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NSC wrestling: Depth helps Port take 2nd PDF Print E-mail
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 07 February 2018 20:06

From dual-meet results and Saturday’s conference tournament in Cedarburg, there was no doubt that Slinger had the best wrestling team in the North Shore this season.
Port Washington made sure there was as little debate about second place.
The Pirates scored 157 points to take runner-up honors, ahead of third-place West Bend East’s 144 but well behind champion Slinger’s 228.
Port’s Blake Peiffer (106 pounds) and Lukas Burke (170) each won their second individual conference titles.
Grafton wrestlers Ellis Pfleger (132) and Nick Rapp (160) rolled to their first conference titles after both taking second last year. Teammate Alec Davis (195) came in second.
Grafton, which had only eight wrestlers, placed sixth with 100 points. Four Black Hawks placed in the top four in their weight classes and three made the finals.
TRISTAN GRISWOLD s1020318291 4C“We had a pretty good day. Our conference is much tougher now,” Grafton coach Mike Dodge said.
Port coach Angelo LaRosa said, came back to place in the top two.
“For a little bit we were in fourth. We kind of circled the wagons,” he said.
Peiffer won his semifinal match with a 21-7 technical fall over Cael Pionkowski of West Bend East, and in the final won by a 19-3 technical fall early in the third period over Slinger’s Carter Ziebell.
“Blake just dominated,” LaRosa said. “That was maybe the best he’s looked all year from how he’s moving.”
Burke pinned Cooper O’Keefe of Cedarburg in 1 minute, 22 seconds and in the final scored a 3-1 decision over Jason Dicesare of West Bend West.
“That was a pretty solid kid in the finals. Lukas was in control the whole time,” LaRosa said.

Rapp pinned his three opponents in less than one match’s time combined. He pinned Hartford’s Nick Horner in 37 seconds and Port’s Josh Holtebeck in 2:42, followed by a 1:20 fall over Cooper Schlosser of West Bend East in the title match.
“He was pretty dominant. He was really impressive,” Dodge said of Rapp.
Pfleger, a sophomore, pinned Nicolet’s Angelo Morgano in 1:15, scored a 7-2 decision over Connor Dyke of Whitefish Bay and posted a 14-2 major decision over Slinger’s Cameron Tonsor-Heesen in the final.
“Ellis put in a lot of work in the offseason. He was in control of pretty much all of the matches wrestled. He looked really good, really solid,” Dodge said.
Davis posted a 14-0 major decision over Caleb Drake of Cedarburg before losing a 9-3 decision to Joe Leonhardt of West Bend West in the Grafton wrestler’s second straight appearance in a conference final.
“Alec is having a great season,” Dodge said.
Port picked up three third-place finishes: Oliver Rosado at 162 pounds, Cody Pierron at 152 and Holtebeck at 160.
Rosado went 3-1, with his only loss being an 18-2 technical fall to Cayden Henschel of West Bend East. Rosado bounced back with a 1:51 pin of Slinger’s Aaron Soneson, to whom he lost a 14-12 controversial decision on Jan. 26 in a dual meet.
“He just crushed him,” LaRosa said of Rosado’s performance in the rematch.
Rosado won the third-place match with a 10-6 decision over Connor Gishkowsky of Hartford.
LaRosa said the 126-pound bracket had three state qualifiers and was one of the toughest of the tournament.
Pierron scored an 11-2 major decision over Jake Budnik of Slinger for third place, after being pinned by Budnik earlier in the day for his only loss. Pierron finished 4-1.
“Cody Pierron did a great job,” LaRosa said.
Holtebeck won a 10-2 major decision over Jacob Steidinger of Cedarburg to take third. He went 3-1 on the day.
“Josh looks really good. This is the best he’s wrestled in his career,” LaRosa said.
Taking fourth for Port were Brett Grisar at 128 pounds, Nathan Russell at 145 and Tristan Griswold at 182.
Grafton got a fourth-place finish from Connor Ramsey (285) in his second season of wrestling.
“He’s always improving. Conner really did a great job of battling,” Dodge said.
While Grafton performed well with its small team, there’s little time to bask in its success with the WIAA tournament this week.
“We tell our guys this is a stepping stone. It’s time to get back to practice, look at some videos and see where we can improve,” Dodge said.
On Saturday, Grafton goes to Jefferson to compete against six other teams in a Division 2 regional. The same days, Port goes to Cedarburg for Division 1 regional against seven other teams.
The top team advances to sectional competition, along with the top two individuals from each weight class.

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