Sean Johnson was in for a struggle in November as the wrestling season opened: he’d moved to the 195 spot and missed the first match in Royal due to sickness.
“It was pretty depressing to not be able to wrestle the first match of my senior year season. I wasn’t too worried though, I felt pretty confident going into this season,” said Johnson.
After that bump in the road, Sean proceeded to beat the first two opponents from Stratford and Adams-Friendship and received a bye in the third round at the Black River Falls Invitational. Since a bye counts as a win, this was a successful day, and he finished in second place.
“You always want to get first place at your home meet and that was my goal, but I felt pretty good about the second place finish because it’s the highest I’ve ever gotten at a home meet,” said Johnson.
The next stop was the Auburndale Invitational. The first round was a bye, second round Johnson wrestled an opponent from Abbotsford/Colby and pinned the kid in an impressive 30 seconds. The last match of 2018 for Johnson resulted in a win at the Kickapoo/Lafarge invite.
2019 brought some big challenges. Johnson wrestling the number one kid in the state, Stephen Buchanan from Neillsville was many hard fought battles. Johnson proceeded to come back with a win in the Menomonie match and a 5th place finishes in the Ladysmith and Sparta Invitationals.
“I basically went out there and tried not to get hurt while wrestling Buchanan, he was on a different level than everyone else this year,” said Johnson.
The rest of the season had some ups and downs but ended with wins in Viroqua, Arcadia, and Black River Falls to move onto Sectionals in Neillsville. Sean was the only wrestler to represent Black River Falls at sectionals and the first wrestler to move on from Black River in three years.
“I felt pretty proud to be moving onto sectionals, but I tried to stay humble and focus on what I had to do. I knew which bracket and who my opponents would be so I could study them and feel ready. I felt like I was more prepared weight-wise and strength-wise than other years going into sectionals,” said Johnson.
The first match at sectionals started out rough with a loss against Justis Knutson from Chetek. Johnson’s second match was against Brennen Corbine from Ashland and after five hard-fought minutes, Johnson pinned him to move onto the final match. The final match would be for third place and the opportunity to move onto state. In the third match against Logan Melstrom from Ellsworth, Johnson lost in points and lost his chance at moving on to state.
“This was by far one of the best season’s I’ve ever had. I really enjoyed my teammates and coaching staff. The ending was bittersweet but I felt like it was a great end to my high school wrestling career,” said Johnson.