UW-Oshkosh owns six top-six seeds for the 65th version of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Wrestling Championship (presented by Culver's) that will be held Friday (Feb. 14) in La Crosse.
Competition begins at noon in UW-La Crosse's Mitchell Hall and concludes with the first-, third- and fifth-place matches at approximately 6:15 p.m. The championship will crown 10 individual first-place finishers, along with a team champion.
Each of the six competing schools is permitted to enter two wrestlers per weight class, with the highest finisher in each category counting towards the team scoring.
Junior Jordan Lemcke is UW-Oshkosh's highest seed for the championship. He is seeded second at 285 pounds with a 15-6 record (four pins). Lemcke was a third-place finisher at 285 pounds last year.
Blanchard, a first-year transfer from UW-Eau Claire, owns a 16-8 record with a team-high 13 pins. He was a fifth-place finisher in the 184-pound weight class at last year's championship as a member of the Blugolds.
Cashmore is competing at the championship for the fourth straight year. He previously earned 184-pound finishes of fifth in both 2017 and 2018 and sixth in 2019. Cashmore has a season record of 27-10 (4 pins) and a career mark of 90-42 (15 pins).
Murphy has compiled a 18-13 record (4 pins) this season while Schoenfuss owns a mark of 15-13 (7 pins). Schoenfuss was a second-place finisher at 125 pounds a year ago.
UW-Oshkosh's lone sixth-seeded competitor is senior John DePersia at 184 pounds. He owns an 11-14 record (3 pins) this season after finishing sixth at 197 pounds in 2018.
Also representing UW-Oshkosh at the WIAC Championship are Luc Valdez (16-11, 4 pins) at 125 pounds; Matt Joyce (12-12, 6 pins) at 133; Eli Mondrella (11-12, 3 pins) and Elijah Sanchez (5-10, 3 pins) at 141; Brandon Lenczner (4-9) at 149; Keagan Lazar (9-10, 1 pin) and Muzi Sitshela (13-18, 1 pin) at 157; Will Dixon (7-9, 3 pins) and Oscar Ramos (4-6, 1 pin) at 165; Zach Zidarevich (5-6, 1 pin) at 174; Patrick Reilly (0-3) at 197 and Guyon Cyprian (5-6) at 285.
UW-La Crosse enters the championship ranked 13th in the NCAA Division III by the National Wrestling Coaches Association while UW-Whitewater is 15th, UW-Platteville 22nd and UW-Eau Claire 24th.
UW-La Crosse scored 159 points last year to win its third WIAC title and league-record 18th overall. The Eagles were followed in the team standings by second-place UW-Whitewater with 127 points, third-place UW-Stevens Point with 111, fourth-place UW-Oshkosh with 103.5, fifth-place UW-Eau Claire with 83.5 and sixth-place UW-Platteville with 75. UW-Oshkosh's finish at the championship was its highest since 2014.
UW-Whitewater ranks second on the conference's all-time list with 17 championships, while UW-Stevens Point owns eight and UW-Oshkosh one (1982). Former WIAC wrestling programs to win titles are UW-River Falls (11), UW-Superior (6), UW-Stout (2) and UW-Milwaukee (1).
Returning individual champions from last year include UW-La Crosse's Konrad Ernst (285 pounds), Jackson Schoen (165) and Grant Zamin (157); and UW-Whitewater's Riley Kauzlaric (197), Hazen Rice (141) and Mike Tortorice (125). Ernst and Tortorice also posted first-place finishes at 285 pounds and 125 pounds, respectively in 2018, while Rice was victorious at 133 pounds and Zamin was a runner-up at 157 pounds.
Also winning titles at the 2018 championship were UW-La Crosse's Mitch Hertel (165), Sawyer Massie (174) and Hayden Schlough (141). Massie was named the John Peterson Wrestler of the Meet for his efforts. Ernst was a runner-up at 285 pounds in 2017, while teammate Jackson Schoen took second at 157 pounds.
Qualification for the 2020 NCAA Division III Championship will be based on regional competition. All six WIAC teams will compete at the Upper Midwest Regional on Feb. 28-29 in Minneapolis, Minn. The national championship will be held March 13-14 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.