Indians grapplers show heart and tenacity, advance 10 to WIAA sectional
Holz and Olapo win regional titles
Menomonee Falls - It took awhile this season, but the Menomonee Falls wrestling team finally got its full lineup together and turned in its best overall performance of the winter, when it took second in the WIAA regional meet at Sussex Hamilton on Saturday advancing 10 athletes to the sectional.
"I tell you, it was a lot better than the week before (when a short-handed Indians squad struggled to fifth in the GMC tourney)," Indians coach Jim McMahon said. "We really wrestled well yesterday and we got another week to try and get even better."
The Indians will now take part in the WIAA sectional tournament at Arrowhead on Saturday. The first two finishers in each weight class advance to the state individual tournament in Madison on Feb. 23-25.
Jeff Kleser (24-18) represented Falls at state last season at 103 pounds and is trying to earn a repeat berth this season at 126.
Other qualifiers include regional champions Bill Holz at 106 (39-3) and Ayoola Olapo at 182 (24-5), as well as Aaron Daly at 113 (31-11), Casey Crangle at 120 (28-11), Austin Meyers at 132 (23-22), Jake McMahon at 138 (19-13), Alex Koch at 152 (9-15), Jake Fuiten at 160 (17-23) and Bill Steinke at 170 (32-11).
"We're not sure how many we can move on (to state)," McMahon said, "but we're just very happy with what we accomplished here today. The kids now feel that they have a lot of unfinished business to attend to."
Falls' qualifiers led it to a 188.5 point total in the eight-school regional as Arrowhead won with 254. It was the Indians' best regional finish since they won a regional title in 2006.
Holz dominates competition
Holz, a well-known competitor in off-season tournaments for many years now, was dominant in winning 106, as he pinned competitors from Germantown (0:30), Cedarburg (2:48) and Oconomowoc (3:36) for his title.
McMahon was also very happy for Olapo, who missed several weeks with a leg injury before returning. He pinned a Hamilton opponent (1:20), won by technical fall over a Cedarburg foe (25-7) and edged an Arrowhead wrestler (7-6) in the championship.
Taking seconds for Falls were Daly at 113 and Crangle at 120. Daly, who just flipped positions with Holz the week before, lost an 8-2 decision to a Hamilton opponent in the final and then had to beat an Oconomowoc foe (13-10) in a wrestle-back for second.
Meanwhile, Crangle lost on a technical fall to state powerhouse Andrew Crone of Arrowhead and then pinned a Hamilton opponent (3:46) in the wrestle-back for second.
Austin Meyers was third at 132 while the other five sectional qualifiers all claimed their berths in the fourth and final place.
Koch makes major strides
The most impressive of those efforts came from Koch, who had not wrestled since sixth grade, until this, his junior year. He lost a quarterfinal bout to 2011 state qualifier Danny Krause of Germantown and then pinned Oconomowoc (1:00) and Homestead (3:59) opponents, before beating a Cedarburg foe, 6-4, in the fourth-place wrestle-back.
"He's a strong, athletic kid who's just scratching the surface," McMahon said. "He should be proud of himself."
McMahon was also pleased for Kleser, who has had an up-and-down season, and who also had to fight his way back after losing a quarterfinal bout. Kleser had a first-round consolation bye and then pinned a Homestead opponent (3:30) and then beat an Oconomowoc foe (5-3).
The one major disappointment on the day was senior Mike Schwahn at 220 (22-20), who lost a tough 12-11 decision to a Grafton opponent in the wrestle-back for fourth.
"He had been taking him down at will late and we had him let him up with about 30 seconds to go, and he just couldn't get that final takedown (for the win)," McMahon said. Sam Schwabenlander at 145 (20-19) also lost a tough 14-9 decision to a Grafton foe in his wrestle-back for fourth.
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