BELOIT—Beloit Turner senior Drew Ries is clearly the poster boy for perseverance.
The three-sport standout has battled more than his share of maladies the past four years, including two knee surgeries, pancreatitis and a broken hand.
“Yeah, I guess he’s not a very lucky guy,” says his father Matt, who happens to also be his wrestling coach with the Trojans. “It was good to see him finally healthy this season and show what he can do.”
Matt couldn’t be prouder of his son, who conquered every adversity thrown at him to earn Beloit Daily News 2019-20 All-Area Wrestler of the Year honors.
“I think what separates Drew is that he’s been able to beat the best in the area in his weight class,” Matt said of the 195-pounder. “We just added him to Turner’s all-time (14-member) team, which includes wrestlers like Rob Llorca, Shawn Nicholson, Ty Clark. Dew replaced Thor Hanson. They’re both real similar wrestlers, but Drew had a few more career wins than Thor.”
“That means a lot,” Drew said. “I know a lot of those names and Rob Lorca has been my gym teacher. To be mentioned with them is quite an honor.”
There’s no doubt he belongs.
Despite never having the opportunity to wrestle a full season, his numbers both as a senior and in terms of his career are outstanding. His record this season, 34-3, hiked his career mark to 92-16, the fourth-best winning percentage (85.2) in school history. He has the second-most career pins (71).
As a senior, his losses were to the #1, #2 and #3-ranked wrestlers in Wisconsin. He finished first in the Rock Valley Conference, first in regionals, second in sectionals and fifth in the WIAA State Championships. He had 22 pins as a senior.
Drew said he owes much of his success to his father, who was dragging him along to wrestling practice almost before he could walk.
“I learned so much from him and just being around the wrestling room all that time,” Drew said. “We’ve had our ups and downs trying to balance the coach-dad thing, but ultimately he’s the one who got me in the wrestling room and got me in the weight room. He’s taught me things I wouldn’t have learned otherwise.”
Matt says Drew deserves the credit for putting in the work.
“He has worked harder than most kids in the weight room,” Matt said. “He is bigger and stronger than most of the kids he wrestled.”
An all-RVC player in both football and baseball as well as wrestling, Drew said he’ll concentrate on the diamond at UW-Stout.
“I love wrestling, but I’m not sure my body could take another four years on the mat,” he said. “I also love baseball, so I’m looking forward to the next four years with that.”
Drew isn’t the only Ries on the First Team, or the only Trojan. He is joined by his younger brother Cal (170), as well as teammates Devon Harbison (120), Justin Teague (126), Andres Beltran (132-138), Trey Bivens (152) and Trey Griinke (220).
The Trojans won 15 dual meets, the third-most in school history, and had their best winning percentage (.93.7). They recorded the most pins in school history (183) and fifth-most reversals (173).
The other team in the area to enjoy an outstanding season was Parkview and Head Coach Joel Steinmann is the All-Area Coach of the Year. He has had more than one stretch as coach, totaling 16 years with the program.
When he rejoined the Vikings four years ago, there were just four wrestlers on the team. He rebuilt the program and this season they went 5-1 in the Trailways Conference and 11-1 overall. They were first in tournaments in Waterloo and Palmyra-Eagle and first in the Mount Horeb Duals. They were the only Division 3 tourney in the Tom Burns Invitational and finished second. They were third in the Trailways Conference and second in the regionals, tying a school mark with seven sectional qualifiers.
“The future looks bright,” Steinmann said. “We only lose one foreign exchange student. Otherwise all of our wrestlers return along with six eighth graders coming up. We’re also joining a new co-op with Albany next year.”
Leading the Vikings this past season was 152-pounder Korben Brown. The junior finished 40-3, qualifying for sectionals for a third time and state for a second straight year. He placed third in the state tournament, where he had one technical fall and three pins.
Brown is joined on the All-Area First Team by teammates Evan Suer (106), Camron Duncan (113), Ian Suer (120), Wyatt Engen (170), Luke Schwengels (182) and Gage Everson (220).
Beloit Memorial placed seniors Tyler Sireci (195) and Jaime Flores (220) on the First Team.
Returnee Sireci was 32-5 and won his second straight Big Eight Conference championship. He finished second in the Beloit Regional and third in the Oconomowoc Sectional. Flores (16-9) was third in the Big Eight and the regional.
Hononegah’s rare rebuilding year included just one First-Teamer in 182-pound state qualifier Tony Figuero (23-5). Big Foot’s Raul Rojas (23-10 at 145) rounds out the First Team.
• FIRST TEAM:
106: EVAN SUER—Parkview, Fr., 30-8. Second on the team in pins and tied freshman record. Led freshmen in team points. Placed first at Waterloo Invitational, Palmyra-Eagle Invitational and WIAA D-3 regionals. Placed second at Tom Burns, Monroe Invitational and Conference.
113: CAMRON DUNCAN—Parkview, So., 24-9. Led sophs in points, pins and takedowns. Placed first at Waterloo Invitational, Palmyra-Eagle Invitational and Mount Horeb Duals. Second at Blackhawk Invitational. Third in Conference and regionals.
120: DEVON HARBISON—Turner, Sr., 42-6. Third in school history in career wins with 131. Tied for second in school history with 42 wins in a season. Had 21 pins and 234.5 team points. Finished second in the RVC Meet, first in regionals, second in sectionals and was a state qualifier.
120: IAN SUER—Parkview, Fr., 22-11. Placed first at Waterloo and Palmyra-Eagle Invitationals. True 113-pounder competing at 120.
126: JUSTIN TEAGUE—Turner, Fr., 30-10. Finished second in the RVC Meet, first in regionals and fourth in sectionals. Had 14 pins.
132-138: ANDRES BELTRAN—Turner, Sr., 32-12. Finished first in RVC Meet, first in regionals and fourth in sectionals. Had 33 takedowns.
145: RAUL ROJAS—Big Foot-Williams Bay, 23-10. Had 15 pins and two tech falls. Second at Monroe Invitational and Palmyra-Eagle Scramble. Third at Mount Horeb. Fifth in RVC Tournament and regionals (injured in regional semifinal and had to forfeit to fifth).
152: KORBEN BROWN—Parkview, Jr., 40-3. Three-time sectional and state qualifier. Placed third in WIAA D-3 State Tournament. Led team in points and pins (setting junior and team records in both), as well as tech falls, takedowns and near falls. Placed first at Blackhawk, Tom Burns, Waterloo, Monroe, Palmyra-Eagle, Mount Horeb Duals, Conference and regionals. Second in sectionals. At state, had one tech fall and three pins.
152: TREY BIVENS—Turner, Sr., 39-10. Tied for fifth for wins in a season with 39 (also had 39 as a freshman). Ninth in school history for takedowns in a season with 80. Two-time state qualifier. Had 80 takedowns and 19 pins, accumulating 224.5 team points. First in RVC meet, second in regionals, first in sectionals and sixth at the WIAA D-2 State Championships.
160: WYATT ENGEN—Parkview, Fr., 31-10. Led the team in major decisions and led freshmen in takedowns, reversals and near falls. Placed first at Waterloo, Mount Horeb Duals and regionals. Placed second at Palmyra-Eagle and Conference. Placed fourth at sectionals.
170: CAL RIES—Turner, So., 30-13. Fifth in RVC Meet and third in regionals. Had 16 pins and 159.5 team points.
182: TONY FIGUEROA—Hononegah, Sr., 23-5. First in Barrington Tournament. IHSA 3A state qualifier.
182: LUKE SCHWENGELS—Parkview, Jr., 29-7. Placed first at Tom Burns, Palmyra-Eagle, Mount Horeb and Regionals. Placed second at Conference.
195: DREW RIES—Turner, Sr., 34-3. First in RVC Meet and regionals, second in sectionals and fifth in the WIAA D-2 State Championships. Had 22 pins, 52 takedowns and 192 team points. Fourth-best career record winning percent (92-16, 85.2%).
195: TYLER SIRECI—Beloit Memorial, Sr, 32-5,. First in Whitewater Invitational, Big Eight Conference (second straight title). Second in regional. Third in sectional.
220: TREY GRIINKE—Turner, Sr., 40-5. Fourth in school history to post 40+ wins. Third in school history with 29 pins in a season. Scored team-high 256 points, finishing first in the RVC Meet and first in regionals before finishing third in the sectionals and reaching state.
220: GAGE EVERSON—Parkview, Jr., 17-14. Two-time sectional qualifier. Led the team in reversals. Second at Palmyra-Eagle, Mount Horeb Duals, Regionals. Placed fourth in Conference.
220: JAIME FLORES—Beloit Memorial, Sr., 16-9. Third in Big Eight, D-1 Beloit Regional. Sectional qualifier.
• HONORABLE MENTION: 106: Juan Orejel (Beloit Memorial). 113: Alan Lopez (Beloit Memorial). 120: Ashton Robinson (Big Foot), Seth Mansfield (Brodhead-Juda). 126: Trevor Diemel (Hononegah). 132: Cristian Carreno (Big Foot). 145: Jason Starr (Brodhead-Juda). 152: Brian McCullough (Brodhead-Juda). 182: Mario Mendoza (Beloit Memorial), Robert Alulema (Hononegah). 195: Travis Pulaski (Parkview), Xander Schnake (Hononegah). 285: Clayton Rankins (Brodhead-Juda).