He went up on the riser behind the scorer's table and posed for a picture with his Mom.
That was one of the first things Menomonee Falls senior 182-pound wrestler Ayoola Olapo did after earning a berth in the WIAA State Individual semifinals with a 3-1 overtime upset of Hudson's Derek Schindler Thursday night in a quarterfinal bout at the Kohl Center in Madison.
"I truested my stamina," he said, "but I tell you, I was never so tired in a match before. I just never second-guessed myself."
And in doing so, Olapo made sure that sophomore 106-pound teammate Aaron Daly had company in the semifinals, as Daly too had earned a berth in Friday night's penultimate round with a 5-1 win over Franklin's Xianou Xiong in his quarterfinal match.
"This feels amazing," said Daly, who is making his first trip to state. "It was my initial goal, to be able to get onto the medal stand (top six) and place. Now I hope to maybe win again and go even further."
Both will get their opportunities at making Saturday's finals when the semifinals commence at 7 p.m. Friday back at the Kohl. Daly (43-7) will get Waunakee's Preston Ernst (38-9) while Olapo (47-2) will face off with Tomah's Jordan Reisinger (41-10).
It is believed to be the first time Falls has advanced two wrestlers to the state semifinals in program history.
In addition, both Jerott Holz at 113 pounds (32-9) and his brother Bill Holz at 120 (44-6) will take part in wrestlebacks at 10 a.m. Friday. Both won their initial matches, but then lost in the quarterfinals. Both still have the opportunity to earn a top six medal.
For Olapo, who left himself only one goal, that of state champion, when he won the WIAA sectional title last week, his dreams are all still in place.
"This feels great," he said. "Last year I was knocked out in the first round (at state) and my goals took a big step upward after that. This is very reassuring that I've been able to come this far."
Olapo, who now holds the Falls' single season wins record, avenged an early season tournament loss to Schindler in claiming his spot in the semis.
"I didn't prepare as well as I could have for that match, and I was not myself," said Olapo. "He (Schindler) did not see the best of me that day, so I was going to come into this match with my best effort and I was not going to leave with a loss."
Schindler, who entered the match ranked third in the weight class according to Crossface (Olapo was fourth), got a second period escape for a 1-0 lead, and then Olapo returned the favor in the third period to tie the score.
In the overtime, Olapo was the agressor from the start and finally hit Schindler with his trademark move, the double-leg takedown, for the win. He jumped up and turned and pointed to the stands as coach Jim McMahon gave him the first of many hugs Olapo would receive in the following moments.
Earlier in the day, Olapo had advanced to the match with Schindler by beating Avery Sweeney of Milton, 10-4, in a preliminary round bout.
Daly too was the subject of hugs after his win over Xiong. He had the lead from the start after a first-period takedown and expanded that advantage to the eventual final score in the second period with an escape and another takedown.
"I knew I had to wrestle smart," said Daly. "If I did that, I knew my chances were good. I was a little nervous in my first match (a 7-5 decision over Kettle Moraine's Ethan Averill), then I got used to it."
"I told myself that it was just another tournament."
A pretty big one at that.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Falls boys rally for first win over Hamilton in three years, 35-29
- Senior night a success on all levels for Menomonee Falls wrestlers
- Senior night a grand success for Menomonee Falls wrestling
- Baker steps down as Menomonee Falls football coach
- Busy Menomonee Falls wrestling team tries to sort out lineup
- Falls girls, boys beat West Bend West in nonconference tilts
- Thousands remember, pay homage to Germantown great Datka
- Memorial luncheon added to Datka funeral schedule
- Datka visitation Sunday at the high school, funeral Monday
- Legendary Germantown football coach Phil Datka passes away