With the help of three late pins, Wauwatosa's wrestling team overcame an early deficit by scoring 36 straight points to earn a 49-20 victory over Greendale in a Woodland Conference dual meet on Jan. 4.
The co-op then wrapped up a busy week with a fourth-place finish out of 15 teams at the Rocket Scramble on Jan. 7 at Cedar-Grove Belgium High School.
"The top end of our lineup really carried us in the dual," Wauwatosa coach Kent Morin said. "We were losing, 20-13, after the first seven matches. We then went on a run where we won the final seven matches."
Tosa fell behind, 11-0, to start the dual before Lathan Hay earned an 8-0 major decision over Grant Stanioch at 126 pounds. Eduardo Pliego received a forfeit win at 138 points, and Cole Acker won, 2-1, over Mateo Arteaga by sudden victory in a third overtime session to bring Tosa to within 14-3.
"Cole Acker had a big win by scoring an escape in the third overtime period to win," Morin said. "Cole had wrestled up a weight class to help out the team making that an even more important win."
However, Tosa still trailed by seven points with seven matches to be wrestled.
Brandon Axelson began the run for Tosa with a 9-5 win over Jason Schilling at 160 pounds. Greendale's forfeit to Sam Barta at 170 pounds then put Tosa in front, 22-20.
Van McNulty pinned Andrew Galoff in 3 minutes, 2 seconds at 182 pounds, and Jared Taylor came away with a 7-5 decision over Jayce Craig at 195 pounds. Lawrence Thomas picked up a forfeit victory at 220 pounds, which clinched the dual for Tosa.
The co-op closed the dual with consecutive pins, as Austin Ertl earned a fall in 5 minutes over Deven Guibord at 285 pounds, and Dayton Lewis pinned Jacob Christensen in 5 minutes, 26 seconds at 106 pounds.
"I was especially impressed with Ertl and Lewis," Morin said. "Ertl followed our game plan to a tee. Every time he steps on the mat he gets better and better. Lewis had a tough match where he just wore his guy down before pinning him in the third period. It was nice to see Dayton’s third period be his best period."
Led by second-place finishes from Acker and Thomas, Tosa scored 581 team points to come in fourth place at the Rocket Scramble, finishing behind Lomira at 809 points, Shiocton at 685 points and Campbellsport at 644 points.
"We really like going to this tournament because we get to see different teams," Morin said. "Almost everyone got to wrestle five matches. It really allows us to get a good feel for where our team is at, at this time of year. It exposes our weaknesses and allows us to reinforce our strengths. With us being a month away from the state tournament series, this is valuable information to be able to gather and assess."
Acker went 4-1 to take second in the 138-pound bracket. After receiving a first-round bye, he pinned Marshall's Jack Moen in 1 minute, 34 seconds and handed Oostburg's Maatilor Josiah his first loss of the season with a 5-4 decision. Acker was then pinned by Shiocton's Sam VanStraten, who is 19-0 and ranked No. 2 in the state. He recovered to win 6-1 over Horicon's Bill Condon to move his season record to 22-5.
With a 4-1 mark, Thomas placed second at 220 pounds. He received a bye in the first round before earning a 15-7 major decision over Cedar-Grove Belgium's Brett Fiend and a 7-4 decision over fourth-ranked Allan Klink of Lomira. Thomas then pinned Shoicton's Ben Gunderson in 5 minutes, 48 seconds before being pinned himself by Marshall's Justin Chadwick in 4 minutes, 54 seconds.
Thomas has a 22-3 record with two of his three losses coming to Chadwick.
Ertl posted a 3-2 record to come in third place at 285 pounds. Taylor (195 pounds) and Lewis (106 pounds) each took fourth place.
"Dayton Lewis wrestled really hard on Saturday," Morin said. "He had a tough weight class with four wrestlers ranked in the top 10 of the state. He didn’t back down from any of them.
"Overall, we hopefully learned a number of lessons that we can learn from. We had a good final round after a nice talk to the guys by assistant coach Don Rohr. You always like when guys wrestle hard the last round when they are exhausted from a long day. That should help us later on in the critical tournaments coming up at the end of the year."