Roller Finishes Record Breaking Season With Second Place Finish At State!
FOR ANTIGO TIMES
Nick Roller’s incredible senior season came to an end Saturday evening with a strong runner up finish at the WIAA state tournament. For the second year in a row, Antigo wrestling was represented in the state finals, an accomplishment that hasn’t happened since 1983/1984 when John Frederickson was able to secure his spot in the finals in back to back years (Randy Zirple also was in the finals in 1983 with Frederickson).
As third year head coach Ben Olsen mentioned at the send off for the state bound wrestlers, this is becoming a tradition. In the past three years, Antigo has qualified 5 individuals for the state tournament. Having a pair of qualifiers in back to back years hasn’t happened since 2001 / 2002. Josh Heuss is eager for next season to start, already chomping at the bit for another opportunity to compete in Madison, and the coaching staff is excited to see who is able to make the journey with him.
As for Roller, he met with long time rival, and defending state champion, Jake Rau in the finals Saturday evening. Roller was doing a fantastic job of executing his game plan, until Rau was able to secure a takedown with 12 seconds left in the first period, and take a 2-0 lead into the second.
After Roller deferred the choice of position to the third period, Rau elected to start on the bottom. Despite some tough riding by Roller, Rau was able to secure a reversal 35 seconds into the round, and was able to continue riding tough to take a 4-0 lead into the third period.
In the third period, Rau was able to capitalize on an aggressive takedown attempt by Roller, but Roller was able to escape and cut the lead to 6-1. Roller was then able to secure a takedown of his own, and just missed on near fall with a couple of cradle attempts. Down 6-3, Roller gave Rau the escape knowing he needed to score some big points on the feet. With 28 seconds to go, Roller went for a big takedown, and came up just short. Rau was able to secure the victory by pinfall at 5:38. Rau won his second state championship in a row, finishing with a 38-2 record.
Roller finishes the season at 45-6, with 37 of those victories coming by pinfall. Nick now has the most victories ever in a season (Brandon Lucht, Ben Stimac, and Jason Hohensee were tied at 42 previously), and he also has the most pin fall victories in a season (Collinn Eldridge previously had 30). With the strong senior season, Roller also joined the 100-win club, finishing his career with 103 victories.
The Antigo Wrestling team would like to thank everyone that made the journey down to Madison to cheer for Nick and Josh, and if the past few years are any indicator, we look forward to doing it all again next February.