There was no grand celebration or mobbing of the mat after the Oak Creek wrestlers beat their archrivals from Franklin Thursday night for the first time in six years, 40-34.
But there was a big broad smile that no one could wipe off the face of Oak Creek coach Matt Sommerville.
"It's big, there's no doubt about it," he said. "We'd been hoping to get a win over these guys for a long time now. It'd always be that we'd get them on their backs but we could never keep them there. This time, for the first time in awhile, we got them on their backs and we kept them there."
The Southeast Conference win improved the Knights to 2-0 in league match-ups while the defending dual meet champion Sabers fell to 1-1.
Franklin coach Chad Phillippi was realistic in his assessment of the match. He was working with a line-up that had graduated 14 seniors last spring and he was also handicapped by the fact that he didn't have heavyweight Kyle Orlinski available for this meet due to an injury.
"We had to move some guys around and we thought we had a shot in a few areas," he said, "but the simple thing is, we just don't have a lot of experience out there. We're all learning right now."
Someone who has learned important lessons over the last few years has been Oak Creek senior 182-pounder and returning state qualifier Josh Regazzi. He had lost five straight matches to his opponent, the Sabers' returning state qualifier Kyle Smith.
That was until tonight, when Regazzi got an early lead in the match and never let Smith get a takedown in an impressive 14-4 major decision.
"By far the match of the meet," said Sommerville. "Josh had to get over a mental block with Kyle and he did tonight. He established his offense and his technique and controlled the match from start to finish."
That win, in the fourth match of the night, made the score 12-10 in favor of Franklin. It was the beginning of a four-match win streak that put the Knights ahead for good.
Bryce Agg followed Regazzi's effort with a forfeit at 195. Phillippi tried moving up both Gavin Devine to 220 and Brian Lacina to 285, but Oak Creek's Jake Brycki at 220 (pin in 4:54) and Nick Gottfriend at 285 (pin 3:22) foiled the Sabers' plans.
By the time the run was over, Oak Creek had a 28-12 advantage. The lead would never drop below double digits again.
Sommerville was especially proud of Gottfried, one of three freshmen in his line-up this night.
"We've got a great freshmen class," he said. "They're not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the upperclassmen in the (practice) room. They all wrestled tough."
Earning wins for Franklin were Dan Peyer at 160 (pin 5:36), freshman Marcus Grimm at 170 (pin 2:00), Xianou Xiong at 106 (pin 5:50), Casey Clapper at 113 (14-7 decision), Jon Kramschuster at 126 (5-0), Colin DeClark at 138 (pin 1:32) and Roman Stiff at 145 (15-5 major decision).
"We've still got some experienced kids looking forward to big things," said Phillippi, "but with the younger kids, we as coaches have a lot of things we need to work on."
Phillippi praised the work of Stiff, Grimm and Xiong.
Others earning victories for the Knights included Derrick McCallister at 152 (pin 3:23), Seth LaBodda at 120 (pin 1:14), and Alex Ferreria at 132 (pin 3:31).
It was all part of a great night, said Sommerville.
"I think we may have gotten them once in a tourney (since 2005), but that was about it," he said. "It just didn't happen very often."
"We knew they had had a lot of seniors last year and that we had a good senior class coming up ourselves. We knew it was a good opportunity, a good shot. We had the guys in the right spots, and with the right match-ups.
"...This felt good tonight."
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