Champs don’t meet; Rockets look ahead

CG-Belgium wrestlers face challenging competition at Weyauwega Duals; Reedsville showdown is Jan. 4
By 
MITCH MAERSCH
Ozaukee Press staff

The match between state champions didn’t occur last week, but it wasn’t for lack of desire.

Cedar Grove-Belgium’s Cael Erickson, who won the Division 3 state title at 145 pounds last season, was slated to face off with Stratford’s Gavin Drexler, the defending Division 3 state champion at 138 pounds.

Drexler is ranked No. 1 at 145 pounds and Erickson is ranked No. 2. Both are seniors.

But Rockets’ coach Trevor Peterson was looking well past the Weyauwega Duals on Dec. 21.

The four teams that qualify for the state tournament are seeded, and he wanted to beat Stratford and get a higher seed. Stratford is ranked No. 9 in Division 3 in the state, and the Rockets are No. 11.

Peterson said he assumes Coleman will be the No. 1 seed, and he wants to avoid getting a No. 4 seed and facing the Cougars right off the bat in the semifinals.

As a result, Erickson was bumped to 152 pounds, where he pinned Ryan Becker in 4 minutes, 58 seconds.

Drexler pinned Brody Kraus at 145 pounds in 1:39.

“I didn’t want to do that. We all wanted to see the match, but it was in the team’s best interest to do it. That was the decision we had to roll with,” Peterson said.

The Rockets’ strategy nearly worked, but Stratford pulled out a 41-36 win.

“If a couple of matches go 20 or 30 seconds different, we win,” Peterson said. “We had our opportunities, and it just slipped away.”

At 220 pounds, Rocket Deven Soerens lost a 12-3 major decision — worth four team points — to Cole Marten.

“Deven had their guy on his back. If we get that pin, it’s a totally different outcome,” Peterson said.

Besides Erickson, three Rockets pinned their foes. Jesse Burg at 113 pounds pinned Trenton Cournoyer in 3:34. Gavin Davie at 132 pinned Vance Kielman in 58 seconds, and Mason Hoopman at

138 pinned Brandon Knetter in 1:02.

The Rockets’ other 12 points came on two forfeits.

In a tight dual against Shiocton, the Rockets prevailed, 42-39.

At 170 pounds, Owen Morgan pinned Aiden Kerr in 2:24, which extended the Rockets’ lead to 42-21 and sealed the win. The Chiefs earned pins in the final three matches but couldn’t catch the Rockets.

The Chiefs had already beaten a Rockets’ rival, defending Big East Conference champion Random Lake, 37-33.

“We knew that would be a good test,” Peterson said.

Besides Morgan, four Rockets pinned their opponents: Jack Skorik over Lexi Riehl, 120 pounds, 22 seconds; Hoopman over Isaiah Carton, 138, 2:33; and Erickson over Logan Leeman, 145, 28 seconds.
The only match that didn’t end in a forfeit or pin came at 126 pounds. Chief Jordan Jahnke beat Owen Race in an 8-5 decision.

In the third dual, the Rockets beat Mishicot, 66-12. Seven Rockets earned pins: Soerens over Logan Marshall, 220 pounds, 5:33; Diego Morales over Harrison Sauer, 285, 1:05; Erickson over Jacob Benfield, 145, 5:55; and Justin Anzia over Michael Pilon, 195, 21 seconds.

Three Rockets earned five-point major decisions: Skorik over Kaden Tesarik, 120, 15-3; Race over T.J. Havlovitz, 126, 9-0; and Joe Schoeder over Ben Griffey, 182, 11-1.

“Mason is wrestling well. Owen Morgan has been wrestling very well,” Peterson said.

The Rockets were competing at the Mid-States Classic in Whitewater this week before they battle at Reedsville on Jan. 4 in a dual that could go a long way to determining the Big East champion.

Random Lake has had a stranglehold on the conference for years, but Reedsville beat them, 48-21, on Dec. 9. Cedar Grove-Belgium has been in contention for the past several years, but could never get past Random Lake.

The Rockets host Random Lake on Jan. 20.

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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