To Menomonee Falls wrestling coach Jim McMahon, a WIAA regional meet is a lot like a roller-coaster ride.
So many exhilarating up moments and then so many moments that make you reach for the Pepto.
You end up waiting for that moment where you can just be still and wait for your stomach to settle.
On Feb. 11 at the regional the Indians hosted, that moment did not occur until after the final wrestleback round and after beleaguered 285-pounder Logan Fallon salvaged his day with a pin in the fourth-place wrestleback to seal his individual sectional berth and finally close the door on Falls' fourth regional title in five years.
It was also Falls' fourth major meet title in its last five outings this winter.
"To win a championship like that, we knew it would be close," McMahon said. "There are so many opportunities (to close things out) but things never go the way they're supposed to. You rebound, you get knocked off and then you come back."
The comeback netted the Indians an opportunity at their fourth WIAA State Team Tournament berth in five years as they take on Nicolet out of the North Shore Conference on Tuesday, Feb. 14, in the WIAA Team Sectional dual meet at Pewaukee. The winner of that meet advances to the state team tournament in Madison, March 3 and 4.
In addition, the Indians will send 11 wrestlers to the WIAA individual sectional. The top two in each weight class will advance to the individual state meet Feb. 23-25 in Madison.
Qualifying for the individual sectional were Ethan Pogorzelski at 106 (39-6), Alec Lind at 113 (28-17), Matt Anderson at 120 (42-4), Austin Lasanske at 126 (39-6), Eric Wunsch at 132 (37-5), Noah Dakouras at 138 (34-11), Kevin Staron at 145 (11-9), Josh McMahon at 160 (33-9), Donald Eruchalu at 195 (30-9), Brandon Schaefer at 220 (10-1) and Fallon at 285 (37-8).
Wunsch is a returning state finalist and Lasanske will go for his third state tournament berth.
It's a veteran group, said McMahon, and he's been impressed at the way his athletes have been able to hold up.
"There's a lot of pressure on the kids," he said. "After the meet last night, we went through the scoring and almost everyone did what they were supposed to."
Fallon didn't have the day he was thinking he would have, as he surprisingly lost to Oconomowoc (pin) and Arrowhead wrestlers (decision) and was faced with a wrestleback for fourth just to qualify himself for the sectional. More importantly, a win by him in the final match of the tourney would seal the team victory over Woodland Conference champ Pewaukee.
He then went out and stuck Hamilton's Alex Manojlovic in 3:51 to secure the berth and the team title. Fallon's day was compounded by a bad bloody nose that had to be taped up and then secured by wrapping more tape around his head.
"He got the pin; that's all that mattered to him," said McMahon.
That win allowed Falls to ease past Pewaukee, 232.5-229.5, for the team title as Arrowhead was third with 206.5. Pewaukee won every weight class from 170 through 285 to put pressure on Falls after the Indians built a lead in the earlier rounds.
Other final wrestleback wins that helped the Indians included Anderson at 120, who secured his second-place position with an 11-3 major decision over 2016 state meet qualifier Cooper Hunt of Homestead, Kevin Staron at 145 (pin over Pewaukee opponent at 0:26 for fourth), and Schaefer at 220 (9-1 major decision over Oconomowoc opponent for second).
McMahon was very pleased for Staron, a senior role player who filled in strong when needed.
"We're just super happy for him," said McdMahon. "We've known him since second grade and Little League. He was also out three weeks being sick, but here he came back and was able to contribute."
Winning individual titles were Pogorzelski with a critical, 4-2 overtime decision over a Pewaukee wrestler in the 106 final and Lasanske, who pinned a Hamilton opponent (1:20) in the final at 126. Falls lost seven tough finals decisions as Lind, Anderson, Wunsch, Dakouras, Josh McMahon, Eruchalu and Schaefer all took second.
But the Indians' depth came through.
"It was very gratifying," said Coach McMahon. "In our team meeting, I told them over and over again how proud of them I was for their commitment and effort. There are a lot of things you can't predict, but this team has hung together and done whatever it's needed to."