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Desktop Sportsman - 03/07/2010

There was something that concerned me at the state individual wrestling tournament and that was the number of close defeats Ellsworth took in the meet. There were several matches that could have gone their way and several that were lost late in the third period. Sure enough at the state team tournament, several of the matches had the same outcomes: close but no cigar. It's why Oconto Falls was able to come away with the win over Ellsworth and win its first ever state championship. In a dual meet with evenly matched opponents, every 50-50 bout is important and if they go against you, then the end result is an L. Not only that, the Panthers only managed one pin through the entire meet while Oconto Falls had four. It's just like Boyceville head coach Jamie Olson said after his team was upset by Glenwood City in a dual meet this season: "When your big guns don't get pins, it means you are in trouble." Exactly. That's the essence of team wrestling and something all acknowledged the Panthers have to improve upon because they will be favored to reach the team tournament again, perhaps be the favorites to win it considering they return almost everyone in their line-up.

Oconto Falls vs. Pewaukee was the first Division 2 final that did not include Ellsworth, Lodi and Luxemburg-Casco since 1997 when Freedom defeated Waterford for the state title. Radabaugh said it was good for the sport to see new teams making strong efforts at the team tournament.

"It shows that there's nothing you can take for granted about this tournament," Radabaugh said. "Anyone in any community, if they work hard and develop good wrestlers, can come here and win it. It doesn't have to be the same teams all the time if you are determined to be a part of it and win it as much as we are."

Will someone explain to me why Lodi and Mineral Point always sit in the same seats and get the same mats in the UW Fieldhouse? Does one have to pay for seating assignments or know someone or get preferential treatment just because they are who they are and where they are located? And some wonder why not as many fans pay attention to the state team tournament as they should or could if it was all in one weekend at the Kohl Center? Certainly such fans bases wouldn't get the same seats every year in that building.

I don't think it's too bold to say that Kaukauna is probably the best wrestling program in the state to have never won anything as a team.

Radabaugh wondered how good the Division 2 sectional was for the Indianhead, especially after so many Ellsworth wrestlers went to the individual state meet. Individually it pretty solid. There were state champs like Bartschenfeld, McKinney, Raygor and Erickson. There were finalists like Kuesel and Luchterhand and plenty of place winners. When it came to teams, well, let's not go there. Needless to say coming out of the toughest sectional in the state helped Oconto Falls a lot. It will be interesting to see if the WIAA keeps that sectional intact for another season or will they send Mosinee and Tomahawk back west or perhaps move Sparta, which is just down the road from West Salem, up north.

The concrete poured for the floor of the new New Richmond High School gymnasium was so thinly laid out that when a bunch of wood pallets accidently fell on it during construction a week or so ago, the floor cracked. Obviously it will have to be redone and thicker the next time.

Speaking of New Richmond, if you believe that revenge is a dish best served cold; don't be surprised if the weather is frigid for the Somerset-New Richmond baseball game this year. That's because former NR baseball coach and athletic director John Ball is now an assistant for former Plum City player Brandon Kadlec over at Somerset. Ball felt he had been prematurely pushed out at NR at the end of last season. Now he's jumped over to the other side.

Former Elmwood-Plum City wrestler Maja Casey is now an assistant coach at Boyceville