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April 2014



Three Raccoons take their place

Oconomowoc heavyweight Michael Mohr came within an eyelash of the state championship match in the WIAA Division 1 wrestling state tournament Friday, falling in a heartbreaking overtime decision to Garrett Heder of Bay Port, 3-1.

Nonetheless, Mohr bounced back to take fifth place, joining fellow fifth-place finisher Logan Ballering (152 pounds) and sixth-place finisher Nick Gomez (220) on the podium in what became an excellent conclusion to Cooney's season.

Mohr wasn't done with the nail-biters, falling in the consolation semifinal to Riley Budde of Beaver Dam in the ultimate tiebreaker, 4-3. Mohr then topped Martin Flemming of Milwaukee Hamilton for the second time in the tournament in the fifth-place battle.

"It was inches," Oconomowoc coach Steve Olson said of Mohr's proximity to the state final. "He just wrestled awesome, one of the best tournaments I've seen of him."

Mohr (42-6), a senior competing in his first state tournament, reached the semifinals with a 4-1 win over Quincy Stokes of Oshkosh West to start the meet, then added an 11-3 decision over Flemming to reach the semis.

It marked the first time since 2004 that Oconomowoc had two semifinalists, when Ryan Higgins and Brad Blersch both made the final four. Blersch, who won the state title in 2005, is the school's last finalist.

Ballering joined Mohr after winning a 6-5 decision over Mouhmed Fall of Bradley Tech in the quarterfinal, though Pulaski's Kasey Caelwaerts rallied from an early deficit to win in the semis over Ballering, 4-2.

The junior Ballering (39-7) then fell to Wausau West's Travis Hettinga in the back draw before topping Quentin Lueck of Port Washington for fifth place, 7-5.

Fellow junior Gomez (19-4) won three of his six matches, including an 11-10 decision to start the tournament and a 2-1 winner over Tyler Nelson of Kaukauna to get into the medal conversation. He fell twice to Eliot Motu of Hudson, including in the fifth-place match.

Freshman Brett Samson recorded a pin over P.J. LeClaire of Brookfield East after a first-round loss, and sophomore Richard Kuehl also won by pin in the back draw after dropping his first match.

Both Joe Nettesheim (170) and Eric Lease (138) wrestled two matches each but dropped both. Both of Lease's foes wound up placing, and Nettesheim was tied late before getting caught and pinned in his second match.

"Overall, it was a phenomenal job by those seven," Olson said. "They didn't hold anything back. It was a younger group of kids under there and the first time under the bright lights. That kids came back from injuries to place at the state meet is even more amazing."

Both Gomez and Ballering were in that camp, missing last year's postseason run.

The Raccoons finished the year with a Wisconsin Little Ten dual-meet title, a runnerup finish at the conference meet and seven state qualifiers, the most since 1998.

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