LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

There have been other great wrestlers in Oak Creek school history, including Joe Aperi, still the only WIAA state champion from 1992, and Kyle Wey, a four-time state qualifier who graduated in 2010.

But current Knight seniors Andrew McIntosh and Ross Agg don't have to take a backseat to anyone. The pair have set a very high bar for a very talented group of youngsters coming up the pipeline for Oak Creek. They earned two of the three medals the Knights claimed in an impressive effort at last weekend's WIAA state individual tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.

McIntosh finished second at 138 pounds to lead the way, joining Wey as the only other four-time state tournament qualifier in school history.

He was not on any state youth radar coming into high school, but by dint of hard work and talent, turned himself into the school's all-time wins leader at 146-35, having also earned a fifth-place state medal as a sophomore.

'I think the program has a very bright future,' McIntosh said. 'They have a lot of potential to pass what we've done, and they're all further ahead of where we were when we were their age. I think they'll achieve much for Oak Creek.'

Agg finished fourth at 195 pounds, his second straight year of placing at that weight after a third-place effort in 2015. He took a little time to grow into his big body after he came into high school as a large kid, but he quickly learned to make his size and skill his trusted ally.

This future hopeful DNR warde will continue wrestling at UW-Stevens Point, having learned from previous Knight greats like Ben Hakes and Elijah Paez. He is hoping to pass down lessons to the likes of freshman 160-pound state qualifier Nolan Paar, who picked up great experience last weekend.

Agg finished with an impressive 115-31 career mark.

'It was all kind of bittersweet,' he said. 'I didn't get the things I wanted out of the state meet. I just didn't wrestle up to my standards, but I was very happy to have placed twice.

'I was also happy to be on a team that had a lot of pride and also had a lot of fun. We just got along so well. There were a lot of good team dynamics, a lot of positive chemistry.'

They and fellow senior state qualifiers Isaiah Robinson at 126 (1-2 at state, 31-13 on the season and 125-33 for his career, including three state tournament berths) and Ethan Kaschak at 170 (1-2 at state and 39-10 this season including his first state berth) will leave a clear path of success for those who follow, including junior 113-pound sixth-place finisher Mitch Landgraf.

'They all worked hard to get there,' said Knight coach Matt Sommerville. 'None of them were blown out of the water (at state). We were looking for kids to compete, and they did.'

The staggeringly successful trip to Madison, which also included freshman Joey Colla at 132 (0-1, 25-11) and Paar at 160 (0-1, 30-14), closed out another excellent season for the Knights. They finished ninth of close to 90 teams that had qualified individuals to state in the unofficial team standings with 40 points.

McIntosh (44-5), as noted, led the way as he joined 2015 graduate Ben Hakes as a state tourney finalist.

He came into the tournament the top-ranked competitor in his class, but as he said before, the pressure of high expectations is just something you have to embrace and work with.

He outlasted an Arrowhead opponent, 3-1, in the first round and then edged a Hortonville foe, in the second round before beating Kaukauna's Zach Lee, 6-1, in the semifinals. Those efforts landed him in the finals with third-ranked Garrett Model of Stoughton (48-6).

It was 2-2 in the third period when McIntosh took a shot, but Lee quickly countered getting a takedown and a two-point nearfall, which was enough to win the match, 6-2.

Sommerville said that technically, McIntosh did nothing wrong.

'That's what we wanted to do, get after him on our feet,' Sommerville said. 'Andrew executed the game plan perfectly. We're not going to let the color of the medal define who he is. Sometimes winning or losing is a matter of an inch or two here or there ... this is a kid who's done everything we've asked of him every single time.

'It's more than anyone could ask.'

McIntosh was grateful for the opportunity.

'Ross and I both wanted a little higher (at state),' he said, 'but we were grateful to have each other as teammates. We were grateful to have such great people around us.'

Agg downed DeForest (6-3) and Waterford (9-2) opponents to land in the semifinals before falling to eventual runner-up Dalton Hahn of Reedsburg (47-2) by a 5-3 count. He then came back to beat a Janesville Parker foe, 8-5, in the consolation semifinals before falling to the same DeForest opponent he had beaten before in the third-place bout (7-3).

'He had a lot of credentials when he came into high school,' said Sommerville of Agg, '... And he got significantly better over the course of three years.'

Sommerville was also very pleased for Landgraf, who went 3-3 over the three-day tourney to claim his sixth and finish 46-5 for the year.

Sommerville was also happy for two other seniors, Robinson and Kaschak, as they closed out their careers on very high notes.

'Isaiah saved his best wrestling for last, and Ethan, who only came out as a sophomore, used a tremendous work ethic to get this far,' Sommerville said.

And as noted, the future is bright as, though the team loses big up-top senior leadership such as McIntosh, Robinson and Agg as well as 285-pounder Jordan Garivey, there is much talent returning, including state-ranked Matt Berlin, whose failed skin test prevented him from wrestling in the state series

Sommerville said the freshmen unit is very deep with great potential.

Even with all this success, Sommerville said there are still things to be worked on. He said from a technical aspect the Knights have to get far better at getting off the bottom. Then there is still the matter of finally earning that elusive state team tourney berth that has evaded them in these three Southeast Conference championship seasons.

'It was a good season, very nice,' he said. 'You always think of the individual tournament as the pinnacle, but the coaches want to get to team state. It would be fun to get there.'