The Wauwatosa wrestling co-op set a record for state qualifiers by sending five to this week's 73rd annual WIAA Individual Wrestling Championship Tournament on Feb. 25-27, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
As a team, Tosa finished fourth (101.5 points), one-half point behind third-place Hamilton (102). Menomonee Falls (141.5) won the Whitefish Bay sectional, and Germantown (112) finished second.
'Saturday was an awesome day,' coach Kent Morin said. 'The most qualifiers that we have ever had has been three, so to get five guys through to the state tournament was a great accomplishment. The best part about it was that the guys just went out and earned their state berths. Nothing was given to them; they earned every part of it with hard work and the belief that they could do it. It was really a pleasure to be a part of it.'
Justin Folley, Lorry Venturi, Jordan Boettcher, Zach Miller and Lawrence Thomas all qualified for state.
Justin Folley (45-1) at 126 scored 22.50 team points and will be looking for his second straight title.
First he won by a technical fall (17-0) over Arrowhead's Kyle Polczynski (18-19), and then he won a major decision (18-5) over Germantown's Jimmy Nguyen (30-9). In the title match, he pinned Menomonee Falls' Jerott Holz (37-6) in 1 minute, 49 seconds.
Ready to go
'Folley will dominate once again,' Morin said. 'Really poised and ready to make another run at a state championship.'
Folley talked about his mindset going into the sectional and his only loss of the year to Peyton Mocco of West Allis Hale (who is now in a different weight class).
'I'm feeling very good right now, really ready for state,' he said. 'It's all I've been focusing on. I can go in as myself now. I really needed that loss because if I didn't have it, things would have been much harder (in terms of the pressure of being undefeated). Now I can breath a little and absorb the lessons from that match.'
He already knows his approach going into state.
'I've worked a lot on my conditioning this year,' he said. 'I do seven sprints after each match now because if all I'm getting is quick pins, I'm not building up my stamina. I'm going to go in there a lot more focused. I'm going to try and take it all in (as a senior), but I'm just going to take it one match at a time.'
Venturi (29-9) at 285 scored 22 team points. He pinned Arrowhead's Travis Case (10-17) in 1:11 and Menomonee Falls' Logan Fallon (31-15) in 3:21 and then won an ultimate tie-breaker (1-0) over Milwaukee King's Liam Arnold.
'Wow, he beat two wrestlers who had beat him earlier this year,' Morin said. 'Not many people would have thought Lorry could do this. The coaching staff thought he had the potential, but we weren't sure he was up to the challenge. Boy were we excited to see him turn in the best day of his high school career.'
Jordan Boettcher (41-5) at 152 scored 18 team points. He won by decisions over Homestead's Doug Lennon (26-11), 11-8, and Hamilton's Dylan Klemstein (33-12), 6-1, and in the title match, he beat Arrowhead's Josh Otto (32-11), 10-7.
'Jordan was really focused and was just not going to be denied a championship,' Morin said. 'He was our hardest working wrestler in the offseason, so I was thrilled to see him get rewarded for his hard work.'
Boettcher added, 'I took fourth at sectional last season and I was really motivated. I wrestled all off-season at the Askren Academy. I had great practice partners all off-season. I know I'm not the best wrestler in the world, but I might be among the most athletic because the coaches tell me that if I keep my feet moving I'm unstoppable.'
He's looking forward to his trip to Madison and credits the coaches for their help along the way.
'This is unbelievable. Just a blast,' he said. 'I'm so grateful to everyone who helped me along the way. It's going to be an amazing feeling (stepping into the Kohl Center). Unbelievable, but my coaches helped make it believable for me.'
Lawrence Thomas (33-13) at 195 placed second (18 team points). He began with pins over Homestead's Michael Schears (20-19) in 1 minute and Arrowhead's Ian Priest (22-21) in 2:27. Then he lost a 9-6 decision to Menomonee Falls' Brandon Schaefer (32-2) before winning the second-place match by rule over Priest.
'Lawrence has been building to this point all year,' Morin said. 'There is no way that he could have accomplished this in the beginning of the season. Coach Don Rohr has done a great job giving LT the tools he needs to be successful. I'm not sure I've seen a kid smile as much as LT did on Saturday. And he is only a sophomore.'
Zach Miller (31-7) at 145 placed second (14 team points). He won by decisions over Menomonee Falls' Jarod Gill (18-21), 9-2, and Marquette's Richard Stangl (35-13), 4-3, and then lost in the first-place match to Arrowhead's Aidan Yde (36-5) by a major decision (12-1). But he bounced back to qualify for state with an 8-4 decision over Nicolet's Savion Dean (Nicolet).
'He just had a day where he had to grind it out,' Morin said. 'He lost in the finals to one of the best wrestlers in the state (Aidan Yde). He had to come back for a tough wrestleback against Dean, whom he had only beat last week by a 6-5 score.'
The only other Tosa wrestler to score was Cole Acker (23-12) at 132, who placed fourth (7 team points).
'Cole also won his first match and gained some excellent experience that he will be able to draw upon next year,' Morin said.
Feb. 20, Whitefish Bay
1. Menomonee Falls (141.5), 2. Germantown (112), 3. Hamilton (102), 4. Wauwatosa (101.5),5. Arrowhead (98.5), 6. Cedarburg (80), 7. Nicolet (41), 8. Homestead (40), 9. Marquette (30), 10. Milwaukee King (18), 10. Pius XI (10), 12. Whitefish Bay (15.5), 13. Milwaukee Riverside (0).