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Kaukauna Wrestlers Take Down Iowa Foes

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CEDAR RAPIDS Jeff Matczak said 11 hours on the road and an overnight stay off Collins Road was worth every second.

The Kaukauna (Wis.) High School wrestling coach said he wants to return, if his Galloping Ghosts are invited again.

"We like to travel when we can," said Matczak, noting the Galloping Ghosts have travelled all over the region for renown tournaments like The Clash in Rochester, Minn., Walsh Ironman in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, The Dvorak Memorial Invitational in Machesney Park, Ill., and host their own highly regarded tournament called The Cheesehead. "Any time we get to expose our kids to the best programs in the Midwest we are up for it."

Add Iowa to the list now that they are toting a championship trophy back home. Kaukauna beat three highly-ranked Iowa teams, scoring a win in the final match to edge Linn-Mar, 33-32, in the finals of the Five Season Duals tournament Saturday at Cedar Rapids Washington. Cedar Rapids Prairie beat Bettendorf for third in a bracket filled with close duals.

The Galloping Ghosts, top-ranked in Wisconsin's Division I class, handled defending 1A state champ and top-ranked Alburnett in the second round before a come-from-behind semifinal win over Bettendorf.

"We felt like we could wrestle with these teams," Matczak said. "We knew Bettendorf pretty well from coming up to the Cheesehead. We thought we could match up with them a little bit this year.

"We have a really nice balanced lineup. I guess that's a credit of our program right now."

Each team won seven matches, but Kaukauna scored three falls and claimed a forfeit at heavyweight. The points that were not allowed made a difference, saving three points by avoiding pins at 113 and 120. Robert Lee claimed a 5-0 win over Manny Jeffery in the final bout at 138.

"Those afforded Robert the ability at the end," Matczak said. "He was able to go out there and wrestle a safe match and come home with a win."

The Lions opened strong with major decisions by Toby Northrup and Ross Lembeck at 145 and 152 for an 8-0 team lead. Back-to-back pins by Andrew Holladay (195) and Sam Nowak (220) put the Lions ahead again, 20-15.

Linn-Mar dominated in match points, especially from their feet. The Lions had twice as many takedowns (26-13) as Kaukauna. They outscored the Galloping Ghosts 91-48 in the 13 contested matches.

"We just tried to dominate on our feet," Lembeck said. "We tried to score as many points as we could."

Noah Ajram, who returned to the Lions lineup, scored a 13-0 major decision at 113, and Alijah Jeffery (120) followed with a 15-0 technical fall in just 3:13, putting up 29-27. After Tres Leon knocked off former state champion Matt Wempen, 6-4, the Galloping Ghosts led by a point.

Damon Griffin used a third-period escape and takedown for a 3-1 decision at 132, which set up the decisive contest.

Lembeck hadn't heard of Kaukauna, but immediately respected them for the win over Bettendorf.

"We thought we would try and take it to them," said No. 1-ranked Lembeck, who beat Prairie's second-ranked Trey Blaha for the second time in three days. "We could have taken advantage of a couple matches a little more, but it's just the way it came out. I thought we wrestled pretty good today."

Linn-Mar Coach Doug Streicher said the Lions wrestled tough, dropping 2A power West Delaware, 39-35, in the quarterfinals and Prairie, 40-29, in the semifinals that avenged a loss just two days ago. The earlier-season tests are a good gauge for Streicher and the Lions.

"These types of dual meets do it for you," Streicher said. "It is character-building.

"I learned they will go out there and battle. We gave up too many bonus points but we get a lot of them, too."

Prairie finished 3-1 in the tournament, losing only to Linn-Mar. The Hawks beat Bettendorf, 39-35, never trailing after grabbing a 17-15 lead after six matches. A major decision from Zack Fiser at 126 and a pin from Seth Wennermark (132) sealed Prairie's victory.

West Delaware was fifth, beating Iowa City West, 37-29, in the final round. Alburnett placed seventh, going 2-2.

For full results, go to and search for Five Seasons Duals 2013.


At C.R. Washington

Kaukauna (Wis.) 33, Linn-Mar 32

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

145 pounds Toby Northrup (LM) major dec. Bailey VanHandel, 16-7 (8, 0); 152 Ross Lembeck (LM) major dec. Evan Hietpas, 18-6 (7, 0); 160 Justin Kloehn (K) dec. Shea Hartzler, 3-1 (1, 0); 170 Zach Shukoski (K) pinned Beau Oberbroeckling, 1:31 (1, 0); 182 Trent Trull (K) pinned Joe Gallo, 3:10 (5, 0); 195 Andrew Holladay (LM) pinned Tyler Holzschuh, 4:57 (3, 1); 220 Sam Nowak (LM) pinned Alex Martin, 1:35 (1, 0); Hwt. Will Rossum (K) won by forfeit; 106 Trent Leon (K) pinned Charlie Petersen, 1:07 (1, 0); 113 Noah Ajram (LM) major dec. Ty Lee, 13-0 (3, 0); 120 Alijah Jeffery (LM) tech. fall Ian Gioacchini, 15-0 (2, 0); 126 Tres Leon (K) dec. Matt Wempen, 6-4 (2, 1); 132 Damon Griffin (LM) dec. Kolten Jansen, 3-2 (1, 0); 138 Robert Lee (K) dec. Manny Jeffery, 5-0 (2, 0).


Takedowns Linn-Mar 26, Kaukauna 13; Reversals Linn-Mar 2, Kaukauna 1; Escapes Linn-Mar 8, Kaukauna 18; Nearfall points Linn-Mar 24, Kaukauna 2; Penalty points (awarded) Linn-Mar 3, Kaukauna 0. Total match points Linn-Mar 91, Kaukauna 48.

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