The Pewaukee wrestlers are headed back to team state after a three-year hiatus, and they left no doubt they belong there.
The Pirates did everything right in Tuesday night's Division 2 team sectional championship at PHS, taking 12 of 14 matches in the finals en route to a 56-9 blowout of East Troy .
"It's a great feeling," 138-pound senior Garrett Shibilski said. "Words can't explain it. Going out with a bang is something we set out to do this season and we're doing it. It's awesome."
Shibilski bumped up to 145 pounds in both the semi against Sheboygan Falls and the finals match and came away with two wins to move to 35-8. His final matchup with East Troy's Zack Lamb proved to be one of few tense moments for the Pirates.
Trailing 4-3 in the third period, Shibilski pushed the tempo and kept attacking Lamb, forcing two stalling calls in the final 30 seconds. The second stall forced overtime, where Shibilski appeared to score the winning takedown but couldn't gain control as time expired.
Lamb escaped in the first 30 seconds of double overtime, but Shibilski blocked a leg ride and scored a reversal for a thrilling 6-5 win in his turn on bottom.
"I always do standups," Shibilski said. "He kept putting a leg in. I was able to catch it, and I knew what to do from there because we always practice that. I got a block and reversed him. Great feeling."
Pewaukee freshman phenom Jacob Raschka also moved up to 160 for the final and earned a decision over East Troy's Jeremy Dedick for his 40th win of the season.
Not only did the Pirates win big, they even lost effectively. In the final's opening match at 113 pounds, Pewaukee's Brett Danner trailed East Troy standout Cody Vogel by nine points in the last 20 seconds. Danner scrapped to the end and earned a takedown in the final seconds to salvage a team point.
The Pirates wouldn't need those precious points tonight, but head coach Ed Kurth wasn't expecting that and thought the effort set the tone for the final.
"We've lost to Sheboygan Falls to go to state in 2007," he said. "We lost to East Troy in '06. This is the first time since '02 that the team hosting the team sectional won the team sectional, so it's a tough thing to do. I can't believe we did this well against these high quality teams."
The Pirates disposed of Falls almost as easily, 42-17. East Troy advanced to the final with a 39-28 win over Kewaskum.
"We thought going in, we matched up better with East Troy," Kurth said. "So when they won, that was a pretty good sign for us. The assistant coaches really had these guys ready for this night."
Picking up pins for the Pirates were seniors Joe Porter at 120 and Jake Paget at 170, and junior Jacob Becker at 182. Becker's pin clinched the team state berth for Pewaukee. With the outcome decided, East Troy forfeited at 195, 285 and 103.
Senior Jake Roseland (220), junior Jason Berg (152) and Porter avenged bitter weekends at the individual regional, where all narrowly missed advancing their individual seasons.
"Those guys came through with big wins tonight," Kurth said. "They're probably still grieving about Saturday and they played a big part in this. Top-to-bottom, it was an electric night."
Pewaukee improved to 4-2 in team sectional finals, and Kurth is 6-2 dating back to his time with Milwaukee Pulaski. The Pirates face Wittenberg-Birnamwood on March 8 at 10 a.m. in the team state semifinal at the Kohl Center in Madison. But first, they have 11 of 14 weights qualified for the individual sectional on Saturday. The top three in each class will advance to individual state, also in Madison from Feb. 27 to March 1.
"We've stayed strong," Kurth said. "We ran into some tough teams the last few years, but we are going back to state, and I miss going to team state, I miss this experience. If these kids didn't go, they would have been the first once since 2008 not to experience team state. They knew they had to have it, and I think that was part of it."
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