Denmark Sends Three Wrestlers to State

Photos by Denis Lotto, The Denmark News

By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News

The Denmark High School wrestling team is sending three competitors to state

Three Denmark High School wrestlers have achieved to the ultimate dance: State.

Junior and defending state champion Brock Bergelin, along with twin seniors Matt and Jake Vanden Heuvel, qualified for individual state after their first, second, and third place finishes, respectively, at sectionals in Oconto Falls on Saturday, Feb 20.

Matt Vanden Heuvel, who finished second at 195-pounds last weekend, has been focused on state all season long. The explosive aggressor has a record of 35-8 on the season, and has been impressive. Before the season, during the season, and now, all Vanden Heuvel has talked about is Madison.

“My original goal was to get down to Madison, but now I really want to get on the podium,” Matt said.

Matt’s first opponent is Peyton Hall (34-6) of Prairie du Chein.

“I’m just going to enjoy the moment when I’m down there and wrestle my best.”

Jake Vanden Heuvel finished third at Oconto Falls this past Saturday, but he’s looking up for this upcoming weekend. The 34-6, 220-pounder has the speed and aggressiveness to battle anybody at his weight, and he’s proved that time-and-time again. Jake’s first opponent is junior Tanner Johnson (26-5) of Osceola.

“The goal was just to make state, but why stop there? Now my goal has been set to placing at state,” Jake Vanden Heuvel said.

Denmark wrestling head coach Tim Kapinos knows that the twins achieved their season goal, but he’s set the bar higher.

“They have as good of a chance as anyone [to place at state],” Kapinos said. “Getting them in the mindset that we are going down there to compete and place as high as possible is the message this week.”

As for Bergelin, the defending division two, 106-pound state champion is refocused, seven

Brock Bergelin has his arm raised after taking first place at Bay Port’s Battle on the Bay. (Denis Lotto Photo)

pounds heavier. With only one loss on the season, Bergelin’s eyes (40-1) are set on the prize overall, but the stud is taking it one match at a time.

“The gameplan really hasn’t changed,” Bergelin said. “It’s all about continuing to push myself, staying healthy, and getting ready to compete down in Madison.

“Whether I’m ranked number-one or not ranked, I’m simply another guy in a 12-man bracket, and that’s how I’m going to approach it.”

Kapinos is looking at Bergelin’s attempt for back-to-back championships the same way.

“He is as focused as he can be, which is nothing new,” Kapinos said. “I expect him to wrestle hard.”

The Denmark varsity wrestling team clearly had a lot of talent this year, but to get three individual wrestlers to the state tournament? That’s just impressive.

“This is a great accomplishment for our three qualifiers,” Kapinos said. “They buy in. Ther put the work in. The endure the grind.”

The Vanden Heuvel’s kick-off state action on Thursday, Feb 25, at about 8:30 PM at the Kohl Center in Madison. Brock Bergelin will wrestle Friday morning, and will match-up with the winner of Mount Horeb’s Dalton Frakes (35-12) and Sawyer Strom (32-9) of Ellsworth.