Historic season ends in heartbreak for Rockets

Coin flip plays a role in Cedar Grove-Belgium’s loss to Shiocton in Div. 3 wrestling semifinal

CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUM’S wrestling team posed after losing, 42-25, to Shiocton in the Division 3 semifinal of the state tournament at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Field House on Saturday. The Rockets went 14-1 in dual meets this season and qualified for team state for the first time since 1997. They also won the Big East Conference for the first time since 2000. Photo by Mitch Maersch CEDAR GROVE-BELGIUM’S Mason Hoopman (photo group below in article: clockwise from top) won an 11-2 major decision in the state team semifinal on Saturday. Owen Race won, 9-7; Deven Soerens nearly came all the way back in a 9-7 loss; Joe Schoeder won the last match of the day, 14-9; Winston Reichle lost a 9-3 decision and Seth Race won a 7-6 buzzer-beater with a reversal and nearfall. Photos by Mitch Maersch


Ozaukee Press staff

It was already a history-making season by the time the team state tournament took place in Madison, but it was a rotten ending for the Cedar Grove-Belgium High School wrestling team.

The No. 3-seeded Rockets lost to No. 2 Shiocton, 42-25, in a Division 3 semifinal at the University of Wisconsin Field House in a match closer than the score indicates.

The Rockets lost the pre-match coin flip that determines who sends out wrestlers first at either even or odd weights, allowing the opponent to match up accordingly. Both teams wanted to show their hand at the even weights first, and Shiocton got that chance.

“People don’t understand. That coin flip is big. They could adjust their guys right from the get-go,” coach Trevor Peterson said. “We didn’t have the matches we wanted.”

The match started at 195 pounds, where Rocket Jordan Platner was pinned by Dion Helser in 3 minutes, 31 seconds. Both were state qualifiers at the individual tournament the week before, Helser at 182 pounds.

Rocket senior Deven Soerens, who finished fifth in the state at 220 pounds on Feb. 25, had a valiant comeback attempt fall just short in a 9-7 loss to Ilijah Sanchez.

Soerens said Sanchez pinned him last season, and this time “I thought I could beat him.”

Third-place individual finisher Diego Morales got Cedar Grove-Belgium on the board by pinning Owen Carlson in 2:22. He won the final match of his career but was hoping to have one more in the finals against Fennimore’s Evan Gratz, who beat Morales in the semifinal of the individual tournament.

“Obviously, it would have been nice to have that rematch with Fennimore,” Morales said, but added, “It’s really nice to finish on top.”

Chase Heimerman  was pinned at 106 pounds and Carsen Voskuil, who was moved from 106 to 113, was also pinned, putting the Chiefs up 21-6.

But the Rockets rallied. Seth Race at 120 pounds scored a reversal to close Scott Daniels’ lead to 6-5 with 24 seconds left, then notched a nearfall right before the buzzer to pull out a 7-6 victory.

Two-time state qualifier Jesse Burg at 126 pounds pinned Zach Reif in 1:19.

“It feels good but we still lost the dual,” Burg said.

Owen Race at 132 pounds took an early lead and hung on to beat Jordan Jahnke, 9-7, and the Rockets were only down, 21-18.

After Gavin Davies was pinned at 138 pounds, senior state runner-up Mason Hoopman beat Isaiah Carton in an 11-2 major decision to close the gap to 27-22.

“I wrestled him twice before so I kind of knew him. He’s a really good guy. We’ve talked before,” Hoopman said.

State qualifier Winston Reichle lost to Colten Schuh, 9-3, at 152 pounds, and Dylan Herb pinned Rocket Owen Morgan in 44 seconds at 160 pounds, pushing the lead to 36-22 and sealing the match.

Rocket Jackson Foster was pinned by Brad Demerath in 1:49, and Rocket Joe Schoeder beat Israel Sanchez, 14-9, to close the match.

“Had to end it on a good note,” Schoeder said.

Peterson said not enough matches went the Rockets’ way.

“We gave up a couple of pins where we could not give up pins, where we needed tough matches and possible wins. It was a good team and we wrestled hard. It was a good fight,” he said.

“I still think with a different coin flip and we wrestle that match again, we could be in it. Every weight we had hard choices on. We had to make a move on the bottom side, putting Chase in and moving Carsen up.”

It was the final competition for seniors Burg, Hoopman, Reichle, Morales, Soerens, Jon Deppiesse and Paul Goodno.

“It burns the worst, losing your first match in the state tournament. It’s just really tough, man. It hurts pretty bad. It’s a good group of seniors, great group of guys,” Peterson said.

Shiocton went on to lose to No. 1-seeded Fennimore, 43-18, in the final. Fennimore beat No. 4 Stratford, 55-13, in the other semifinal.

Rockets love the UW Field House vibe

While the match didn’t go their way, the Rockets were big fans of the atmosphere. The individual state qualifiers only had experience wrestling in the Kohl Center before.

Matches were held on four different mats simultaneously, and ear-splitting screams would suddenly erupt from any of eight sections of fans when their wrestler made a big move.

“It was really cool. The Field House was so much different than the individual state tournament. It was so loud. It was awesome. The vibe of the whole thing was unreal,” Hoopman said.

“When we first got in here today, it was crazy — nothing you’ve ever felt before,” Soerens said, adding he loved the team competition better than the individual tourney.

“It’s not (about) yourself anymore. We want to play for one another. It just felt different.”

Burg said, “It’s pretty cool. It’s really loud in here. It was fun to have this be the final dual with the team with all these fans.”

“It was crazy,” Schoeder said. “When we walked in, the band was playing and everyone was cheering. We watched D1 last night. The stands were full. It was awesome. It’s just an electric atmosphere.”

Morales said he enjoyed the ride, even though it was cut short by one match.

“We were looking to be the first ones to medal for our school, but you can’t complain about making it. It’s cool to see being down here as top four with all these other great teams,” he said.

It was the third time the Rockets qualified for team state. They lost their opening matches in 1994 and in 1997, when Peterson was a freshman and his father Gerry was the coach.



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