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Wednesday

April 2014

23

Wrestling

Young Raccoons wrestlers off to furious start

They have two seniors and zero dual losses. Not a bad ratio for the Oconomowoc wrestling team.

The Raccoons improved to 7-0 and 2-0 in the Wisconsin Little Ten with a 45-33 victory over Wisconsin Lutheran on Thursday at home, and it was some of the youngest wrestlers who delivered. Pins came from Richard Kuehl, a sophomore at 182, freshman Brett Samson (220), senior heavyweight Michael Mohr, junior Nick Brenning (126) and junior Cody Jensen (132).

Two of the team's top wrestlers, Eric Lease at 145 and Logan Ballering at 160, added pins to help the Raccoons pull away. Both remained undefeated at 7-0 at the time heading into a weekend tournament in Fond du Lac, where both had strong showings and took third place.

"We're a young team, but we're hardworking," coach Steve Olson said, adding that he didn't expect such a clean start to the year. "What we have is young, but the kids are doing a great job in the practice room, and it's paying off on the mat. They're not holding anything back. The kids aren't necessarily winning everything, but the fight is there, and the intensity is there."

At the Marty Loy Invitational in Fond du Lac, Mohr remained undefeated at 11-0 on the season, winning all four of his matches. The senior - besides Lease, the only 12th grader in the Oconomowoc lineup - needed a 4-2 decision in the semifinal and a 5-2 overtime win over Ryan Fay of Wausau West (14-2) in the final.

"I thought it was kind of a breakthrough for him," Olson said. "A lot of effort and work went into it."

Lease and Ballering both went 3-1, dropping tough decisions in the semifinal. Both are 10-1.

"Eric lost in ultimate sudden death with four seconds left on a call that could have gone either way; I thought he wrestled phenomenally well," Olson said. "Both of those kids had to pick themselves up for a third-place match and went out there and dominated."

Cooney tied for 12th among 25 teams on hand. Olson said some of his wrestlers were battling illness, necessitating their early departure from the tourney. He also lauded Nathan Kingston, who finished eighth with some quality wins.

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