Oconto Falls wrestling slowly filling its gaps

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Panthers win 2, lose 1 at home meet

Dennis Wilson, Times Herald Correspondent

Oconto Falls High School’s Tyler Budz was pinned in 3 minutes, 22 seconds by Denmark’s Matt Degreef-Taicher in the 113-pound match on Thursday at Oconto Falls High School. (Photo by Dennis Wilson)

The Oconto Falls wrestling program is trying to rebuild its young team after losing eight seniors to graduation.

“We graduated all of our wrestlers from 145 (pounds) on, so we have a pretty big gap to try to replace,” tri-head coach Marc Kinziger said. “We have got some seniors that wrestled with some of the graduated wrestlers, some of whom were state qualifiers, so we’re hoping they picked up some of their better habits and are able to help move this team forward.”

They took a big step towards that return on Thursday while facing three tough schools in the North Eastern Conference Triple Dual Meet. The Panthers dropped a 52-12 decision to a strong Denmark team, rebounded with 54-18 victory over Waupaca and finished strong with a victory over Fox Valley Lutheran.

Clintonville, Freedom, Little Chute, Luxemburg-Casco, Marinette and Wrightstown also participated in the meet at Oconto Falls High School.

“We’re young and we’re trying to fill some big shoes from the past,” Kinziger said, “and it’s taking us a little while to get our feet underneath us. We were hoping that the matches tonight would get us going in the right direction.

“We went to Freedom and the Battle of the Bay and some of the guys were a little shell-shocked by the quality of wrestling in this area. So we are hoping that this tournament got them going in the right direction.”

One of the highlights of the evening was a state tournament rematch between Denmark’s Josh Frerk and Oconto Falls’ Dan Ausloos. Ausloos dropped a decision to Frerk — the second time the Viking had defeated the Panther.

The Stary brothers were a strong duo for the Panthers. Both Aiden and Noah Stary finished 3-0 on the day, with Aiden Stary participating in his first ever varsity wrestling match.

The brothers won both of their first two matches the exact same way: a 2-point victory in the first match followed by a pin.

“Noah is one of the guys that put in the work with the former state qualifiers here, so he picked up a lot of good things working with them,” Kinziger said. “Aiden is a freshman and a young guy and tonight he had to fill in a spot and did very well. The first match you could see that he was a little tentative and anxious, but he got a couple minutes into it and you could see the confidence coming over him. I like to see him develop that confidence.”

For Aiden Stary, it was important for him to get his first varsity win.

“It definitely was a tough match,” he said, “and I was able to pull out the 5-3 victory for my first victory as a varsity wrestler. I won my second match by pin, so overall, it’s been a good night.”