Frosh Rejuvinates Rapids

By Joe Shinners

   Oconomowoc – For those who were looking for proof of just how good the Wisconsin Rapids freshman class is, the Oconomowoc Duals were just a taste of what is to come this year.

Rapids, greatly assisted by its four talented freshman, dominated the competition at the annual eight-team dual tournament and won the team title Saturday afternoon with a 5-0 record and improved to 6-0 overall.

Most impressive was the performance of the four freshmen: Jake Raflik (125 pounds), Rylan Lubeck (135), Zak Benitz (140) and Devin Peterson (171). Three of the four went undefeated as Lubeck, Benitz and Peterson all compiled 5-0 records.

Raflik’s only loss was by a 17-2 technical fall to Arrowhead sophomore Jake Sueflohn in Rapids’ 47-21 victory over the Warhawks in the fourth round. Raflik rebounded in the fifth round to defeat Oconomowoc freshman Taylor Mommaerts by a 3-1 decision in Rapids’ 62-12 victory over Oconomowoc in the fifth and final round to finish at 4-1 on the day.

Raflik had the toughest test of any Rapids wrestler. He had to hold on against Wilmot sophomore Adam Neal for a 6-5 double overtime victory in Rapids 69-6 victory.

Rapids, ranked No. 3 in Division 1, went 60-10 in matches and racked up 34 pins while giving up only a pair. Janesville Craig standout sophomore Siven Furseth pinned Rapids sophomore Jake Jaborek in 4:32 at 112 in Rapids’ 70-12 victory in the second round. Arrowhead freshman Adam Yde pinned Rapids sophomore Jason Munoz in 5:09 at 103 in that dual.

Rapids coach Scott Benitz was pleased with his team’s performance but leery of saying the Red Raiders were on pace to topple Wausau West, the state’s No. 1 ranked Division 1 team and defending Valley Conference champions.

“I though we wrestled well today,” Benitz said. “The kids looked good. The toughness that was lacking last year, I think we have that this year. I think the kids will battle. They work very hard. But it’s a long season and we have a lot of tests left this year. We’re trying to improve every week. Everybody has flaws. We do to. We’re trying to get better just like everyone.”

Oconomowoc staged the most surprising result as the Cooney knocked off Arrowhead by a 35-34 margin and went on to finish second with a 4-1 record, followed by Arrowhead at 3-2 and Wilmot at 2-3. Arrowhead was thought to be the top team in the Milwaukee area this year.

Taylor Mommaerts came up with two key victories to help Oconomowoc hang on for second place.

Mommaerts limited Arrowhead sophomore Jake Sueflohn, a Division 1 third-place finisher at 119 a year ago, to a 3-2 victory Saturday afternoon in the decisive match of the teams’ dual. It was a big performance for a young wrestler as Oconomowoc finished 4-1 to improve to 5-1.

Arrowhead finished in third at 3-2 and 4-2 overall just two days after defeating Classic 8 Conference rival Mukwonago by 36-33 to start the season. Arrowhead was without senior James Clark (140), a two-time state place-winner, due to a shoulder injury.

Sueflohn needed a major decision or more to give Arrowhead the extra team points to pull out the team victory and avoid an upset. But he could not tilt Mommaerts throughout the second and third periods and had to settle for a decision as Arrowhead fell to Oconomowoc for the first time in years.

“I don’t even know when the last time we beat Arrowhead was,” said Oconomowoc coach Steve Olson. “I’d have to get out the books.”

Arrowhead had taken a 25-17 lead after junior Aaron Pomeroy pinned Oconomowoc sophomore Cody Wandersee in 1 minute 24 seconds at 215 with four matches remaining in the dual that began at 130.

Oconomowoc, despite having to forfeit 103 due to injury, rallied with three pins by senior Mike Britten (285), junior Zach Mommaerts (112) and junior Nick Niggemier (119) to take a 35-31 lead with one match remaining.

Mommaerts sealed the victory with a gritty performance that saw him hold off Sueflohn and lift Oconomowoc.

“That’s a lot of pressure for a freshman,” said Olson. “He showed a lot of maturity. He’s very talented and he works hard in our room. He went out there and took it upon himself to secure the win.”

Against Arrowhead, Oconomowoc split the 14 matches but posted four pins and two major decisions to squeeze out the victory. Arrowhead had three pins and one major decision.

“That’s out of the ordinary for us to give up that many pins,” said Arrowhead coach John Mesenbrink. “For us to give up four pins, it’s unheard of lately. We’ll be a different team at the end of the year.”

Oconomowoc came out flat against Wilmot in the ensuing dual meet, but still managed to hold on for a 40-39 victory. Oconomowoc again needed pins by Zach Mommaerts, Niggemier and Britten to set up Taylor Mommaerts for another victory-sealing performance.

Mommaerts majored Wilmot sophomore Adam Neal by a 10-1 decision at 125, giving Oconomowoc an insurmountable 40-33 lead heading into the final match, which Wilmot won by a pin.

Even a 62-12 blowout loss to Rapids in the championship didn’t lower Olson’s spirits after the tournament because of the long-awaited victory over Arrowhead.

“No disrespect to (Arrowhead), but it feels good,” Olson said.


Final standings: 1, Wisconsin Rapids, 5-0; 2, Oconomowoc, 4-1; 3, Arrowhead, 3-2; 4, Wilmot, 2-3; 5, Janseville Craig, 1-4; 6, All-Stars, 1-4; 7;, Sugar River, 1-4; 8, West Allis Hale, 1-4.

Scores: Round 1, WR 70, All-Stars 6; Wilmot 36, JC 33; Ocon. 63, WAH 13; Arr. 70, SR  9. Round 2 – WR 70, JC 12; Wilmot 55, All-Stars 19; Ocon. 70, SR 9; Arr. 66, WAH 9. Round 3 – WR 69, Wilmot 6; JC 45, All-Stars 33; Ocon. 35, Arr. 34; SR 26, WAH 24. Round 4 – WR 47, Arr. 21; Ocon. 40, Wilmot 39; JC 57, SR 22; All-Stars 21, WAH 19. Round 5 – WR 62,Ocon. 12; Arr. 44, Wil 23; JC 59, WAH 18; SR 27, All-Stars 26.

Undefeated wrestlers

103 – Andy Moyle, WAH; 112 – Siven Furseth, JC; Zach Mommaerts, Ocon. 119 – Jamie Kumlien, JC; Nick Niggemier, Ocon. 125 – Jake Sueflohn, Arr. 130 – Coltin Brehm, WR. 135 – Rylan Lubeck, WR. 140 – Zak Benitz, WR; Tyler Bauer, WAH; 145 – Ben Best, WR; 152 – Jaren Jaborek, WR; 160 – Al Yde, Arr. 171 – Devin Peterson, WR; Kalvin York, SR. 189 – Vaughn Grube, WR. 215 – Doug Fuller, WR. 285 – Vance Grube, WR.