LC Edges Coleman In Battle Of State PowersFrom 'Peshtigo Times'http://www.peshtigotimes.net/index.php?id=31688
Coleman went toe-to-toe with one of the top teams in Division II Friday, as the match came down to the final bout on a night where wrestling legends of the past were honored.
Luxemburg-Casco left Coleman Friday night with a 30-29 victory in a match that featured upset victories and momentum swings from each side. Both teams boasted No. 2 state rankings, with Luxemberg-Casco holding second in Division II and Coleman second in Division III.
The final showdown of the day came at the 285-pound weight class, where Coleman senior Donovan Salewski faced off with senior Phil Rasmussen, a state-ranked wrestler, needing four points to tie the match and five to win. This meant Salewski virtually needed to pin Rasmussen to give his team the victory.
While Salewski was able to take Rasmussen to his back, it came out of bounds. He also missed an opportunity when Rasmussen stumbled. Salewski ultimately defeated Rasmussen 2-1 in overtime for his 100th career win.
"To try and get a pin against that heavyweight, it's not too likely," Coleman Head Coach Kevin Casper said.
Salewski's win was Coleman's seventh on the night, as the two teams split the 14 matches evenly.
Luxemberg-Casco Head Coach Chas Treml said he did not want to put thoughts of wrestling to avoid a pin in Rasmussen's head. "You just wrestle your match, and you go for it, which he did. He wrestled confidently, he went after it, and he got the loss, but he knows he's right there with those guys," Treml said after the match.
The match began with the 106-pound weight class. Coleman got out to an 11-0 lead after the first two matches, as Coleman sophomore and 2016 state qualifier Koltin Grzybowski won a 23-8 tech fall to capture five points and sophomore Caleb Gross (113) pinned junior Parker Coppens in 3:31.
Luxemberg-Casco then went on a four-match winning streak, started by state-qualifying sophomore Bryce Bosnan, who pinned Sam Kuchta at 120. Nathan Ronsman, another state-qualifying sophomore, took a 9-3 decision over Coleman sophomore Kasey Casper, who moved up a weight class.
Luxemberg-Casco took the lead in the next match, as Coleman sophomore Billy Ganter dropped a 5-1 decision to Reece Worachek at 132 while battling an apparent left knee injury. That gave Luxemberg-Casco a 12-11 lead, a lead they would never relinquish.
The 138-pound weight class featured two state qualifiers, Coleman's Jake Baldwin, a sophomore, and sophomore Colton Worachek at 138 for Luxemberg-Casco. Worachek took the win, 4-6, though Baldwin had led going into the final period. Worachek tied things up with 39 seconds left in the third, finishing him off 4-6.
Sophomore Bryce Karban took three points back at 145, defeating Luxemberg-Casco junior Cameron Lemmens 8-4, which brought the score back to 15-14 in favor of the Spartans.
The next two matches were big for Luxemberg-Casco, as junior Devan Vandenbush pinned freshman Jon Bieber in the first period and junior Hunter Larkin took a 1-0 decision over senior Cody Champagne. Champagne needed an escape to tie the match and send it to overtime, but after one last push to get up with five seconds left, he ultimately ended with a loss.
Coleman senior Jordan Blanchard, wrestling at 170 following fourth place at state in the 145-pound class, pinned junior Jacob Zellner with 1:27 left in the third period. Blanchard was up 11-4 when he got the pin to capture the six points for the Cougars. The win brought Coleman within four points, and set up senior Josh Pillath, needing an upset against senior state qualifier Dalton Smerchek, who is ranked second in the state.
In perhaps the most exciting match of the day, Pillath defeated Smerchek 4-3. Smerchek took the first points of the match with a takedown, but Pillath reversed it, eventually taking a 4-3 lead into the final period. Pillath used his length in the final period, never letting Smerchek take him down or escape when he needed to.
"I just came in focused and did my job," Pillath said, while admitting he was even surprised he was able to get the win. "I thought I just had to not give up a major or a pin. I didn't expect to do so good against somebody who's ranked No. 2 in Division II."
"That's an awesome win for Josh because Smerchek, as we know, is one of the best in the state at Division II. Just a lot of heart, lot of gut performance for Josh Pillath," Coach Casper said after the match.
Luxemburg-Casco hit 30 points with a pin from junior Austin LeRoy over Brock Martinson at 195, meaning Coleman needed something more than a decision from either sophomore Jacob Zeitler or Salewski, trailing 30-23.
Both wrestlers took decisions for Coleman, meaning the Cougars came up one point short.
Both coaches praised the level of competition after the match. "It was a great match between two awesome programs that have a great history," Coach Casper said. "Wrestling a team like Luxemburg, you never know what'll happen. A match like this is similar to a sectional state meet, so it's great preparation for both programs."
"When you wrestle better teams, it just makes you more prepared when it comes state time"� "You need all those matches to help get you ready for that mentally and physically, to know what you're dealing with," Coach Treml said.
Coleman honored their alumni before the match, and recognized their 2010 state championship team.