When Wauwatosa and New Berlin met in a dual meet in late January, both sides knew it was likely a preview of two showdowns to come between the two programs.
The first was at the Woodland Conference tournament on Feb. 4, where New Berlin finished ahead of Tosa for second place behind Pewaukee. But the more important battle went to Tosa, as it scored 196 team points to hold off New Berlin (183) and Waukesha South (174.5) to win its sixth consecutive team regional championship at the WIAA Division 1 Brookfield Central regional Feb. 11.
Tosa advanced to the WIAA team sectional where they were slated to face 10th-ranked Waterford at Mukwonago High School on Feb. 14 with a trip on the line to the WIAA state team tournament at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse in Madison on March 3 and 4.
Despite making the team sectional in each of the past five years, Tosa has yet to make a state team tournament. The co-op faced an uphill climb to get there this year, as eight members of Waterford's are listed in the latest state rankings.
"We were really happy to win our sixth regional title in a row," Tosa coach Kent Morin said. "It was a battle all day with New Berlin and Waukesha South. We were missing three starters, so we needed everyone to come through.
"We only had one senior in the lineup in Adrian Coppage, so it was really nice to see our younger guys step up to the challenge. Some really outstanding performances were turned in."
In addition to qualifying for sectionals as a team, Tosa had nine wrestlers make it through to the WIAA Division 1 individual sectional at West Allis Central on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Carrying the load with individual regional championships were Dayton Lewis at 106 pounds, Andrew Radtke at 113 pounds, Adrian Coppage at 120 pounds and Austin Ertl at 285 pounds.
Lewis (29-11) pinned Max Miller of Brookfield Central in 35 seconds in the quarterfinals and Joey Rozanski of Waukesha South in 1 minute, 14 seconds to reach the finals where he earned a fall over Dawson Valleskey of Kettle Moraine in 2:42.
"Dayton Lewis went in as the third seed," Morin said. "He pinned the second seed in the semis and then pinned the first seed in the finals. He wrestled with a new found confidence that was really nice to see."
Radtke (27-14) had a quarterfinal bye before earning his title with an 8-6 decision over Lucas Mandella of Brookfield East in the semifinals and a 6-3 win over Josh Garvens of Kettle Moraine in the championship. Coppage (24-14) also had a bye to the semifinals, where he won 12-1 by major decision over Ben Vandenberg of Brookfield Central. He then took care of Stephen Multhauf of Brookfield East with a 7-4 decision.
Both wins by Ertl (27-12) were 4-1 decisions. Hebeat John Champe of Brookfield East in the semifinals and Destin Snyder of Waukesha South in the finals.
"Andrew Radtke and Adrian Coppage both wrestled up to their potential by winning championships," Morin said. "Both guys were determined to win a regional title and just outlasted their opponents. Austin Ertl had an excellent match in the finals, defeating a strong wrestler from Waukesha South by just grinding out a victory. I think that is most tired he has ever been in his life, but he said it was worth it."
At 126 pounds, Lathan Hay (31-13) had a bye and a medical forfeit to reach the finals, where he lost 7-6 to Ernesto Castro-Lopez of Waukesha South. He recovered to take second place with a pin of Jacob Cherba of Waukesha West in 1:34.
Cole Acker (33-8) took second place at 132 pounds, pinning Dayveon Martin of Brookfield Central in 5:35 but falling, 5-4, to David Holzem of Brookfield East in the championship match. Lawrence Thomas (34-6) pinned Nick Martin of Brookfield East in 1:09 in the 195 semifinals before dropping an 11-3 major decision to Josh Nowak of Kettle Moraine to take second.
Also qualifying for sectionals were Griffin Granberry (fourth at 138) and Van McNulty (fourth at 182).
"Acker, Hay, and Thomas all wrestled hard and advanced to sectionals, but we need to sort a few things out this week to give them a better shot of getting to the state tournament," Morin said. "I was happy for (Griffin Granberry and Van McNulty) to see their hard work get rewarded with a trip to the sectional tournament.
"Even the five guys who didn’t qualify for sectionals, Brian Mahan, Rhetley Jones, Cheenu Moua, Ian Carroll, and Sam Barta, all contributed to this team victory. It was really a nice championship for our team, one that all of the guys can feel good about because everyone, even the JV wrestlers who were practice partners, made a significant contribution."