You couldn’t tell it was the Bay Port wrestling team’s first trip to the WIAA Division 1 team state tournament on Friday night.
Maintaining their loose-and-poised approach, the third-ranked Pirates registered 10 pins in their quarterfinal against Menomonee Falls and needed a little more than an hour to seal the program’s first victory at the UW-Fieldhouse in dominant fashion, 63-13.
Bay Port junior Ryan Moylan started the dual at 145 pounds and trailed 2-0 entering the third period before reversing and sticking Indians sophomore Zach Pogorzelski for the pin at the 4:54 mark to get things started.
The win sent shockwaves through Bay Port’s lineup, which responded with six pins in its first eight matches to build an insurmountable lead.
The end result was the Pirates’ fourth-highest point total in a dual this season and a berth into Saturday’s semifinals against top-ranked Wausau West, which advanced with a 54-0 win over Burlington.
“Being our first year down here at team state, you’re not exactly sure what you’re going to get,” Bay Port coach Brad Shefchik said. “But the kids have been doing it all year long and they showed tonight that we belong down here at state. I’m really happy for them. You’re always a little surprised when the kids wrestle that well. Now, we have to get it cranked up for (today) because we’re going to have our hands full with a good team.”
A pair of state qualifiers Jacob Jossart (162) and Alex Walla (160) followed up Moylan’s win with two more pins to stake Bay Port to an early 18-0 lead.
Menomonee Falls junior Jake Fuiten put the Indians on the board with a late takedown of Andrew Wojkiewicz to squeeze out a 5-3 decision at 170 before trying unsuccessfully to bump their 160-pounder, Alex Koch, to 182 where he took a 10-8 loss to Bay Port’s Christian Andres.
Sophomore Alec Ingold, junior Joe Kitslaar and senior Garrett Heder produced three more pins after Andres’ decision to take a 39-3 lead over Menomonee Falls all but assuring the Pirates (20-3) would advance heading into the lower weights.
The Indians (17-4) were wrestling without a pair of state qualifiers in 120-pound sophomore Bill Holz and 182-pound senior Ayoola Olapo, but it wouldn’t have mattered as Bay Port finished the dual with four consecutive pins to put an exclamation point on its first state dual win in school history.
“To be completely honest, it was a whole different scenery than individual state,” said junior Chase Farr, who took third at 120 pounds last weekend before pinning former state qualifier Jeff Kleser on Friday. “Having your whole team with you, you don’t really get nervous at all. You feed off of everybody else’s momentum, one after another, and before you know it it’s your time on the mat.”
Now, Bay Port readies for D1 favorite Wausau West, coached by Ashwaubenon alumnus Troy Fabry. The Warriors lost only one match on Friday, but finished with a shutout after Burlington had three point deductions for unsportsmanlike conduct.
The Pirates have only seen the Warriors (19-3) on two occasions this year — last month’s Pulaski Invite and individual state — but they know what they’re in for against a lineup that features five state place winners and 126-pound state champion Colin Baine.
However,Bay Port has been no slouch, either. The Pirates sent a program-record eight individuals to the state tournament with six medalists of their own, including 138-pound finalist Alex Blaney and Heder, who was a runner-up at 285.
Following Friday night’s shellacking, the Pirates hope that momentum translates into them becoming the first area D1 team to reach the team state finals since 1993.
“To get those three pins right off the bat, we got the steamroll going and we just kept chugging,” Heder said. “It just kept going from there. It was a snowball effect right to the end and I think we’re going to carry it on for the rest of the tournament.”
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