Welcome to Day 4 of WIN Magazine’s countdown to the 2023 Final...
Halverson stars in spring freestyle/Greco events
By Rob Sherrill
Suddenly, senior Matt Halverson of Kiel (Wis.) has a bunch of extra stop signs to add to his trophy case.
Halverson, who finished 45-2 and was the Division 2 state champion at 285 this year, competed in the Northern Plains and Central Junior Regionals in back-to-back weeks, winning all three events he entered.
In the Northern Plains regional May 8-10 at Waterloo, Iowa, Halverson posted a 4-0 record, scoring a first-period pin and racking up 38 points in his other three matches, two of which ended in technical falls. One was a 19-9 technical fall over Runnells (Iowa) Sourheast Polk ace Jake Marnin. Halverson did not enter the freestyle competition.
In Indianapolis last weekend, Halverson didn’t have any of his six matches go the distance in becoming one of three double champions in the Central Junior regional. Four were pins and two were technical falls, and he didn’t allow a point.
Halverson was just one of seven double champions, though, in a Northern Plains event that looked like a Murderers Row of champions. Paul Bianchi (113) of Two Rivers (Wis.), Paul Fitterer (120) of Cannon Falls (Minn.), Skyler Petry (126) of Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton (Minn.), Dante Rodriguez (138) of Kearney (Neb.), Max Thomsen (145) of LaPorte City (Iowa) Union and Mitch Bowman (182) of Eldridge (Iowa) North Scott combined for 10 state titles in their careers. The only one who didn’t win a state title this year: Fitterer, who lost 1-0 in the state final.
After winning all four Greco-Roman matches by technical fall, Rodriguez, a three-time Nebraska champion, had to face four-time Minnesota champion Tommy Thorn of St. Michael-Albertville in the first round of the freestyle meet, surviving a wild 13-12 match. He then closed out his double title with two technical falls and a 27-second pin.
Bowman didn’t have a match go the distance the entire weekend, going 8-0 with four pins and four technical falls.
Iowa’s 3A state champions at 195 and 220 squared off in the 220-pound freestyle final, with two-time 195-pound champion Marcus Harrington of Waterloo West scoring a 12-1 technical fall over sophomore Ethan Andersen of Southeast Polk, who was trying to become a double champion himself. Harrington and Cadet National champion Carter Happel (132) of Lisbon, also a two-time state champion as a sophomore, each won all five matches by technical fall.