By Alex Strouf, The Denmark News
The results that the Denmark High School varsity wrestling team has been seeing in the first half of the season haven’t necessarily been surprising. The squad is undefeated in dual action this season.
What has been raising some eyebrows is the fashion that Denmark has won their 10 duals in. The Vikings are outscoring dual opponents 646-120, including a 73-6 win over Fox Valley Lutheran last Thursday. In fact, no team has scored over 30 points on Denmark this season.
Coming from a team that was just an honorable mention in the WIWrestling.com rankings during the preseason, this is quite the showing. Denmark head coach Tim Kapinos isn’t surprised by the success in the slightest. He attributes it completely to his wrestler’s dedication in the practice room and trusting what their coaches have been preaching.
“I think the buy-in is the biggest thing,” said Kapinos. “We have freshmen coming in and have a lot of experience and have shown some great technique. Some of the guys that were in the room last year bought into what we have from a technique standpoint.”
Of those big wins, the closest battle was definitely the most memorable win for Kapinos.
“The biggest night so far was at the tridual against Oconto Falls, Clintonville, and Wrightstown. Wrightstown and Oconto Falls are two programs that have been doing it well for a long time and beating those guys was something we’re all pretty proud of.”
Denmark defeated Wrightstown 42-27, giving them their third conference dual loss of the season, the other two coming from Luxemburg-Casco and Freedom.
Freshman Ethan Schwartz has been one of the biggest stars for the Vikings, racking up a fine record of 18-1 in the first half of the season. The 132-pound freshman is ranked fifth in division two, and is the only ranked freshman at his or any higher weight class.
Sophomores Cole Tenor and Gabe Wertel have each also been impressive for Denmark. Tenor, 14-5, and Wertel, 15-5, are each ranked in the top ten in division two.
Finally, senior Joshua Frerk has been nothing short of perfect this season. The reigning fourth-place finisher at the WIAA state tournament is 19-0 on the year. Frerk is ranked second in division two, behind only Logan Zschermitz of Spencer/Columbus, who defeated Frerk twice at the state tournament last season. Frerk and Kapinos remain unanimous on the goal for the rest of the season.
““The goal is the top of the podium [for Frerk],” Kapinos said.
Denmark, as mentioned, is now ranked in WIWrestling’s team rankings. Coming in at seventh in division two, directly ahead of conference foe Wrightstown and trailing conference rivals top-ranked Luxemburg-Casco and third-ranked Freedom, the upcoming months are big for Denmark’s confidence and momentum.
“It’s great to see we’re taking those steps and being recognized for our accomplishments,” Kapinos said. “We’ve had a couple tournaments where we’ve wrestled well from top to bottom. We just need to keep the momentum in our corner.”
Denmark still has three invitationals left, but there is two duals that are circled on everybody’s calendars. On Thurs., Jan 11, the Vikings travel to Luxemburg-Casco for a dual meet, before hosting Freedom, who is trying to win their second state championship in four years, on Thurs., Jan 18.