Oak Creek wrestlers claim SEC dual title, win Homestead Invite
Is team's first league crown since 2006
The Oak Creek wrestling team is a year ahead of schedule and all it continues to do is impress people.
"Those kids just go and go and go," said Homestead coach Ernie Millard, whose 18-team invite the Knights won last Friday. "They're good and they're deep."
And for the first time since 2006, they're also conference champions. In a warm-up for the Highlander, they downed Kenosha Bradford, 39-23, on Jan. 23 in a matchup of 5-0 Southeast Conference titans that gave Oak Creek no less than a share of the league dual meet championship.
Coach Matt Sommerville is almost speechless at the feat.
"It was such a great accomplishment by these kids," he said. "Truthfully, I thought we were a year away at the beginning of the season before we would be wrestling for the conference title.
"But these kids are just unbelievable. They just keep working hard and getting better everyday. I couldn't ask for a better group of kids. They work hard, they have fun, and most importantly they want to win as a team."
Oak Creek will close out its dual meet schedule Thursday at home against Racine Case.
The Knights look ready for almost any obstacle thrown their way.
At the scramble-format Highlander meet, they scored 380-1/2 points as Burlington was second with 366 and Kimberly third with 283-1/2. It was Oak Creek's second straight tourney win and the third of the season.
Ben Hakes at 160 pounds and Ross Agg at 182 won individual titles for the Knights.
Hakes remains dominant as he improved to 32-1 with victories over Bay View (pin), Racine Case (major decision), Burlington (pin) and Bradley Tech (6-3 decision) opponents.
"Ben got a huge win over a kid that has beaten him every time he has wrestled him," Sommerville said. "Ben established his offense right off the first whistle, and just kept after the guy for six minutes."
Agg improved to 21-10 after beating Cudahy/St. Francis (decision), Bay View (pin), Racine Case (decision) and Bradley Tech (decision) opponents.
"Ross wrestled better than he ever has," Sommerville said. "He beat two (state) ranked kids on his way to the championship. What Ross does best is that he always believes he can win, even when he's losing the match. He has a great attitude, which keeps him going forward."
Other good efforts for the Knights included Matt Berlin third at 106 (4-1 on the day, 26-9 overall); Andrew McIntosh second at 113 (4-1, 26-5 with his only loss a 1-0 decision to a Cudahy/St. Francis foe); Isaiah Robinson, fifth at 120 (3-2, 25-7); Josiah Wolf, fifth at 126 (3-2, 15-15); Sean LaBodda, sixth at 138 (3-2, 22-10); Nate Mlodzik third at 145 (4-1, 23-10); Elijah Paez sixth at 170 (3-2, 8-3); Jake Regazzi, fourth at 195 (3-2, 20-11); and Nick Gottfried, fifth at 220 (3-2, 18-13).
Sommerville praised the efforts of McIntosh and of his 106 pounders, calling them "the best around."
Against Bradford on Jan. 23, the Knights led 27-23 heading into the final two bouts, but both Nick Gottfried at 285 pounds (3:30) and Berlin at 106 (0:45) recorded pins to clinch the team victory.
Other wins went to McIntosh at 113 (pin 5:01), Robinson at 120 (11-0 major decision), LaBodda at 138 (6-1 decision), Mlodzik at 145 (6-2), Hakes at 160 (15-5 major decision), Paez at 170 (15-5 major decision) and Agg at 182 (12-5).
"It was a great night," Sommerville said.
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