February 25 WAC Brothers Share Dream of Top Spot

WAC Brothers Share Dream of Top Spot

 

Tough training, a focus on the proper mental approach on the mat and a desire to finally get atop the podium together are driving the White brothers – Tyus and Tere – from West Allis Central.

They’ll need all of that and a little luck to break their way as the duo heads into the state individual wrestling tournament if they want this year to end with the goal they’ve always shared: winning state titles together.

The tournament begins with Division 1 preliminary matches at 3 p.m. today at the Kohl Center in Madison.  Quarterfinals in Division 1 begin at approximately 5:15 p.m. Preliminary matches in Divisions 2 and 3 begin at approximately 7:15 p.m.

While there are certain favorites at the tournament – Hartford junior Beau Breske (47-0 at 170 pounds) and Germantown junior Zach Szohr (28-0 at 106)  are two – and a few wide-open weight classes – 182, 220 and 285 are examples – that’s not what faces Tyus and Tere White at the state tournament.

Tyus, a junior who won the 106 Division 1 title a year ago, and Tere, a senior, will compete in two of the most competitive brackets in Madison. Anything can happen in these brackets.

Tyus will carry a 35-6 record into the state meet at 113 pounds after wrestling the majority of the year at 120.

Tyus is to face Menomonee Falls sophomore Eric Wunsch (37-10) in the prelims at 113. In the quarterfinals, he should receive a big test from Racine Horlick senior Damien McCray (50-1).

Tere will bring a 40-0 record into the state meet at 126.

Tere is to face Kaukauna freshman Zach Lee (32-11) in the prelims. His biggest match is expected to be one of the top area showdowns in the semifinals against Wauwatosa junior Justin Folley (42-1), who is ranked No. 1 in Division 1.

Both weight classes are loaded, and even the returning state champion Tyus knows it will be a tough weekend in Madison, especially being a returning state champion.

“Whoever steps on the line with me, I expect to be tough,” said Tyus. “They’re all state qualifiers. Everyone wants to come after me. You still have to train hard. You already know they want to come after you.”

Tyus has reason to respect everyone.

He almost didn’t even qualify for state this year, sneaking into the state tournament with a little help from cross-town rival Peyton Mocco (37-2), a breakout freshman from West Allis Hale.

Tyus received a gift from Mocco in the 113 sectional final at Waukesha West. Mocco trailed Waterford junior Justin Ratkovec (40-7) by a 5-1 margin in the match but managed to pull out a 10-8 victory.

That gave Tyus life at the qualifier after a 7-4 loss to Mocco in the semifinals a week after Tyus knocked off both by a point in the West Allis Central regional. Tyus was able to wrestleback for the second berth to state at 120 by beating Ratkovec, 7-3, in the strongest sectional qualifying bracket in the area. All three were ranked in the top four in the weight class by wiwrestling.com heading into the sectional.

Thanks to Mocco, the brothers’ goal of winning championships together was kept alive.

“We’ve always talked about it,” said Tyus. “That’s why we wrestle in the first place so we can become state champions together.”

Should he survive and reach the final, Tyus should face either now top-ranked Mocco or talented Janesville Craig senior Airk Furseth (41-0), ranked No. 3.

Tere, ranked No. 3 at 126, had a smoother rout to state. He really wasn’t tested at the regional or sectional level.

That won’t happen at state.

Yet a sense of urgency surrounds Tere, who finished fifth a year ago at 120 and feels he didn’t quite focus as much as he should have his first three years.

“This is it,” said Tere. “I think I goofed around too much before. I’m a senior now. There’s definitely pressure. I feel it. I’ve got to get out there and get the job done. I know deep down I can do it.”

Tere has had only two close matches all year. He won both by a point over Eden Prairie (Minn.) senior Chris Timm and Oconto Falls senior Sam Konizer (37-3), a Division 3 state qualifier.

Central coach Jon Nelson, who saw two of his wrestlers win state titles a year ago, is trying to keep this simple for the White brothers and the other three wrestlers who qualified for state from the school.

“A former coach told me that our preparations last year worked,” said Nelson. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. We have our plan. At this point, we can’t do any more cardio, we can’t do anything to make ourselves more physical. We have to get some sleep and stay healthy.”

The status quo for the White brothers will be staying on the attack when they are on their feet.

Tyus has taken opponents down 96 times while giving up only 11. Tere has only given up one takedown this year while taking his opponents down 109 times.

Both point to work they have done in the summer at the Greg Gomez wrestling camp in Illinois. That is where both boys believe the developed their ability to be strong on their feet.

“That’s what I do in the summer,” said Tyus. “I go to Greg Gomez. I didn’t wrestle many tournaments in the summer. I just went there and worked out.”

Tere added: “I think the Illinois has way better training programs than here. We work on the basic stuff. Basics win championships.”

Nelson doesn’t care where his wrestlers work in the off-season.

He just wants them to succeed.

“With Tyus, we always talk about peaking,” said Nelson. “I think he takes that to the extreme. He’s wrestling now better than he was last year. He can get away on the bottom. He’s finishing his takedowns right now. He didn’t do that in matches he lost this year.”

As for Tere, maturity is the key. Tere’s standing reminds Nelson of a Central state champion from a year ago, 138-pounder Mark Choinski.

Choinski had a fire lit underneath him as his career was closing.

“I think (Tere’s) like Choinski,” said Nelson. “He knows this is it. He has a year of maturity and the fact that he only has one year left. It’s just like Mark. There’s some similarity there.”