The Bay Port wrestling team’s first state appearance ended sooner than it would have liked.
But it probably shouldn’t of.
The Pirates fell 32-30 to top-ranked Wausau West in a WIAA Division 1 team state semifinal match on Saturday morning.
However, most of the crowd at the UW Field House felt Bay Port should have won.
In the sixth match of the dual, Wausau West junior Travis Hettinga recorded a third-period pin over Pirates junior Jacob Jossart, who appeared to have pinned Hettinga in the second period of the 152-pound match.
Instead, it went down as a near fall and ultimately a 12-point swing for the Warriors, who took a 21-8 lead at that point.
“The ref missed it,” Bay Port coach Brad Shefchik said. “What are you going to do?
“We’re not happy. There’s no sugarcoating it. The kids aren’t happy. The coaching staff isn’t happy. We came here to win it, and we didn’t get it done.”
The Hettinga-Jossart match was one of three rematches between wrestlers who saw each other either at the Pulaski Invite on Jan. 26 or at individual state last weekend.
Another one saw Bay Port senior Alex Walla avenge a loss from Pulaski to Jared Mataczynski with a 12-3 major decision at 160, which was the start of a stretch where the Pirates won five of six matches to tie the dual at 27-27 with a pin at heavyweight from senior Garrett Heder.
After recording 10 pins in its quarterfinal victory against Menomonee Falls, it was Bay Port’s only pin and one of only three matches that it recorded bonus points in on Saturday.
“We had the steamroller going,” Heder said. “(Friday) we put the throttle on and never wanted it to stop, but that (152) match sure slowed it down.
“We all thought it was a pin. Everybody else on the opposite team knew it was a pin. The ref, for whatever reason, didn’t call it and that just stopped everything.”
Despite the controversial 152 match, Bay Port still had a chance to win the dual at the end after freshman Jordan Delfosse held Wausau West senior Bee Lor – who took fourth at individual state – to a technical fall at 106, pushing the Warriors’ lead to 32-27.
Had Deflosse been pinned, Wausau West would have all but clinched the victory with Pirates sophomore Henry Prange needing a pin to give Bay Port the win based on first tiebreaker (matches won), a category the Pirates would’ve edged West in 8-6. Still, Prange had an opportunity when he took the mat to steal the victory.
Prange nearly had Alex Burk turned in the second and third periods, but would ultimately have to settle for a 4-2 decision, which gave the Pirates an 8-6 edge in matches won but not the dual.
The downfall for the Pirates was Wausau West recording bonus with four pins and one technical fall.
“We can’t give up bonus points, and we did in too many matches,” Shefchik said. “This is going to hurt for a while.”
After coming within an eyelash of claiming its first hardware at state since a runner-up finish in 1983, which was done under the old tournament scoring format, Bay Port appears to be in position to make more runs at a title in years to come following one of the most dominating seasons in program history.
The Pirates set program records by qualifying eight wrestlers for individual state and having six place-winners, including runner-up finishes from Heder and fellow senior Alex Blaney in addition to a fourth from Walla.
While those three seniors will be tough to replace, Heder doesn’t have any doubt that Bay Port will be back at state in future years.
“I think we’ve set the groundwork for a great program for years to come,” Heder said.
“We’ve got a bunch of good kids coming up, and I think this season was the stone that sets everything into place.”
Wausau West 32, Bay Port 30
120: Chase Farr, BP, dec. Hunter Kuehl, 7-1; 126: Colin Baine, WW, pin Sam Rathburn, 3:49; 132: Joe Umlauf, WW, dec. Chad Osmanski, 8-1; 138: Alex Blaney, BP, tech. fall Josh Noll, 18-3; 145: Ben Kostroski, WW, pin Ryan Moylan, 1:42; 152: Travis Hettinga, WW, pin Jacob Jossart, 4:54; 160: Alex Walla, BP maj. dec. Jared Mataczynski, 12-3; 170: Cody Grunenwald, WW, pin Christian Andres, 2:44; 182: Andrew Wojkiewicz, BP, dec. Kyle Zimick, 6-5; 195: Alec Inogold, BP dec. Jake Whalen, 10-5; 220: Joe Kitslaar, BP dec. River Judd, 4-0; 285: Garrett Heder, BP, pin Ryan Fay, 3:37; 106: Bee Lor, WW, tech. fall Jordan Delfosse, 23-8; 113: Henry Prange, BP, dec. Alex Burk, 4-2.