Pioneers Finish Fourth at WIAC Championship
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville wrestling team finished fourth at the 2013 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Wrestling Championship at UW-Eau Claire's McPhee Physical Education Center on Sunday.
This year's championship marked the first time in the 58-year history of the event, that the WIAC champion was crowned using a dual-meet format. The six teams earned seeds based on their performances in the regular-season round robin WIAC schedule.
The fifth-seeded Pioneers started their day with a victory over fourth-seeded UW-Oshkosh, 23-22. UW-Platteville earned 12 points from forfeits at 125 pounds and at 141 pounds. Freshman Mason Bohm won by major decision, 10-2, at 133 pounds and fellow rookie Mike Uliana earned 9-2 decision at 149 pounds, putting the Pioneers ahead 19-4. The Pioneers last win came from sophomore LaQuan Hightower at 184 pounds with a 10-1 major decision.
In the second round, UW-Platteville fell to top seeded UW-Whitewater, 42-7. The Pioneers only victories came from 125-pound freshman Cole Ferguson and senior Abe Granziano at 197 pounds. Ferguson dominated UWW's Joe Meylor in a 9-0 major decision and Granziano earned a 3-1 decision.
In the third round and a chance to compete in the third-place dual, the Pioneers manhandled UW-Eau Clair, 28-9. Ferguson started the dual with a nail-biting 9-8 victory over Zack Sirny. Uliana pinned Alex Kleinschmidt at the 5:28 mark. Senior Peter Crocco dominated Brandon Stradel, 17-9 at 165 pounds as the Pioneers earned wins at 174 pounds from Randy Wade and 184 pounds from Hightower.
In the third-place dual, the Pioneers lost to UW-Stevens Point, 35-7. Bohm won in a 18-5 major decision and Crocco earned the 10-5 decision.
Ferguson was named to the WIAC All-Sportsmanship team for displaying exemplary sportsmanship throughout the season.
UW-Platteville will compete in a regional hosted by Augsburg College (Minn.) on March 2 to qualify for the NCAA Division III Championship.