Just a freshman, Derek Olson may already be hearing the comparisons to some of Muskego's elite wrestlers from years past.
Olson took first place in the 130-pound weight class in impressive fashion and the Warriors took third overall in the Marty Loy Invite at Fond du Lac on Dec. 16, backing up a surprisingly convincing win over Southeast Conference foe Oak Creek on Dec. 14.
"Derek Olson really turned some people's heads," coach Ted Price said. "He dominated every kid he wrestled, and there was a returning state runner-up in his weight class who had lost to the kid Derek pinned in the finals. He certainly doesn't wrestle like your typical freshman, that's for sure."
Bloomer's Jordon Eder had dismissed semifinal rival Jonny August of Pulaski, a wrestler who was felled by 2-1 double-overtime decision last winter in the WIAA Division 1 state championship match at 119 pounds. But Olson took care of Eder, pinning in 3 minutes, 57 seconds and keeping his undefeated early season intact.
"I was pretty confident in what I could do," said Olson (12-0). "I've been in wrestling for a long time, since I was in preschool. I feel like I can compete with pretty much everybody in the state right now. It was a tough tournament, but I pinned and tech (fall)-ed my way through the whole tournament."
Just one year removed from seeing Riley Kreuzer take a state championship at 140 pounds, it may be far too early to start making comparisons. But the early returns are positive.
"The one thing I really notice, especially in the practice room, is that he (Olson) is always going at 100 percent," said 112-pound senior Alex Bartram, who took second place in the invite. "He never takes a break; he's always going. It's really impressive seeing someone that age have that much confidence and not confidence to a fault. He's really sure of himself and he's just good."
Bartram's second place and Jake Schilling's third at 145 bolstered the Warriors' performance. With 163 points, Muskego was trumped only by Luxemburg-Casco (249) and Wausau West (228.5) in the 25-team gathering.
"I thought we did pretty well as a team," Price said. "I thought we had some good individual performances, but we were a little inconsistent as a team."
Bartram was the eighth seed in his bracket, but won a 3-1 decision over Wausau West's Jason Kyle to kick off the competition, then bested top seed Jake Mancoske of Denmark, 9-4.
"I wrestled a tough match in the first round, and I think that really helped me get loose and keep myself focused and get some confidence going into the next round," he said. "After I beat him (in the second round), I was really pumped up and just couldn't get it done in the finals."
"Alex Bartram really wrestled aggressively throughout the tournament," Price said. "Now that he's gaining a little more confidence in his abilities, we're expecting him to be one of our leaders this year. Jake Schilling had a good day, losing only a 3-1 decision to the eventual champ, and Jordan Lau did a very nice job in his first varsity tournament to place sixth."
Lau achieved his finish at 103 pounds, matching Scott Lau's place at 119. Jason Gruettner took fifth place at 171 pounds, Luke Kreuzer added a sixth at 160, and Jerred Gruettner took seventh at 152.
"They all wrestled some very good matches, but came up short against some very tough competition," Price said. "But they'll all learn from it and continue to develop and improve."
Against Oak Creek, typically jockeying with Muskego and Franklin atop the Southeast Conference dual standings, the Warriors lost the first three matches of the day, but rebounded for a 54-20 victory.
"I really was looking forward to beating Oak Creek this year because we always have a little bit of a rivalry," Bartram said. "It was definitely a good feeling after that dual."
The Knights opened a 15-0 lead, but Muskego earned pins from Jordan Sowinski at 103 (5:52), Jordan Lau at 112 (2:30) and Bartram at 119 (0:51) to reclaim the lead. Thereafter, Scott Lau won at 125 (7-2), Adam Nichols at 130 (8-6), Olson at 135 (1:46), T.J. Jankowski at 140 (1:15), Schilling at 145 (3:27), Jerred Gruettner at 152 (2:27) and Jason Gruettner at 171 (3:05).
"They're probably one of the top five teams in the state," Oak Creek coach Jim Hauerwas said of Muskego. "They're solid. They have a couple of weaknesses in the upper weights and that's where we got them. They're the real deal from 103 to 171; they're solid as a rock. There's not many people that they can't go toe-to-toe with them at those weights."
Added Price, "Once some of our lighter weights started racking up pins, the team seemed to feed off each other and they just kept on picking up more pins. I think we surprised Oak Creek a little bit."
The Little Things
Muskego lost each of the first three matches against Oak Creek on Dec. 14, but still stormed to a 54-20 victory.
|Malcolm Briggs (189)||Alex Kehoe||0:37|
|Charlie Castona (215)||Kyle Castellion||8-5|
|Phil Timber (hvy)||Brandon Wegner||0:31|
|Jordan Sowinski (103)||Kyle Lara||3:52|
|Jordan Lau (112)||Jake Hince||2:30|
|Alex Bartram (119)||Jeremiah Butler||0:51|
|Scott Lau (125)||Josh Howard||7-2|
|Adam Nichols (130)||Adam Mauer||8-6|
|Derek Olson (135)||Matt Luedtke||1:46|
|T.J. Jankowski (140)||Jeff Kneusel||1:14|
|Jake Schilling (145)||Jordan Hauerwas||3:27|
|Jerred Gruettner (152)||Nate Plohockey||2:27|
|Mitch Pordon (160)||Luke Kreuzer||1:48|
|Jason Gruettner (171)||Parick Bryar||3:05|
Muskego wrestlers in bold. Times refer to pins.
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