Tourtilott ends state run, hungry for the podium

Junior gets pinned in wrestleback

Photo by Adam Bieber Shawano Community High School junior Sam Tourtilott was pinned by Oak Creek junior Nolan Paar (45-4) in 1 minute, 46 seconds in the wrestleback on Friday to end his run at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament in Madison.

Shawano’s Sam Tourtilott ended his state run with a loss in the wrestleback on Friday, but the junior is glad he got a taste of the WIAA Division 1 experience in Madison.

“It was a lot more exciting than I could have imagined,” Tourtilott said. “Seeing all those people excited for me and having my teammates there cheering me on was really awesome.

“The nerves were very high when I first got there, and then I started warming up and the nerves went away. But the excitement was there through the whole time.”

Tourtilott was pinned by Oak Creek junior Nolan Paar (45-4) in 1 minute, 46 seconds in the 170 pound wrestleback on Friday.

“The match started off very well for us,” Shawano head coach Mike Homan said. “Sam had a nice takedown in the first period and he rode the kid out for the rest of the period. Sam was up 2-0 going into the second, and (Paar) chose down to start and got his hips turned and was able to get his legs around Sam, and it was a tough spot for Sam to get out of.”

Tourtilott (21-16) fell in the first round to Sparta senior Hayden Krein (41-6) before the wresleback. Tourtilott said he was able to bounce back after the loss to Krein, but his second loss stung.

“Against (Krein), I was ready to go and everything but he’s just a very tough wrestler,” Tourtilott said. “After that round I felt pretty okay because I knew there might be another shot for me in the wrestleback. The second round hit me though, because I knew that was it. I wanted to get on the podium bad and just couldn’t do it this year.”

“I think it meant a lot to Sam to have this opportunity,” Homan said. “He was disappointed after the second round and you could see the pain. You could see that it hurt for him to lose that one, and so we talked after about things he can do going into next year to get back here as long as he wants to put in the work.

“Sam can wrestle anyone on his feet, but there are just other small areas that he needs to clean up to be able to go up against the best wrestlers in the state here.”

The junior, who had his first experience at state this year, plans to wrestle inside the Kohl Center again next year.

“I’m determined to make the podium next year,” Tourtilott said. “I know what it takes to get here, and I know the things I need to do next year.”

“I told him to make it as a junior, it’s kind of the icing on the cake,” Homan said, “because he’s getting a taste of it now and he knows what that floor is like to wrestle on. He knows what to expect now.”

Tourtilott’s experience in Madison was also critical for the rest of the Shawano team that traveled to support him.

“Having a young roster, I think it was really important to get those kids down here,” Homan said. “Many of them haven’t seen a state tournament before and a lot of them had some lost goals this season, so it was good for them to see the level of competition so that they can make the necessary adjustments next year if they want a chance to make it to the tournament. We’ve got a lot of potential in this program, and it’s great that they all got a taste of state this year.”