Indians grapplers advance four to WIAA individual meet
Bill Holz and Olapo earn repeat berths
It is said that size matters in all things, but don’t tell that to the Menomonee Falls wrestling team, which continued its magical month last Saturday by securing four WIAA state berths and dominating the lower weights in the individual sectional held at Oconomowoc.
The Indians earned four individual weight class titles at the event including sophomore Aaron Daly at 106 pounds (41-7 overall), freshman Jerott Holz at 113 (31-7), sophomore Bill Holz at 120 (43-4) and senior Ayoola Olapo at 182 (45-2).
It is the most individual state qualifiers the Indians have had since 2009 when they also advanced four and is just one off the all program mark of five set in both 1990 and 1992
And it is a testament to how well things are going for the Falls program, which also claimed its first-ever berth in the state team tournament (see separate article), that Indian coach Jim McMahon was just a little disappointed in the results from the individual sectional.
“We were hoping for a few more,” said McMahon. “Maybe get to that record six. “We just lost some close matches. Even in the first round, because if you can get into the semifinals at sectionals, stuff can happen.”
Bill Holz was sixth at 106 pounds in last year’s state meet and was joined at the event last season by Olapo.
All the Falls’ wrestlers, especially the senior Olapo, who now has tied Bill Holz’s year-old school record for wins in a single season, have high ambitions for the WIAA State Individual Tournament, slated for Thursday through Saturday at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Preliminary and quarterfinal bouts will be held in division I starting at 3 p.m. Thursday.
“My goal is to be a state champion,” said Olapo. “That’s not changed since the beginning of the year. I may be an underdog, but I am going to give it my all. …Last year, getting here was my goal, now I can say, the road to my goal has just begun.”
Olapo faces Aaron Sweeney from Merrill (28-8) in the first round and if surviving that, will likely have a rugged second-round match against Hudson senior Derek Schindler (40-1) who gave Olapo one of his two losses on the season at the Marty Loy Invite in Fond du Lac earlier this season.
Olapo pinned opponents from Milwaukee Career (0:44) and Germantown (1:59) before defeating Oconomowoc’s Richard Kuehl (30-7) on a 17-9 major decision.
For Billy Holz, his goal to take a few steps up the rung on the podium.
“It’s to get into the top three,” he said, “and I can say this has been a great year. I’ve had great training partners (in Daly and his brother). I don’t know how much better it can get with all of them there.”
Holz will meet DeForest’s Wyatt Davidson (29-12) in the first round and then will likely face Burlington’s Josh Bird (40-3) in the second round.
Holz pinned a Milwaukee Riverside opponent (1:15), won by default over a Sussex Hamilton opponent and then pinned Wauwatosa’s Zach Miller (39-5) in 3:27 for his title.
For first-comers Daly and Jerott Holz, the qualifying process included a little bit of revenge, as both beat wrestlers in the finals that they had lost to just last week.
For Daly, it was an impressive 4-1 victory in the finals over Arrowhead’s Aidan Yde (33-10). Yde had beaten Daly in the regional on Feb. 9.
“I just made sure that I was on offense the entire way,” he said, noting that he lost in a wrestleback for state last season. “This feels great. It’s been a fun last few weeks and its great that in the end, the whole team will be going to Madison.”
“But next week will be great. I’ve been wrestling since third grade and going up to state since third grade (to watch). Now I can make it official (laughs).” Daly pinned Tosa (1:31) and Sussex Hamilton (3:35) opponents to get to the final.
Daly will face Kettle Moraine senior Ethan Averill (38-11) in his first round bout on Thursday.
For Jerott Holz, the disappointment he needed to get past was fresher in his mind, the sudden death overtime loss to Tosa’s Kai Castaneda (41-2) in the team sectional dual on Feb. 12. This time around in the individual sectional final, Holz dominated Castaneda, getting a second period nearfall and then rolling to a 5-0 victory.
“I just had to keep the pace up and block all his shots,” said Jerott. “I just had to be ready on defense and once I got that nearfalll I felt that I could score again.”
And Jerott, who also pinned a Pius opponent (1:08) and defeated 2012 state qualifier Max Carlin of Whitefish Bay (8-0), was also motivated by something else.
“I’ve always been wrestling,” he said when asked at what he age started in the ssport. And now’s my time not just to be known as Billy’s little brother (laughs). But seriously, I’m lucky to have him. I support him, he supports me. We’re both just happy to be part of this great group.”
Jerott will face Franklin’s Noah Larson (21-9) in a first round bout and if he survives that, will likely take on 2012 WIAA state 106-pound third-place finisher Bill Prochniewski of Waukesha South (43-2) in the second round.
Prochniewski beat Bill Holz in the quarterfinals at 106 last season.
“There are no easy paths (to the finals),” said McMahon, “especially once you get to that final eight (after the preliminaries). “You’re going to have to face someone of quality and you’re going to have to earn (whatever you get).”’
Juniors Casey Crangle at 126 (35-13) and Jake Fuiten at 170 (36-14) both won up in third at sectional after losing tough semifinal matches while senior Sam Schwabenlander (29-17) was fourth at 145.
Six other Indians, sophomore Jake McMahon at 132 (21-14), sophomore Austin Meyers at 138 (21-19), senior Alex Koch at 160 (20-17), junior James Dow (18-16), senior Matt Aili at 220 (21-23) and junior Trayvon Handy at 285 (20-15), all lost first round matches.
Coach McMahon said that Handy’s match official was going to nominate him for a WIAA sportsmanship award for the way he handled himself after a tough 13-12 quarterfinal loss to a Nicolet opponent.
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