The mix of old and new talent on the Oak Creek wrestling is proving potent and combustible as the two-time Southeast Conference champions roll into the heart of the season with tremendous momentum.
It was on full display on Jan. 16 when they showed great up-top firepower with five individual titles and tremendous depth throughout their lineup as they overpowered the Brookfield Central Lancer Invitational field for the second year in a row.
'I was nervous going in,' said Knight coach Matt Sommerville, 'because we had so many freshmen in the line-up. It was a little nerve-wracking, but the kids did so well. I was actually shocked at how well some of them did.'
The Knights, who also belted Kenosha Tremper on Jan. 14 to improve to 5-0 in Southeast Conference duals, will look to earn their third Homestead Scramble title in a row, when that meet is held at 4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22. Battle-tested Menomonee Falls, a WIAA state team tourney qualifier in 2013 and 2014, will be a major challenger for Oak Creek.
But the Knights are testing themselves everyday in their practice sessions, Sommerville said.
'Our room is so tough,' he said. 'The guys our guys are seeing everyday are sometimes better than a lot of them will see until the state tournament. That's a great help because all the guys are working together. They know they have to get better, it's the only way they can go.'
And they were the only team left at the top in Brookfield on Jan. 16 as they overpowered the 12-team field with 236.5 points as Tremper was a distant second with 188.
Earning individual titles were Mitch Landgraf at 113 pounds (25-2 overall), Matt Berlin at 120 (27-2), Joey Colla at 132 (12-4), Andrew McIntosh at 138 (25-3) and Ross Agg at 195 (25-2).
The veteran Landgraf pinned Beaver Dam, Tremper and Plymouth opponents en route to his title. He is ranked seventh in the state in his class by Wisconsin Wrestling Online. Meanwhile, the fourth-ranked Berlin remained red-hot, pinning Fort Atkinson, Plymouth, Muskego and Kettle Moraine opponents before overpowering Beaver dam's Deven De Los Angeles, 9-4, in in the finals. De Los Angeles came into the final with a 25-2 record.
'Matt is on a roll,' said Sommerville of Berlin. 'He is beating just one great kid after another. That final wasn't even close. He is just a man on a mission.'
The freshman Colla was a tremendous surprise, winning by decision over Kettle Moraine, Tremper, Plymouth and Kettle Moraine opponents. He did not give up a point all day.
'He was seeded low, but he has great ability and he's really starting to put it all together,' said Sommerville. 'He's just solid in all positions. Sometimes freshmen don't believe they can win on this level, but he's shown he can.'
McIntosh, another veteran, remained solid, pinning Catholic Memorial and Beaver Dam foes before winning major decisions over Fort Atkinson and Muskego. He is ranked fifth in his class.
Meanwhile, the second-ranked Agg remains virtually untouchable, pinning Kettle Moraine, Beaver Dam and Catholic Memorial opponents.
'Ross is in a really good frame of mind right now,' Sommerville said.
Making strong moves this day with second place finishes were Nolan Parr at 160 (4-1, 17-9), Ethan Kaschak at 170 (3-1, 24-5) and John Wright at 182 (4-1, 20-10). Parr is a freshman and Wright a sophomore, and both have tremendous potential and a lot of confidence right now, Sommerville said.
Other efforts included Isaiah Robinson at 126 (fourth, 15-9), Jesse Kovnesky at 152 (third, 20-6) and Enrique Acevedo at 220 (fourth, 11-6).