February 15 Regionals

By Joe Shinners

            Contrary to some media reports that focused on an altercation between two unruly parents in the stands at a conference tournament, most of the action in the Southeast was focused on the mat and several historic runs were made this season.

            Three wrestlers completed the career sweep and won their fourth conference title, the Woodland Conference continued to be the top dual meet team in the area and the Little Ten Conference quietly emerged from a two-year drought to have the area’s top individual talent and surprisingly a pair of representatives in the team sectional finals.

            Menomonee Falls senior Bill Holz (39-4) won his fourth title at the Greater Metro Conference meet when he defeated West Allis Central junior Tyus White (32-5), the 106-pound D1 state champion a year ago, by a 6-2 decision in the 120 final at West Allis Central.

            Holz won the 106 GMC title as a freshman and the 120 title as a sophomore and junior.

            While Holz was making history, the West Allis Central Bulldogs were reclaiming the top spot in the league.

Central swept the league dual meet title for the first time in two years and added its first conference tournament title since 2011.

The Bulldogs sent nine wrestlers to the finals and four wrestlers win individual titles and winning the team title by scoring 251 points.

            Central needed each title as defending tournament champion Menomonee Falls sent six wrestlers to the finals. Menomonee Falls came away with three champions and finished second with 237 points. West Allis Hale finished third with 173.5 points.

Two GMC wrestlers finished the regional level with undefeated records: West Allis Central senior Tere White (37-0 at 126) and Brookfield East senior Josh Dempsey (34-0 at 160).

In the North Shore, the Cedarburg Bulldogs also celebrated a four-time champion and a sweep of the league dual title, the tournament title and its first team sectional appearance.

Cedarburg senior Jason Ipsarides (43-0) defeated Homestead senior Connor Scholtus by a 10-2 major decision to win the 152 title at the North Shore Conference meet to join Holz in the four-timer club.

Ipsarides won the 132 title in 2012, the 138 title in 2013 and the 145 title a year ago.

Homestead senior Gage Zupke (23-0 at 195) and Germantown junior Zach Szohr (25-0 at 106) were the only other North Shore wrestlers to finish the regional level with undefeated records.

The year also proved there’s a lot more in the Wisconsin Little Ten than Hartford’s dominant junior Beau Breske (42-0), who made waves as no other area wrestler can simply by picking a weight class (170) to wrestle at during the state tournament series.

West Bend East senior Jordan Gundrum (42-0) was the final four-timer this year and he accomplished the feat by winning the 160 title by pinning Oconomowoc senior Nathan Haines in the final in 1:51 at the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference meet at Oconomowoc.

Gundrum won the 126 title in 2012, the 145 title in 2013 and the 160 title a year ago.

            Wisconsin Lutheran and Oconomowoc each finished 6-1 in the league in dual meets thanks in part to Hartford’s late-season improvement.

            Hartford shocked Wisconsin Lutheran, 36-33, in the final dual of the year to kept Lutheran from sweeping the league duals and tournament titles.

            The Wisconsin Lutheran Vikings didn’t need long to recover from the loss as they earned a measure of redemption by sending six wrestles to the finals and winning five individual titles while totaling 225 points at the league meet. Oconomowoc finished second with two champions, seven finalists and 217 points. Hartford finished third at the eight-team meet with 186.5 points.

            The tournament basically came down to two head-to-head matches in the finals between Lutheran and Oconomowoc with the team title on the line.

            At 113 pounds, Lutheran junior Tyler Roecker defeated Oconomowoc junior Tristen Mueller by a 13-8 decision. At 126, Lutheran senior Tepra Wright (37-1) – the defending 126 Division 2 state champion – defeated Oconomowoc sophomore Luke Hyland by a 23-7 technical fall in 5:50.

            Those two victories provided Lutheran with its margin of victory. 

            Breske, seeking his third D1 title after winning the 152 title each of the past two years, won his third conference title by pinning West Bend West junior Garrett White in 5:23.

            The Vikings didn’t slow down at the East Troy Division 2 regional, either, as they won the team title with 282 points, easily ahead of second-place Whitewater (193). That result was not a surprise. Neither was the face that Lutheran 285-pounder Quinten Reid (43-0) finished the regional level undefeated.

            The Hartford Orioles winning the Beaver Dam Regional to advance to the team sectional final in Division 1 was a surprise.

            Hartford shocked many with that showing, sending 10 wrestlers to the sectional and wining the team title by the narrowest of margins. Hartford finished with 195 points, two more than Oshkosh North (193).

            In the wrestlebacks, Hartford received two key performances by sophomore Alex Lawonn (132) and senior Alex Peters (182).  Each had a pair of pins in the wrestlebacks and worked for second-place finishes in their respective weight class.

            The victory lifted Hartford into a team sectional showdown with top-ranked Kaukauna.

            In the Southeast Conference, Oak Creek’s resurgence continued as it swept the league duals, the conference tournament and added a regional team title to advance to the team sectional final for the second consecutive year.

            A pair of Kenosha Bradford wrestlers also remained undefeated through the regional level.

            Oak Creek rolled over the competition at the Southeast tournament, winning seven of the 14 weight classes.

            The Knights scored 247 points. Franklin finished second at the eight-team tournament with 139 points.

            Sophomore Mitch Landgraf (106), junior Isaiah Robinson (120), junior Andrew McIntosh (126), senior Nate Mlodzik (152), senior Ben Hakes (170), senior Elijah Paez (182) and junior Ross Agg (195) all won titles for Oak Creek.

            Oak Creek then easily won the Milwaukee Hamilton regional team title with 309.5 points. South Milwaukee finished second with 192 points.

            That regional title set up a rematch between Oak Creek and Burlington in the team sectional final at Kenosha Bradford. Burlington beat Oak Creek this year in duals but Oak Creek did beat Burlington at the Homestead Highlander Invite this year.

            In the Milwaukee City Conference, someone had to make Milwaukee Bradley Tech work for its area-leading eighth consecutive conference championship.

            Tech saw five wrestlers win individual titles as the Trojans totaled 216 points at the nine-team tournament. King, which hadn’t finished second in the league meet in the past 12 years, had three champions in a tournament that saw eight of the nine teams win individual titles. King finished with 206 points, followed by Milwaukee Riverside (169.5) and Milwaukee Hamilton (145).

            Two Tech wrestlers – seniors Diremius Gordon and Maurice Lowe – finished careers with third City titles.

            Of course, no conversation in the Southeast can end without the Woodland Conference, which emerged as the top dual meet league in the area and one of the strongest overall.

            Once again, it was Whitnall/Greendale, Pewaukee and Wauwatosa making all the news as all three advanced to the team sectional finals. It is the only league in the area with three teams competing in the team sectional finals.

            And once again, it’s going to be Whitnall/Greendale against Pewaukee in the area’s most heated rivalry.

            Whitnall/Greendale swept the league dual meet title only to be beaten by Pewaukee at the conference tournament. But the teams will meet in the team sectional final at Mukwonago with a Division 1 state team tournament berth on the line.

            Whitnall/Greendale barely held of West Allis Central at the Central regional. Pewaukee easily won the Waukesha South Regional.

            Wauwatosa had no trouble winning the Nicolet regional title and was to face Cedarburg in the team sectional final.