Joshua Heuss Ends Successful High School Career with Podium Finish at State Tournament
FOR THE ANTIGO TIMES
Antigo wrestler Josh Heuss competed at the state tournament this Saturday, finishing in 6th place. Because of Covid, just getting to start was harder than usual, as only 8 participants were able to qualify instead of the usual 12. The action was fast and furious throughout the day, and the Antigo coaches could not be prouder of the effort and performance of Heuss.
In the quarterfinals, Heuss matched up with eventual state champion Jared Stricker of Ashland. Stricker would finish the season undefeated.
Immediately at the beginning of the match, Stricker would try to gain control using a collar tie with his left hand. This is something Heuss had prepared for in the week leading up to the state tournament, and was able to keep the lightning fast Stricker from his position of choice. Eventually Heuss was able to gain a Russian tie from countering the collar tie and used this for an overhook, which is his position of choice. Stricker was able to use an inside trip to score a takedown 21 seconds in the bout. Heuss would then attempt to use a series of Granby rolls on the bottom, but Stricker was able to roll through and maintain control. Stricker was warned for stalling 90 seconds after not coming off the hips for what seemed like an eternity. After the restart, Stricker was able to gain a 2 on 1 control of Heuss’s arm, and used that to score a quick nearfall and end the round with a 4-0 advantage.
Heuss deferred the option of position to start the second, and Stricker choose to start on the bottom. Stricker was able to immediately score with a perfectly executed switch, and then tried to score on another 2 on 1 tilt, which Heuss was able to defend. Stricker then was able to secure an armbar on Heuss, and tried unsuccessfully to tilt him with that a couple of times. The third time Stricker attempted the armbar tilt, he was able to score another 2 point near fall, ending the round with an 8-0 lead.
Heuss choose to start the third period in the neutral position, and Stricker was able to secure the left-hand collar tie he had been looking for at the beginning of the match, and used that to score on a single leg takedown 14 seconds into the round. After a minute of riding by Stricker, Heuss was able to execute a stand up to escape and cut the lead to 10-1. After going out of bounds, Stricker was able to execute another single leg off of a left-handed collar tie to score another takedown, which Heuss was able to escape from quickly. Down 12-2 with only a little time left on the clock, Heuss went for a throw, which Stricker was able to counter and earn a takedown as time expired for the 14-2 victory.
In the consolation first round, Heuss matched up with Cal Ries of Turner. The beginning of the match saw Heuss try to score using a front headlock, while Ries attempted to control the elbow and shoot through. Neither wrestler was able to get through the others defense, leading to an early stalemate. Ries would then try to score off of a double underhook position, but was unable to. The first period ended tied at 0.
In the second period, Heuss choose to start on the bottom, and earned an escape in 15 seconds to score the first point. He then shot in on a beautiful double leg, and was able to secure a cradle near the edge of the match. Unfortunately, Reis was able to escape out of bounds before the referee determined control had been gained. Heuss was able to secure a right-handed overhook and score on a well-executed fireman’s takedown to take the 3-0 lead. While trying to score on a power half with his legs in, Heuss got a little high allowing Reis to score on a reversal, ending the second period with a 3-2 lead for Heuss.
The third period started with Ries starting on the bottom, where Heuss used various breakdowns to keep his opponent on the mat. A minute into the round, Heuss was able to slide his leg in and nearly score with a power half, but Ries was able to keep his back off the mat. Heuss would again nearly score with a power half with 30 seconds remaining, but could not get the two count. With ten seconds to go in the round, the wrestlers went out of bounds, and the referee awarded Ries with an escape because of loss of control. This tied the match at 3 and sent it into overtime.
In the first overtime period, Heuss was able to use an overhook to create a couple of opportunities, but was not able to secure the takedown. Near the end of the period, there were a couple crazy scrambles with each wrestler nearly earning the takedown, but no control was awarded and the match went into the second set of overtimes.
In the first double overtime set, Ries started on bottom, and Heuss was able to keep him from escaping for the entire period. In the second double overtime set, it appeared as if Ries was going to be able to do the same, until Heuss started a standup attempt with 8 seconds to go and earned the escape with 2 seconds remaining in the match, giving Heuss the 4-3 victory and sending him to the placement rounds.
In the consolation semi-finals, Heuss met Devin Wasley of Saint Croix Central. The first period saw a couple of really nice single leg attacks by Wasley that Heuss was able to counter with neither wrestler scoring a takedown. Near the end of the first period, Wasley was able to use a snap down to a reshot to score on a single leg, and took a 2-0 lead into the second period.
Wasley choose to start the second period in neutral, and was able to shoot in on Heuss’s left leg. He used this attack to secure another takedown, and take a 4-0 lead. After a half minute of Wasley riding, the referee determined that there was not enough activity on the bottom, and warned Heuss for stalling. Wasley was able to ride out the remainder of the period by alternating between controlling the ankle with his hand and some quality leg riding. Wasley appeared close to locking up a couple of cradle attempts, but Heuss was able to defend them all, not allowing any further scoring.
Down 4-0 to start the third, Heuss attempted to shake the match up by starting on top. Heuss was able to get his left foot in and attempted a couple of power halfs, but was unable to score. Wasley was able to secure a reversal and take a 6-0 lead, and added another point due to inactivity on the bottom.
In the battle for fifth place, Heuss faced Cole Hanson of Delavan-Darien. The first period saw a lot of battling for position, as the evenly matched wrestlers were unable to score an advantage. Heuss was able to secure a front headlock at the end of the period, but ran out of time to finish.
After Hanson deferred the option, Heuss choose to start on the bottom. Heuss was able to quickly hit a standup and score the first point of the match. After a minute of battling on the feet, Hanson was warned for stalling after backing off the mat when Heuss was attacking. With 36 seconds remaining in the round, Heuss was able to secure an overhook and score on a fireman’s attack and take the 3-0 lead. On the bottom, Hanson was able to score on a reversal, and ride Heuss out for the remainder of the period, ending the second round with a 3-2 lead for Heuss.
Hanson choose to start the third period on the bottom. Hanson continually attempted to score with stand ups, with Heuss able to bring the Delavan-Darien wrestler back to the mat time and time again. In the middle of the period, Heuss was able to get both legs in, but was unable to secure a turn. After a restart with just over a minute to go, Heuss did not return Hanson to the mat fast enough, and was warned for stalling. After Hanson again attempted a stand up, Heuss conceded the escape deadlocking the match at 3 with 59 seconds to go. Heuss nearly scored on a double leg attempt with 20 seconds to go, but Hanson was able to go out of bounds. With neither wrestler able to score, the match went into overtime tied at 3.
In overtime, Hanson was able to use an overhook to a double leg to earn the takedown and win the match.
Heuss ends his career with a sixth-place finish at state. Following in the footsteps of Brandon Lucht, who placed 4th at 145 pounds in 2018, Ben Stimac, who placed 2nd at 132 pounds in 2019, and Nick Roller, who placed 2nd at 220 pounds in 2020, Heuss puts an Antigo wrestler on the podium for the 4th straight year. This feat had not happened since John Frederickson won state at 167 and Greg Pregler finished 2nd at 185 in 1984, Jerry King finished 4th at 138 in 1985, Thad Tatro finished 3rd at 132 in 1986, and then Thad Tatro returned to the podium and finished 4th at 132 in 1987.
Due to attendance restrictions, only 224 fans were allowed to witness the matches live this year. For anyone that wants to see video of Josh’s matches, they are available on the Antigo Wrestling Facebook page.
2021 WIAA Individual State – D2 Results for Antigo
Joshua Heuss (18-4) placed 6th and scored 4.0 team points.
- Quarterfinal – Jared Stricker (Ashland) 17-0 won by major decision over Joshua Heuss (Antigo) 18-4 (MD 14-2)
- Cons. Round 1 – Joshua Heuss (Antigo) 18-4 won in tie breaker – 1 over Cal Ries (Turner) 11-4 (TB-1 4-3)
- Cons. Semi – Devin Wasley (Saint Croix Central) 20-2 won by decision over Joshua Heuss (Antigo) 18-4 (Dec 7-0)
- 5th Place Match – Cole Hanson (Delavan-Darien) 14-2 won in sudden victory – 1 over Joshua Heuss (Antigo) 18-4 (SV-1 5-3)