Losing a state championship match by one point a year ago, Oshkosh West senior Nick Osowski had aspirations of not only getting back to that spot on Friday night, but finishing atop the podium on Saturday.
He’ll have to live with competing for third place instead.
In Division 1 195-pound semifinal match at the WIAA Individual State Tournament, Osowski got in a 3-0 hole early against Tomah’s fifth ranked Jordan Reisinger and couldn’t recover, falling 5-3 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Osowski pushed the action throughout, eventually receiving a stalling point against the defensive Reisinger to make it a two-point match with 45 seconds left, but couldn’t get a tying takedown down the stretch.
“He gave everything he had to get after him,” Wildcats head coach J.R. Zemke said after the match. “The ref wasn’t making the calls and it’s hard to wrestle when the guy is defensive and you’re not getting the calls from the ref.”
Osowski’s aggressiveness kept Reisinger backing up and near the edge of the mat when the two were standing, but Reisinger used it to his advantage to take the lead. With 47 seconds left in the first period, Reisinger used Osowski’s momentum to hip throw him for a takedown, keeping his feet in bounds while Osowski was mostly outside the circle.
Reisinger controlled the rest of the period down on the mat, then got a quick escape to start the second period for a 3-0 lead. It then became 5-0 when Reisinger got a lake takedown in the second, right before an Osowski escape to make the score 5-1 entering the third.
Reisinger gave Osowski a free escape early in the third, and while continuing to back away from the pressuring Osowski, received his second stalling warning with 45 seconds left in the match to make the score 5-3.
Looking for a tying takedown, Osowski continued to pressure Reisinger to the boundary the rest of the way, forcing out-of-bounds restarts with 20, 11 and 3 seconds remaining until the buzzer sounded.
Falling short of his goal, Osowski will have to pick himself up by around noon Saturday as he’ll wrestle in the consolation wrestleback round that begins at 11 a.m.
There, he’ll face second-ranked Connor Johnson of Rhinelander, and needs to win that match to advance to the third-place match Saturday afternoon.
“Nick is going to have to rebound,” Zemke said. “We’ll wrestle early in the morning. That’s what he does. He wrestles all the time, so let’s come back and get third place.”
Osowski won’t be the only area wrestler going for a medal today. Berlin’s David Meza will be joining him.
Meza wasn’t about to let his junior wrestling season be over. At least not one day earlier than necessary.
So when he took down Richland Center’s Silas Coleman right to his back on the Kohl Center floor, he made sure to finish the job.
“I was just thinking, ‘I have to get this stick.’ I was thinking of (Saturday),” Meza said.
Avoiding getting rolled, Meza held Coleman for a pin 57 seconds into the match, advancing him to today’s consolation wrestlebacks, keeping himself in contention for third place and earning a spot on the awards podium with a guaranteed top-6 finish.
“As soon as I got him on his back and he started rolling through, I was worried, but then I sat back and it was good,” Meza said. “When I got the pin, it was like, ‘thank God.'”
Meza had fallen earlier in the day to Ellsworth’s Brock Steldt, who took a 5-1 lead into the third period of the quarterfinal. Meza got an escape and takedown to get within 5-4 with 1:20 remaining, but Steldt got a late escape and held on for the win.
Meza’s match will take place late Saturday morning, with the winner advancing to the third-place match.
Knowing his match against Coleman was win-or-go-home, Meza made the most of it.
“My coach told me before the match that it’s probably the most important match of my career,” he said. “I went out there trying to wrestle my game and it turned out well for me.”
At Division 1 160 pounds, Oshkosh West’s Cole Yoder suffered a 5-3 overtime loss to Hortonville’s Nate Rynish (40-7) in the consolation first round, finishing Yoder’s season campaign with a 26-9 record.
Ripon’s Ben Pulvermacher had a rough Friday, falling 9-2 in the quarterfinals to top-ranked Jonny Chamberlain of Chetek-Weyerhauser/Prairie Farm, then was beaten 12-0 in the consolation semis by Pewaukee’s Jacob Raschka.