Pewaukee and Arrowhead traveled to Kaukauna on Jan. 6 and 7 for one of Wisconsin's most highly anticipated wrestling tournaments, the Cheesehead. Against some of the best teams and wrestlers in the country, there were a number of standouts from PHS and AHS.
For the Pirates, heavyweight Blaze Beltran advanced all the way to the finals against two-time Cadet World Champion Gable Steveson from Apple Valley in Minnesota. Steveson handed Beltran his first defeat since last year's Cheesehead with a pin in 2 minutes, 36 seconds.
Steveson pinned all six of his opponents, but Beltran was the only wrestler to take Steveson to the second round. Beltran, who had four pins at the tournament, advanced to the finals without surrendering any points aside from escapes.
"It’s a very difficult thing to understand how someone can be this good," Pewaukee coach Ed Kurth said of Steveson. "Yet what was most impressive was how excited Blaze was to get a chance to face Steveson and the class with which he handled the loss."
Jacob Raschka, who won last year at the Cheesehead, faced the tournament's toughest competition at 195. In the semifinals, Raschka, who is ranked No. 9 in the nation by InterMat, faced off with Daniel Kerkvleit of Simley in Minnesota. Kerkvleit was ranked 10th by InterMat and gave Raschka his first loss in nearly two years by an 11-4 decision. Kerkvleit went on to defeat the No. 2-ranked wrestler in the nation at 195, Patrick Brucki of Carl Sandburg in Illinois, in the Cheesehead finals and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Wrestler.
Raschka beat Arizona state champion Chad Porter of Desert Vista in the third-place match, 4-3. Raschka led, 3-1, late in the match but Porter scored a takedown with 7 seconds left.
"Many wrestlers would put their head down here and wait to try scoring the winning takedown in overtime, but Raschka kept moving and escaped immediately to win the match, 4-3," Kurth said.
Raschka's pin in his fourth match at the Cheesehead gave him 171 career victories, which surpassed the Pewaukee school record of 170, set by 2009 graduate David Phillips.
Jacob Sklenar took eighth at 182, and Eric Halverson finished 10th at 126. Brandon Berg (220) was also 10th.
Pewaukee came in 16th out of 31 teams, which was a great improvement after being in 26th after the first day of competition.
Wrestlers fare well for AHS
For Arrowhead at the Cheesehead, freshman Keegan O'Toole (113) had the best finish with a fifth-place showing. O'Toole scored a 3-0 win in the fifth-place match.
At 120, Dominic Dentino was ninth. Josh Otto (145) and Kelvin Yde (152) were 10th.
SJNMA travels to Red Knight Invite
At Milwaukee Lutheran's Red Knight Invitational on Jan. 7, the St. John's Northwestern Military Academy/Brookfield Academy wrestling team was sixth out of 16 teams with 97 points. Wisconsin Lutheran claimed the invite title with 227.5 points.
Aidan Medora won the 132-pound championship by a 7-2 decision in the finals. Medora is 20-1 overall.
Lucas Koppenhofer placed second at 113. Matt Grotkiewicz came in fourth (285) and Ben Tanke finished sixth (106).