Panthers’ Ausloos D2 heavyweight runner-up

Oconto Falls senior makes NEC second-team

Oconto Falls High School senior Dan Ausloos, left, was pinned by Spencer/Columbus Catholic’s Logan Zschernitz in 1 minute, 3 seconds at 285 pounds to become the Division 2 runner-up at the WIAA state tournament in Madison Saturday. (Times Herald photo by Jacy Zollar)

Dan Ausloos hoped to end his Oconto Falls High School wrestling career a state champion. The senior made it just shy of that goal with a second-place finish at 285 pounds at the WIAA state tournament last weekend in Madison.

“It hurts a little bit,” Ausloos said. “I know I put the work in, but you can’t always win. Winning the championship has been a lifetime goal, so I wish I could’ve gotten that my last year, but it felt good to be back. It’s an amazing experience.”

Ausloos competed at state last year, but was pinned in the second round of the Division 2 heavyweight tournament. This year, he landed on the podium.

“It was nice to improve from last year,” he said, “but I really wish I could’ve taken it all.”

Ausloos (36-4) was pinned in 1 minute, 3 seconds in the championship match by Logan Zschernitz, of Spencer/Columbus Catholic, who placed third last year at state.

Ausloos recorded three pins leading up to the final match. The senior defeated Northwestern’s Morgan Berggren (1:25) and Evansville’s Branden Lange (1:50) to advance to the semifinal. Ausloos pinned Elkhart’s Jon Roll in 19 seconds to secure his spot in the final.

“He had a really good week,” Oconto Falls tri-head coach David Brasier said. “This didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to, but he wrestled aggressive all week and went after people and took control of matches. We would have liked to see it end differently, but he did a great job in preparing and giving it his all.”

Brasier hopes that Ausloos, who was the sole Panther to qualify for the state tourney, will be an inspiration to the other Oconto Falls wrestlers.

“It’s really great that we were able to get someone like (Ausloos) down here to represent the team,” Brasier said. “After losing a lot of our top wrestlers and having a difficult season, we want to start building the team up to get more people down here.

“To have them see the hard work he put in all season and how it paid off, it will hopefully give other wrestlers on the team the desire to put in that work and get down here themselves in next couple years.”

Ausloos also ends his career with a spot on the North Eastern Conference second-team. Teammates Jager Eisch and Noah Stary also earned second-team honors. Aiden Stary rounds out the Panthers’ all-conference accolades with an honorable mention.