Bay Port falls one step short of team state
efBy Greg Bates
GREEN BAY – Brad Shefchik knew his team was up against a juggernaut, but until his Bay Port wrestlers hit the mat against Kaukauna, the longtime coach didn’t know his opponent’s full capacity.
The No. 5-ranked Pirates won only three matches in a 50-15 loss to No. 2 Kaukauna in a WIAA Division 1 team sectional Feb. 18 at Green Bay West High School.
Kaukauna scored a stretch of 30 consecutive points early in the match.
“We knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” Shefchik said. “There were some good matches, but Kaukauna outhustled us and were more physical in those matches we were hoping we could flip our way.”
With the victory, Kaukauna is off to state for the eighth straight season and 18th time in program history, which ties the state record for overall trips.
The Ghosts last won a state title in 2017.
“They’re solid up and down,” said Bay Port senior Max Meeuwsen. “Their lower weights, they got studs. Every wrestler they have is solid.”
Bay Port, which won its regional last weekend, had Meeuwsen up first at 285.
Meeuwsen, the top-ranked grappler in his weight class, beat Kaukauna’s Alex Ashauer by technical fall, 20-5.
The Naval Academy football commit improved to 40-0 on the season, but he wanted to pick up six points for his team instead of five.
“I was a little upset because I knew if we would have lost by one that would have been on me,” Meeuwsen said.
Bay Port’s 5-0 lead didn’t last long with Kaukauna stacked at the lower weights.
Back-to-back pins put the Ghosts up 12-5.
“We just knew our lower weights had to hang in there, and then as we got to the upper weights, we had to get the bonus points to make it swing our way,” said Meeuwsen.
At 120, Bay Port’s Tristan Warzynski stayed with Kaukauna’s Mason Campshure.
Ranked No. 2 in his class, Campshure beat Warzynski by only a 4-0 decision.
“Tristan went out there against a highly-ranked kid and was able to hold it to a decision, so that’s three points instead of six,” Shefchik said. “That’s probably as good as it was going to get in that bottom five.”
Kaukauna scored pins in its next two matches.
Bay Port’s Jacob Ward (138) held an 8-3 lead before Kaukauna’s Teaken Leon scored the final seven points to pull off a 10-8 decision.
Shefchik said he believes Ward, who was ranked No. 4 in his weight class, went out a little too fast and ran out of gas.
Down 30-9, Austin Heim provided a boost at 145.
He jumped out to a 7-1 lead over Carson Smith en route to an 11-3 major decision to make it 30-9.
“We had to stop the bleeding, so Austin came out and had some good hustle,” Shefchik said. “He needed an escape at the end to get the major and secure the four points. He’s a senior – we expect that out of him.”
Bay Port’s Chandler Stordeur trailed early against No. 4-ranked Titus Hammen in the 152 bout but sent the match to overtime.
In sudden victory, Hammen tallied a reversal as the buzzer for a 5-3 win.
Kaukauna won the next three matches – two major decisions and one pin – to take a 47-9 lead.
Bay Port’s Drake Anderson earned a forfeit at 195.
Kaukauna closed out the match with a narrow 2-1 decision by Brodie Schiedermayer over Max Hostetler.
Shefchik said the decisive loss will be motivation for next season.
“We lost by a lot of points tonight,” he said. “In the offseason, we will get bigger, stronger and faster. Our technique can always use some improvement as well.”
Now, 10 Bay Port wrestlers have the tough task of flipping the switch and concentrating on individual sectionals this Saturday.
“At the end of the day, you’ve got to be able to turn it off and use it for motivation,” Shefchik said. “We will get three good practices this week, and then it’s a whole different ball game. Individually, it doesn’t matter if you lose by one point or 10 points. You change your mindset, get refocused and we’ll be ready to go Saturday.”