Somerset sophs beaten in first chance at state wrestling
Somerset sophomores Tyler LeRoy and Justin Neumann were defeated in their first attempt at the WIAA State Wrestling Championships.
Somerset coach Mike Kappers is guessing this won't be their last chance to wrestle at the state level.
"I know it will make them hungry for next year," Kappers said of the first round losses at state. By losing in the opening round, they were eliminated from the state tournament. They each reached state by finishing in third place in their weight class at the Somerset Division 3 sectional, LeRoy at 112 pounds and Neumann at 189 pounds.
LeRoy was beaten by Mo Malone of Amherst 9-2. Malone kept winning, reaching the 112-pound championship match, where he was defeated by Chris Clister of Wrightstown 9-1.
LeRoy actually got the first takedown against Malone. Malone was then able to quickly escape from LeRoy. Malone then got a five-point move in, giving him a 6-2 lead by the end of the first period. Malone was able to milk that lead for the 9-2 win.
Neumann opened the tournament against Dustin Bollant of Iowa-Grant, who'd also qualified for state the previous year. Bollant was a physical, muscular wrestler who didn't give Neumann much room to maneuver. Bollant was able to pin Neumann in the final seconds of the opening period.
Bollant went on to finish fifth at 189 pounds in Division 3.
Kappers said both sophomores were a bit tentative in their first exposure to state.
"I wasn't disappointed in how they wrestled, we're very pleased they went as far as they did," he said.
The Spartans graduate three seniors, but they also return a strong nucleus for next season.
"I see really good things for next year," Kappers predicted. "The rest of the guys are really picking it up."