D.C. Everest's Blake Heal and Easton Cooper qualified for next week's state tournament after earning second-place finishes at the WIAA Division 1 individual wrestling sectional Saturday at Shawano High School. (Photo courtesy of the D.C. Everest Wrestling Facebook page)

Wausau Pilot & Review

SHAWANO – Five Wausau-area high school wrestlers will represent the Wisconsin Valley Conference at next week’s state tournament after earning runner-up finishes at the WIAA Division 1 individual wrestling sectional Saturday at Shawano High School.

Wausau West’s Thai Yang and Gabriel Galang, D.C. Everest’s Easton Cooper and Blake Heal, and Wausau East’s Maddox Rye all finished second in their respective weight classes to qualify for the 2023 WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament at the Kohl Center on Feb. 23-25.

Yang (32-10) and Galang (39-7), both seniors, dropped their championship matches for West to finish second. Yang was pinned by Mycah Beckett of De Pere (42-2) in the 106-pound final, and Galang fell by major decision to Jacob Ward (37-1) of Bay Port, 11-2 in the 145-pound title match. Galang then had to go to a second-place wrestleback and he came through with a pin of Cameron Saari of D.C. Everest in 1:43.

Cooper (42-6), a junior, lost the Carter Freeman of Wisconsin Rapids in the 126-pound final, 7-3, then had to earn his way to state in the second-place wrestleback as he pinned Bay Port’s Peyton Garcia in 4:28.

Heal (36-9), a senior, is on his way to state after placing second at 138 pounds. He lost in the final to Jake Hall of Stevens Point, 10-5.

Rye (44-5), a senior, reaches state after placing second at 132 pounds for East. Rye lost to Owen Noel of Bay Port 4-2 in the championship match before coming back to win a second-place wrestleback over Deakin Trotzer of D.C. Everest, 2-1 in overtime.

The brackets for the state tournament will be announced Sunday.

Click here for complete sectional results, courtesy of trackwrestling.com.