East Troy High School’s Tommy Larson wrestles at 113 pounds during the Dec. 5 match against Catholic Memorial. Larson brought home the 106-pound Battle of the Bay tournament title over the weekend. He was the top finisher for East Troy at the annual invite in Green Bay. (Eric Kramer photo)

Larson wins tournament title at Green Bay invite

By Dan Truttschel

Correspondent

There certainly wasn’t any shortage of talent all around Bay Port High School at last weekend’s Battle on the Bay Invitational.

And there was the East Troy wrestling squad, right in the thick of things.

East Troy spent its weekend in Green Bay and came home with some hardware and a 16th-place finish in the high-caliber, 25-team event. The Trojans placed 16th overall with 219 points.

Luxemburg-Casco won the overall title with 468.5 points, followed by Mukwonago with 441.5, DePere with 370, Wrightstown with 360 and Denmark with 338.5.

“We took eight kids to one of the toughest tournaments in the region,” East Troy coach Mike Howard said. “Many kids in this tournament were last year’s state qualifiers and place winners. The kids we took fought hard throughout the day, and we came away with some key wins and some great matches.

“Going to Green Bay to wrestle is always special, and you battle with many kids that you normally don’t see throughout the season until you make it to state.”

East Troy had three top-five finishes, highlighted by a tournament title for Tommy Larson at 106 pounds.

Larson rolled through his first three matches. After a bye, he pinned Oak Creek’s Luca Paladino in 1:37, followed by identical 20-5, technical fall victories over Oconto Falls’ Jager Eisch and Green Bay Preble’s Connor Derenne.

“Tommy came to wrestle,” Howard said. “Before making the finals, he dominated his first three matches. … Tommy is quick on his feet and knows when to shoot and finish clean without getting in a scramble or caught underneath his opponent.

“He keeps it simple. Either he’s getting to his opponents leg or he’s going around you when you shoot.”

In the finals, Larson, ranked No. 2 at 106 pounds, matched up with Luxemburg-Casco’s Lucas Joniaux, who was fourth last year at the state tournament and currently is ranked No. 1, and came away with a hard-fought, 3-1 victory.

That match could be a preview of something even bigger down the road, Howard said.

“Tommy did a great job getting to the kid’s leg,” he said. “He didn’t just do one attempt, but kept firing off shot after shot until he was able to take the kid down.

“He also did a good job of not getting out of position. The kid was real lengthy and a pretty good scrambler, but Tommy was able to defend his attacks. I’m sure Tommy will see that kid again at the state meet, and he will need to open it up a lot more and just go after him with his technique and his quickness.”

Two finish fourth

Also coming home with medals were Chase Coleman (160) and Chris Storandt (220), who finished fourth overall.

Coleman, ranked fourth at 160 pounds in Division 2, posted pinfall victories in 2:22, 5:09 and 1:25, respectively, to cruise into the semifinal, where he was pinned in 43 seconds by Luxemburg’s Devan Vandenbush, followed by a 6-1 setback to Hortonville’s Colin Schuler in the third-place match.

“Chase had some tough matches and did not back down,” Howard said. “Chase is always looking to put people on their back no matter what position he is in. He had some painful losses, but he’s the type of kid that bounces back and learns from his mistakes.”

Storandt took a similar path through his day, as he had pins in 2:33, 2:54 and 1:01 to move into the semifinals, where he was pinned at the 5:58 mark by Luxemburg’s Nate Lloyd, who is ranked third at 220 pounds.

In the third-place match, Storandt, ranked fifth in Division 2, fell, 9-5, to Rhinelander’s Colton Krueger.

“Chris battled some big guys in the tournament,” Howard said. “I think if Chris tightens up his game plan, he will definitely beat those kids he lost to. He’s one that gets stronger and better as the season progresses.”

Others who competed Saturday were Jacob Mast (285), 2-2, seventh; Jacob Price (182), 2-3, 11th; Joe Moede (120), 2-2, 13th; Jackson Dedick (152), 1-4, 16th; and Jake Dessart (170), 1-3, 17th.

East Troy is back in action Thursday night when it opens its Rock Valley Conference dual meet schedule against visiting Evansville at 7 p.m.

Howard said he’s hopeful to have a complete lineup for the RVC opener, as a round of illness and some nagging injuries have sidelined some varsity wresters.

“Evansville is one of the tougher teams in our conference, and we need our best lineup and everyone competing at a high level to take it to them,” he said. “I think we match up well against them. It’s all about gaining some momentum in the dual and scrapping for every point.

“It will be fun to watch, and (we’re) looking forward to another home dual meet under the spotlight.”

Trojans top Crusaders

East Troy opened the week with a 46-31 nonconference victory Dec. 5 over visiting Catholic Memorial.

Winning matches were Dedick (152), by major decision, 9-1; Coleman (160), by pin in 57 seconds; Storandt (220), by pin in 54 seconds; and Larson (113), by pin in 1:18. East Troy also picked up forfeit victories at 132, 138, 106 and 120 pounds.

 
 

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