There are not many wrestling programs that can reload quite like Hamilton.
On Feb. 18 at the Oconomowoc sectional, Jesse Fryda (160 pounds) and Owen Gorges (145) both qualified for the state individual tournament in Madison at the Kohl Center, which begins at 3 p.m. Feb. 23.
It was the 27th consecutive year Hamilton has sent at least one wrestler to state. Fryda won the sectional crown with a 12-5 decision over Menomonee Falls' Josh McMahon.
"I knew it was going to be tough to do but you just have to focus on all the preparation we've done in practice," Fryda said. "I was feeling pretty good about myself so you've just got to translate that on the mat and get it done out there. That's what I did today."
Fryda held a late 7-5 advantage but was rewarded with back points in the final 20 seconds to extend his lead.
"I knew it was going to come down to the wire with him," Fryda said. "He's a solid wrestler and I just had to watch my position. It just worked out for me."
Gorges lost to Arrowhead's Josh Otto in the sectional final by technical fall and advanced to state in second place.
"Last week, he took Otto into overtime and wrestled him great," Hamilton coach Rob Schoner said. "Owen went out to do the same thing today and it just wasn't his day. But he's feeling good right now. He accomplished one of his major goals for the year."
Gorges won his semifinal match, 7-6. In the quarterfinals, Gorges was victorious by pin in 1 minute, 36 seconds.
Last season, Hamilton had four qualify for state, but none of those wrestlers returned this season. Schoner, a first-year head coach at HHS, was pleased with how Fryda, Gorges and other seniors took on leadership roles this year.
"It was kind of a call to action with them," Schoner said. "They knew that we had a massive group of seniors leave, they set their goals at the beginning of the year with how they wanted to accomplish them and they set out to do it. Owen is a real vocal leader, gets the guys motivated. Jesse is a guy you look over, every time he's working, he's pushing and he leads by example. They kind of fell into the leadership role and supplemented what we were trying to do as coaches and everyone bought into it."
Fryda (35-3) will face off with Slinger's Logan Stegemeyer (40-9) in the first round at state.
"The physical part should all be taken care of," Fryda said. "I think our moves, we're all fluid and we're confident in that. I think with state, the biggest thing is you have to know you can do it and being mentally strong and that you can handle it out there."
Both Fryda and Gorges advanced to state for the first time in their varsity careers.
"His confidence is up," Schoner said of Fryda. "Jesse has one loss at 160 this year and that was right after the Christmas break and he had two in the first meet of the year when he was at 170. He's riding good with his confidence level right now and he's looking good. I think he's feeling good going into state. He just grinds. He's a consistent guy."
Gorges (31-10) will see Rhinelander's Jacob DeMeyer (40-0) in the opening round.
"I'm going to handle it like any other match," Gorges said. "Just go out there with 100 percent and hit the moves I know how to hit well."
Having another wrestler to take in the experience of the state tournament with will be a real positive for both grapplers, according to Schoner.
"Those guys drill and work out daily," Schoner said. "They have their practice partner with each other so they can go down on the mat. I think it's going to be a lot of the same of what they're used to so going into state they're not hitting a bunch of different shocks and changes. (State) is very different with a big venue, big group of people, big stage. I think they're going to be able to have that comfort going in with some familiar faces and their normal routines."
Josh Reindl (126) and Dylan Klemstein (152) missed out on state berths but ended the season strong with third-place finishes.