MADISON — Waterloo junior Juan Alonso won on his feet, but lost on the mat.
Alonso (38-8) scored the opening takedown against Manawa senior Colten Klemm (39-7) just 19 seconds into the first period in a Division 3 first round match at 120 pounds, but was reversed to his back and gave up a two-point near fall.
He managed to tie the match with a reversal with 16 seconds left in the period, then deferred choice to start the second period and Klemm chose down. Klemm quickly reversed Alonso and stacked his shoulders for the pin at 2 minutes, 19 seconds.
“We came out, talked about it this week, having that underdog mentality,” Waterloo wrestling coach Thurston Schuster said. “We saw on film, we knew we had to get to that sweep single and it worked for that first takedown. Unfortunately, we got put to our back when we gave up a reversal, and in the scramble, our leg got caught and we got pinned.
“But I think that’s a kid we can compete with. I think we know that. It’s a little disappointing, but it’s a great experience just to be up here, get that first match out of the way and look forward to our senior year.”
Alonso didn’t get a chance to wrestle on his high school’s mat, which served as Mat 5 on the opening night of the tournament. But for the second straight season, a wrestler wearing Waterloo’s singlet ended the season competing at the Kohl Center.
“It was a little weird,” Alonso said. “I have never been on such a big stage before. I haven’t wrestled anybody like that, who just rolls around. It was a first time experience. That (takedown) was the plan and we were practicing that all week.
“It was a great experience. Hopefully, we will be back here next year with more teammates this time.”