Coleman’s hopes of winning a fourth straight title were shot down Saturday.
Top-ranked Lancaster ended the streak with a 38-21 victory to claim the WIAA Division 3 team state title at the UW Field House.
Trailing 21-20, the Flying Arrows won the last four matches of the dual to win their first title in their first state appearance since 1999.
“We knew we had to win every close match and we had our opportunities but didn’t capitalize,” Coleman coach Kevin Casper said. “There were three matches in there that we could have turned our way that would have been the difference.”
Had the Cougars been able to turn the tables on the decision losses they took at 138 pounds, 182 and 285, they could have pulled out a one-point victory in the dual.
But it would have been asking a lot.
Freshman Kevin Lansin took junior Daniel Rice to overtime before falling to the state qualifier 6-4 at 138.
Junior Dext Karban, who placed fourth at 160 at state, moved down to 182 and took a 12-8 loss to Cody Glass.
After wrestling only seven varsity matches all season, sophomore Coty Rosner lost a 10-4 decision to Brandon Richardson at heavyweight.
“We got a young group of kids that really wrestled well in both matches just to get to the finals,” Casper said. “I’m proud of them, and they have a lot to look forward to.”
The young talent showed flashes of that in a 39-22 victory over Clear Lake to send the Cougars to the finals for the fifth time in six years, as sophomore CJ Pillath (220) and Rosner came up with back-to-back pins to clinch the victory.
“The 220- and the 285-pound matches, we needed those,” Casper said. “CJ Pillath has just been coming on like gangbusters at the end of the year. We’ve got a lot of kids like that.”
The runner-up finish for Coleman marks the end of the road for its senior starters Isaac Nowak and Mason Mergener, who have been wrestling together for 14 years.
Both won individual state titles in their careers and their final matches were two of the shining moments in the championship dual on Saturday.
A week after winning the 152-pound state title, Mergener came up with a reversal in the closing seconds against David Chadd to pull out a 7-6 decision and close the gap to 17-11 after seven matches.
Nowak, who won the 195 state title as a junior, came up with a pin at that weight class and it was followed by a major decision from Pillath to give the Cougars a 21-20 lead.
“That was huge for our seniors to come through in their last match,” Casper said. “They both had a great four years and are both state champions and three-time state champs as a team besides, so they had outstanding careers.”
Knowing the team will return six place-winners next season, Nowak feels the group has the makings to begin another streak.
“This is a young team,” Nowak said. “It wasn’t enough this year, but next year me and Mason are gone otherwise they got everybody else coming back with more experience, bigger, faster, stronger.”
Casper feels the same way.
“To lose eight state place-winners from last year, and do what we did to come here and get to the state finals, I couldn’t be more proud of these kids,” he said.
“It’s been a great run and now we go back to work and hopefully start it all over again.”
Lancaster 38, Coleman 21
106: Tyson Wolf, LAN, pin Derick Teteak, 1:44; 113: Dustin Reynolds, LAN, pin Brandon Champagne, 3:57; 120: Cole Martin, LAN, dec Jensyn Schaal, 6-3; Kyle Mezera, LAN, maj dec Jackson Margis, 12-0; 132: Marc Lansin, COL, dec Joe Crosby, 12-6; 138: Daniel Rice, LAN, ot dec Kevin Lansin, 6-4; 145: Trenton Cornell, LAN, maj dec Alex Stodola, 16-3; 152: Trevor Seewald, COL, tech fall Jacob Slater, 16-1; 160: Ethan Soderstrom, LAN, pin Hunter Stodola, 0:52; 170: Mason Mergener, COL, dec David Chadd, 7-6; 182: Cody Glass, AN, dec Dexter Karban, 12-8; 195: Isaac Nowak, COL, pin Connor Flynn, 1:35; 220: C.J. Pillath, COL, maj dec John VanDeHey, 9-0; 285: Brandon Richardson, LAN, dec Coty Rosner, 10-4.
match started at 126
Coleman 39, Clear Lake 22
106: Derick Teteak, COL, dec. Zach Elmer, 7-5; 113: Cody Shafer, CL, pin Brandon Champagne, 1:21; 120: Tim Anderson, CL, dec. Jensyn Schaal, 7-6; 126: Jackson Margis, COL, dec. Alex Colbeth, 8-2; 132: Marc Lansin, COL, dec. Andrew Colbeth, 11-4; 138: Kevin Lansin, COL, dec. Mitch Paulson, 3-0; 145: Alex Stodola, COL, dec. Cameron Crawford, 8-5; 152: Erik Ulrich, CL, dec. Trevor Seewald, 4-3; 160: Mason Mergener, COL, pin Tyler Strenke, 2:52; 170: Garrett Paulson, CL, maj. dec. Hunter Stodola, 13-4; 182: Dexter Karban, COL, pin Ian Ruble, 1:39; 195: Mitch Lien, CL, pin Isaac Nowak, 3:10; 220: CJ Pillath, COL, pin Chant Lablanc, 2:43; 285: Coty Rosner, COL, pin Andrew Ninke, 3:51.
match started at 120