Arrowhead Nips Mukwonago

By Joe Shinners

Special to the Journal Sentinel

      Waukesha – All year long, the Arrowhead Warhawks wrestling team felt the Mukwonago Indians nipping at their heels.

      Every time, the Warhawks relied upon a powerhouse run of wrestlers from 119 pounds to 140 pounds to turn the Indians away.

      That was the difference again for the third and final time as Arrowhead beat back Mukwonago Saturday at the Waukesha West Regional.

      Arrowhead saw all five wrestlers in the strength of their lineup win individual titles and the Warhawks advanced 13 wrestlers to individual sectionals to score 258.5 points and win the team title. Mukwonago finished second with 238.5 points, followed by Oconomowoc (142.5) and Waukesha North (140.5) at the eight-team regional.

      The top-four individuals in the 14 weight classes advanced to the Watertown Sectional next Saturday. Arrowhead is to face Brookfield East on at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Arrowhead in the team sectional final. East won the Sussex Hamilton Regional.

      For Arrowhead, the title was in doubt all after noon as Mukwonago equaled the Warhawks match for match and victory for victory as Arrowhead clung to a 10-point lead.

      But in the championship round of wrestling, Arrowhead finally took control. Arrowhead won eight of 14 matches in the round while Mukwonago won seven prior to the wrestlebacks. The slight difference, combined with pins, was enough for Arrowhead.

      “It was a fierce battle,” said Arrowhead coach John Mesenbrink. “It was an awesome performance by Mukwonago to make it tough for us. This whole season they have made it tough for us and made us raise our level of performance. It raised the performance of both of our teams.”

      In the teams’ Classic 8 Conference dual, Mukwonago won 8 of 14 matches but lost by a 30-28 margin. At the conference tournament last week, Arrowhead rallied to post a 34.5-point victory.

In the end, it was Arrowhead and its run of champions that proved to be too much for Mukwonago, and denied the Indians a repeat trip to the team sectionals. The teams split their matches against each in the sectional other at 6-6.

Arrowhead freshman Jake Sueflohn (40-3) started the run with a 15-0 technical fall in 4 minutes over Waukesha North senior Nick Rynders (16-10) at 119. In between were victories by junior James Clark (34-2 at 125), senior Arik Yde (38-5 at 130) and two-time state champion Nick Hucke (32-0 at 135), the team’s emotional leader. Senior Chris Senner (32-2 at 140) finished the run off by defeating Waukesha South senior Zach Barndt (22-14) by a 9-1 decision.

“There were a few matches that I felt we could have won,” said Mukwonago coach Andy Trudell. “But we had to wrestle a perfect tournament to beat Arrowhead, and we didn’t do it. We had our chances though. We gave it a pretty good run.”

 It wasn’t as if Mukwonago went away empty-handed. The Indians qualified all 14 wrestlers to sectionals for the first time, and saw it’s two big weapons – seniors Billy Schlottke and Brad Baus – remain undefeated this year with impressive performances.

Schlottke (39-0), the two-time state finalist and defending 152-pound Division 1 state champ, had no trouble. He beat Arrowhead senior Torsten Nieminen (31-9) by a 13-4 major decision to win the 152 title. Baus (38-0) beat Arrowhead senior Eric Herbert (32-12) by a 7-1 decision.

 Other notable champions included Oconomowoc sophomore Zach Mommaerts (36-4 at 103) and Waukesha North senior Jerick Kuester (25-0 at 145). Mommaerts had his season cut short after regionals last year due to a broken arm; Kuester was a state qualifier last year.