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Hawks grapple with weighty issue PDF Print E-mail
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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:05

Despite having plenty of athletes, Grafton wrestling lineup thin on top, bottom

There’s no shortage of athletes on the Grafton High School wrestling team this season.BILLY DEPIES (facing camera), shown taking on a Cedarburg opponent in a recent meet, is one of nine letterwinners on this season’s Grafton wrestling team.       Photo by Sam Arendt

That doesn’t mean filling weight classes up and down the lineup will be a snap for the Black Hawks, though.

Coach Mike Dodge welcomed nearly 30 wrestlers to preseason practice, the largest number the Hawks’ program has had in his 11 years at the varsity helm.

“The problem is they all fit into the middle weights,” he said. “We have little or no room for injury in the other weight classes.”

Last season, Grafton came on strong in the WIAA tournament, advancing six wrestlers to the Division 1 sectional level. However, most of those standouts have graduated, including Mike Van Langen, a state qualifier at 112 pounds.

Even so, the Hawks’s lineup could have as many as nine letterwinners — seniors Josh Weissinger (132 pounds), Ben Cleppe (145) and Jacob Brunnquell (132), juniors Sam Hoffman (170), Billy Depies (152) and Justin Rapp (170), and sophomores Nick Bath (170), Alex Marshall (182) and Gary Ross (138).

The veteran leaders “make up a pretty solid core of wrestlers that have done some off-season clubs and camps,” Dodge said.

The Hawks faced a tough test last Saturday when they participated in the Kiel Multi-Dual Invitational.

Grafton finished last in the six-team round-robin competition, losing to Germantown (51-25), West Bend West (66-15), Reedsville (55-18), Denmark (46-26) and Kiel (41-34). However, the short-handed Hawks gave up 24 points in each meet by having to forfeit four weight classes.

For the day, the Hawks’ top individual finishes came from Rapp (170) and Marshall (182), who both went 4-1.

Going 3-2 were Weissinger (132), Ross (138) and Ian Olivas (220). Posting 2-3 marks were Depies (152) and Hoffman (160).

West Bend West won the tournament title. Denmark and Germantown finished second and third, respectively.

Last season, Grafton placed fourth in the North Shore Conference tournament, which was won by Port Washington for the 10th consecutive year.

“Port will most likely win again, but I think Germantown can be a challenger,” Dodge said.

The Hawks’ next meet will be Thursday, Dec. 15, when they open their NSC schedule with a 6:30 p.m. dual meet at Homestead.

 
Split decision no solace for Grafton PDF Print E-mail
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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 17:29

After solid semifinal win, tough loss in title game of home tournament leaves boys’ team wanting more


For most basketball teams struggling to end losing traditions, a near miss in a tournament title game might provide considerable consolation.

Don’t count the Grafton boys’ squad among the pacified.GRAFTON GUARD Robbie Doring looked for an open teammate in the face of defensive pressure from a Mayville player. Host Grafton defeated Mayville in the semifinals of a holiday tournament last weekend before losing to Slinger in the championship game.            Photo by Sam Arendt

After having a fourth-quarter rally fail in a 57-54 loss to Slinger last Saturday, coach Kevin McKenna and his players were anything but content.

“I thought the whole team was disappointed that we didn’t win the tournament. I know I was,” said McKenna, whose team is focused on a breakthrough year after going 6-17 last season.

“We dug ourselves a hole early in the game, and we spent the rest of the night trying to come back. We made it tough on ourselves.”

Host Grafton opened the four-team holiday tournament with a win over Mayville on Friday and was poised for a repeat in the championship game. However, Slinger jumped ahead early, steadily pulled away and took a 36-29 lead into the final period.

Grafton made things interesting by putting up 25 points in the last eight minutes but couldn’t get any closer than the final deficit.

“We got more aggressive and played with a sense of urgency in that quarter,” McKenna said. “Good teams do that, and they do it the whole game. That’s the point we have to get to.”

Scotty Tyler did his best to keep the Hawks in the fight. The 6-foot-7 junior forward scored a team-high 20 points, including five three-point baskets.

Tyler led a three-pronged Grafton attack that also included 17 points from guard Robbie Doring and 13 from forward Caleb Keshemberg.

“They gave us some leadership and did some good things,” McKenna said.

“But we have a lot to work on. For most of the game, our rebounding wasn’t very good, and our defensive rotation was lacking.”

Slinger (2-0) used the hot hands of its two top guards to keep the Hawks at bay. Kirk Emmer scored a game-high 21 points, and Tanner Schieve added 18, including a trio of three-point baskets.

Despite the disappointing tournament finale, McKenna praised his team’s determination. The Hawks’ aggressive offensive approach sent them to the free-throw line 49 times during the tournament, including 19 against Slinger.

“We learned that when we attack the basket, good things will happen,” he said. “But we also have to be patient and know how to run our offense.”

Grafton 51, Mayville 44

Offensive execution produced a semifinal win for the Hawks, who cashed in regularly at the free-throw line.

Grafton made 22 of 30 foul shots in the game, led by Doring’s 9-for-12 effort, to stymie Mayville’s comeback attempt.

The Hawks took a 20-17 lead into halftime and stretched the margin to 33-25 after three periods.

Eight Grafton players scored in the game, led by Tyler with 16 points and Doring with 15.

“We did a nice job. For the first game of the season, we had a lot of gaps, a lot of lulls, but we still came away with a win,” McKenna said.

McKenna singled out junior D.J. Gollwitzer, who had four points but made bigger contributions with his defense and hustle.

“He did a lot of things behind the scenes,” McKenna said.

Grafton’s next game will be this Friday when it hosts Milwaukee Tenor, a charterschool team, in a nonconference game at 7:30 p.m.

 
No Alex, but Pirates still flex mat muscle PDF Print E-mail
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Written by STEVE OSTERMANN   
Wednesday, 30 November 2011 17:24

Loss of Dieringer, other standouts shouldn’t keep wrestlers from shining again


It’s no secret where the mat spotlight has been focused the last four years for the Port Washington Pirates.

Alex Dieringer, a nationally ranked, three-time WIAA champion and the winningest wrestler in Port High School history, garnered the lion’s share of attention before enrolling at Oklahoma State University on scholarship this fall.THERE’S PLENTY of talent and experience on the Port Washington High School wrestling team this season. The Pirates’ varsity veterans include (front row, from left) Brandon Moeller, Robby Anheier, Calvin Harbaugh, Noah Rosado, Eli Rosado, Josh Meins, (back row) Quentin Lueck, Tyler Madden, Tyler Brown, Bret Winker, Andy Fidler, Ryan Stietz, Adam Dreikosen, Tyler Griswald and Nate Schnell.                                                            Photo by Sam Arendt

The graduation of the 145-pound state champ and other standouts such as state qualifiers Justin Meins (125) and Jake Maechtle (135) has thinned the Pirates’ wrestling cupboard, but not left it bare.

“We lost Alex, Justin and Jake and several other wrestlers. You can’t replace the No. 1 guy in the nation, but we’ve got some good ones back,” Port coach Angelo LaRosa said.

“We’re really young, but most of them are very experienced wrestlers for their age.”

Numbers are also no problem for the Pirates, who have more than 30 wrestlers vying for spots in the varsity lineup.

Port, which has won 10 consecutive North Shore Conference team titles, should have no trouble putting talent in all 14 weight classes.

Leading the Pirates’ veteran contingent are seven wrestlers who reached the sectional level last season. The list with their qualifying weights includes seniors Adam Dreikosen (130) and Tyler Griswald (285), juniors Eli Rosado (119), Nate Schnell (140) and Josh Meins (171) and sophomores Noah Rosado (103) and Calvin Harbaugh (112).

Most are expected to move up to slightly higher weights this season. Two notable exceptions, LaRosa said, are Griswald and Meins, who are probably headed for 220 and 160, respectively.

“We’re looking for a huge season from the guys coming back,” LaRosa said. “They’ve worked really hard in the off-season.”

Last season, Meins had a 28-13 record, Schnell was 25-12 and Eli Rosado was 23-15. 

LaRosa is also counting on big things from wrestlers such as senior Bret Winker (170), junior Ryan Stietz (195), sophomores Andy Fidler (285) and Robby Anheier (120) and freshmen Jordan Dieringer (152) and Zach Smith (113).

“I think we’ll be very strong from 106 to 152. Our first seven or eight guys are really tough,” LaRosa said.

“Our biggest numbers are at 132 to 152. We have a lot of guys who are at 140-ish.”

Other wrestlers vying for spots in the lineup include juniors Tyler Madden (138) and Tyler Brown (182) and sophomores  Brandon Moeller (138) and Quentin Lueck (145).

Having dominated conference competition for years, the Pirates have turned their focus on higher-profile meets in recent seasons.

Topping their list of weekend tournaments again will be the Cheesehead Invitational, which brings nationally ranked teams and individuals to Kaukauna in January.

The experience his top wrestlers received in national competition during the off-season is also invaluable, LaRosa noted.

“We had nine or 10 guys go to Fargo (N.D.) this year,” he said. “They know what it takes to reach their full potential.”

Not surprisingly, the Pirates will waste no time facing tough opposition. They will open the season Friday, Dec. 2, at a 5 p.m. quadrangular meet in Hartford that includes perennial powers Arrowhead, West Allis Central and the host team.

The next day, Port travels to Luxemburg-Casco for a 9 a.m. invitational featuring a strong field.

“Our guys are hungry and want to face the best,” LaRosa said. “We have 10 guys who want to be the next Alex.”

Bolstering the Pirates’ arsenal this season is a new assistant coach. Matt Zwaschka, a former University of Wisconsin-Whitewater wrestler and assistant coach, has joined LaRosa’s staff.

Zwaschka teaches physical education at Port High.

Although the Pirates will be the heavy favorite to win another conference championship this season, LaRosa said he expects competition from Germantown, Homestead and Whitefish Bay.

Port’s first home meet will be Dec. 8 when it faces Homestead at 6:30 p.m.

 
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