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Grafton's Nick Rapp waited three years for a trip to the WIAA Division 2 State Wrestling Tournament and Ellis Pfleger made it on his first try.

Both Black Hawk competitors will now compete at the Kohl Center in Madison.

Rapp (31-11) finished second at 170 pounds in a sectional meet Feb. 18 at Milwaukee Lutheran and Pfleger (25-11) took third place at 126 pounds.

Rapp qualified for sectional competition in each of his three years in high school and finally broke through as a junior.

"I think all that experience helped him," coach Mike Dodge said. "Just to get (to sectional) is an experience in itself and you learn that you just have to win one match at a time and you'll be good. He has had some close matches at the sectional over the years."

Rapp pinned Matt Hanke of Lomira in 1 minute, 47 seconds in the semifinals, and after losing by a pin in the title match, he advanced to state by rule over Hanke.

He will meet Matt Verhasselt of Freedom (32-10) at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, in his first match. The winner takes on Stephen Buchanan of Neillsville (41-4) at 11:15 a.m. Friday, Feb. 24.

Pfleger becomes the first freshman to qualify for state in Dodge's coaching tenure. He lost in his semifinal but came back with decisions of 11-5 and 8-5 to qualify for state.

"He won two tough decisions," Dodge said. "He shows poise and determination. He also spends a lot of time in the offseason with wrestling."

Pfleger challenges Mitch Garvey of Freedom (31-10) in his first match and the winner faces Dustin Hatfield of River Valley (38-0) in the next round.

Grafton's other sectional entry, Alec Davis at 195 pounds, took fourth place.

"I could not have asked for better performances out of all three guys," Dodge said. "They were focused, they went after it and they were all confident."

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