16 matches of the season, including three at the state tournament.
“I felt like my set-ups were good, I had him guessing the whole time, and I was always going,” Luepke said.
Coach Jake Zschernitz said he saw this moment coming for Luepke as soon as he put on the Rockets’ singlet.
“He felt it out a little bit, and once he got comfortable, he just continued to dominate like he pretty much has been all year,” Zschernitz said. “He’s taken it to every opponent and really getting after it.
“He’s a gifted athlete and works incredibly hard. It was a given it was going to happen. We felt that it would happen, and we’re real happy for him.”
(Hub City Times Sports Reporter Paul Lecker is also the publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com.)