Larson switches up style to grab gold

East Troy junior Tommy Larson has his hand raised after winning the state championship Saturday night at the Kohl Center. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

Sports Editor

MADISON – Sometimes, an athlete can make up for a lack of talent with certain intangibles.

Heart. Toughness. Energy.

Luckily for East Troy High School junior Tommy Larson, physical and mental traits flood every ounce of the 5-foot-9, 113-pound wrestler’s DNA.

With a heavily-bandaged shoulder severely limiting his offensive attack, Larson got up early and rode out a 2-1 victory over Seymour’s Wyatt Kaczrowski for the WIAA Division 2 state title at 113 pounds Saturday night in front of more than 10,000 rabid wrestling fans at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Larson, the D2 state champion at 106 pounds in 2018, screamed in joy after the clock hit zeroes, and the East Troy coaches jumped and pumped their fists in victory.

About two hours after his match when the championship round concluded, Larson said he will have an MRI to assess what could be serious injury.

Tommy Larson is embraced by his coaches after winning state Saturday night. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

For now, he’ll enjoy a gritty win with his family, Trojan teammates and coaches and East Troy community.

“It’s just awesome,” Larson said. “Coming off an injury in the semis, it was tough because I couldn’t really shoot. I had to come up with a different game plan, and it worked out.”

“I ended up taping it up, and it was still really painful. It was the most pain I’ve been in on the mat. It will take a little time to recover.”

Usually, Larson packs on the points, as he secured a 19-4 victory in the quarterfinals and 7-2 triumph in the semis.

By Saturday night, his shoulder was worn down, but the heady grappler adjusted his game to topple Kaczrowski (32-6).

Larson completed a dominant season with a record of 45-3.

The multi-sport athlete will participate in the pole vault track and field in the spring after healing his shoulder.

But first and foremost, his passion comes from dedicating long, at times grueling hours in the gym, honing his wrestling craft and perfecting different techniques.

Like many of his peers from the Walworth-Kenosha-Racine tri-county area, Larson travels to the Higher Learning wrestling club, a large shed-like facility located across the street from the hospital in Burlington.

“I’ve wrestled for awhile,” Larson said. “After high school practices, I go late at night and do one-on-ones (at Higher Level), and all that paid off. I love wrestling because you get what you put into it. I’ve put so much work into it, and it’s paying off.”

For now, Larson hopefully is taking a well-deserved nap.

In the summer, he will continue his passion for the sport of wrestling by competing in freestyle and Greco Roman competitions.

An injured shoulder can’t stop Larson from winning, so don’t be surprised if Larson is back atop the podium in 2020.

 

 
 

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