Spectators at this weekend’s WIAA State Individuals Wrestling Tournament might notice Kewaskum High coach Scott Rhoads with a new hair style, one given to him by some amateur barbers, but some pretty darn good wrestlers.
After Alex Deheck won his wrestleback match at 145 pounds in the February 17, D-2 Cedar Grove Sectional, guaranteeing the Indians would be taking six wrestlers to tournament, one of the parents quickly yelled out “Haircut.” When asked about the remark, Rhoads said, “I told them (the kids) if we got six through, they get to cut my hair.” While he may look funny for a couple weeks, this is one bet Rhoads doesn’t mind paying off, not at all.
Kewaskum had a pair of champions, juniors Eric Bauer at 138 pounds and Tanner Goeman at 152. For Bauer, this will be his third trip to Madison’s Kohl Center, and the first for Goeman, who is much improved this year.
Finishing second was Mason Pomeroy at 120, while Adam Bruss at 113, Braden Maertz at 132, and Alex Deheck at 145 all qualified for state by virtue of their third-place finishes. Bauer (37-3) breezed through the competition, starting off with a 12-3 major decision over Ben Kalara of Lake Mills, then pinning Tommy Cushman of Whitewater in a mere 1:52 and finising off the day with a four takedown, 11-2 major decision over Campbellsport’s Taylor Heltemes.
“I feel pretty good,” Bauer said afterward, noting he was able to follow his game play without any difficulties. “I just wanted to make sure I was in good position,” he said. Bauer and Heltemes have squared off before so they knew each other’s tendencies.
”I think this is the fourth time (we met),” he said adding the ninepoint win wasn’t his best against the Cougar athlete. “I think the first time, I tech falled him.” Bauer lost to defending champion Sam Suhr of Ellsworth in the semis last year and would like another shot at him this year in the finals, but he’s also figuring there will be a couple of other formidable challengers.
“As long as I wrestled smart and wrestle my match, I’ll be fine,” he said. Bauer likes the fact KHS has strong wrestlers from 132 to 152, which helped prepare for the big tournaments. “It helps having good partners,” he said. “We push each other every day.” Goeman (40-9) was a big story at KHS this winter, turning into a top-rated D-2 wrestler.
He started off with an 11-2 major win over Angel Cortes of Martin Luther, then outscored Kiel’s Alex Kleinhans 8-4 in the semis before carefully carving out a 9-4 win over Bryce Morgan, a sophomore from Cedar Grove- Belgium. “It’s what I wanted … It’s what I’ve been working for,” Goeman said about going to state.
What helped him make a big jump was first and foremost trying out for special state freestyle teams. He also said, “I learned how to lift (weights) better … went on more runs and went to a lot more practices.” Still, Goeman admitted he had butterflies before his first match. “I was worried about messing up,” he said. “I overcame it. It kind of left me (when I started the matches.)” Concerning the win over Morgan, Goeman said, “I didn’t want to stop moving. I didn’t want him to be able to capitalize on me.” Pomeroy (38-13) received a bye in the first round, then went up against Lucas Schevikhoven of Sheboygan Lutheran (40- 0) in the semis and had Schevikhoven on his back for a five-point move in the first period.
Schevikhoven prevailed, however, coming back with 20 straight points for a 20-5 technical fall. The loss didn’t daunt Pomeroy, however, as he bounded back with a 6-0 decision over Quinn Hoopmann of Cedar Grove in the first wrestleback and secured second place with a 7-5 overtime decision over Joe Moede of East Troy.
All year long, Rhoads was hoping his lone senior, Bruss (35-15) would advance. He looked a little sluggish in his first match, a 9-5 win over Jacob Greidanus of Delevan- Darien, but then he was much better in the semis where he defeated Jefferson’s West Wright 4- 2 on a takedown 17 seconds into overtime.
Bruss faced an old nemesis, Campbellsport’s Dylan Bublitz, in the finals and lost 6-1 after giving up a takedown and near fall in the first period. This forced Bruss to have one more match to determine second and third. In this one he lost to Kiel’s Andrew Schad 7-3. The sophomore Maertz (40-10) will be making his second trip to state after he won two matches, lost one and forfeited to Aidan Medora of St. John’s Military/Northwestern in the semis.
After pinning Whitewater’s Jaden Salmieri in the first round, Maertz decided to forfeit to Medora, a state runner-up in 2017. “He’s had a neck injury that’s bothering him,” Rhoad said. Still, Maertz came back with a 3:21 pin over Dylan Teunissen of Cedar Grove in the first wrestleback, then outlasted Logan Kreuser of Campbellsport in a 5-3 overtime match before ending the day with an 8-3 loss to Ellis Pfleger of Grafton.
Deheck (26-8) had a rather auspicious start to his tournament, facing the eventual champion, Max Ward of Elkhart Lake/Glenbeulah in the first round and getting pinned in 1:22 after getting caught in a Spladle.
Deheck knew he had a good chance to comeback, and he made the most of it, pinning Sheboygan Lutheran’s Jack Schilling in 2:34 and pinning Josh TeStroete of Cedar Grove in 1:15 before losing to Andrew Forsythe of North Fond du Lac/St. Mary’s Springs, 8- 4 in the battle for second.
Sam Larson (27-17) went 0-2 at 160 pounds and does not advance. Three Indians were eliminated from the competition after their first matches because the wrestler they lost to, lost in his next round. Results of their matches are as follows: 106 — Nathaniel Droese (32-11) lost to Cole Mattek of Sheboygan Falls, 9-4; 170 — Eduardo Padilla (13-13) lost to Ben Anzia, Cedar Grove/Belgium, 2-0; 285 Nathan Lawrenz (10-19) Jacob Mast, East Troy, 1:22.
Campbellsport had the most points in the sectional, 96.5, while East Troy was next at 94.0 and Kewaskum third with 89. The state tournament opened today (February 22) with D-2 second and third-place finishers clashing starting at 1 p.m. to determine the final eight in each weight class.
Bauer and Goeman do not wrestle until Friday afternoon in the quarter finals. Semifinals for all three classes start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday and finals and consolations are held on Saturday.