Pulaski Rules at Zelinski

By Joe Shinners

    Greenfield – Pulaski wrestling coach John Matczak found it easy to explain the Red Raiders’ success at the 21st Zelinski Memoriial Dual Invite.

    The Red Raiders didn’t give up many pins, and found ways to post them against the opposition to win the 16-team dual tournament with a 5-0 record for the first time since 2000 and third time overall Saturday at Whitnall.

    “We were able to keep ourselves and prevent ourselves from getting pinned and giving up tech falls and extra team points,” said Matczak, whose team improved to 21-2 overall. “We only gave up four pins in the entire tournament. Win or lose, we battled for the whole 6 minutes in every match.”

In the championship round-robin division, Stoughton finished second at 4-1, followed by Hartford (3-2, 17-4) and Kewaskum (2-3).

    Against Stoughton, Pulaski followed its coach’s advice to heart. The Red Raiders posted four pins against the Vikings and gave up only one. The differential proved to be the difference in the final dual of the tournament, as well as having six wrestlers go undefeated.

It was a far cry from the 2-3 record in the championship round that saw Pulaski lose all three of its matches.

“We’re a little older and a little more experienced,” said Matczak. “We didn’t want that to happen again.”

That determination showed in the final dual against Stoughton as the Red Raiders picked up four pins and gave up none in a 35-25 victory.

Hartford, coming of a big dual meet victory over Wisconsin Lutheran on Friday night, had chances to beat both Pulaski and Stoughton, but couldn’t pull out victories in the championship gym against either team.

    Hartford was locked in a tight dual with Stoughton in the third round, trailing, 22-10, with five matches remaining.

    But the Orioles wound up winning only two more matches – pins by sophomore Jarid Baumgartner (119 pounds) and freshman Erik Becker (125) – the rest of the way in a dual that began at 145 as Stoughton won, 32-22.

    The Orioles also had their chances to pull out a victory over Pulaski, but again couldn’t pull out a hard-fought win.

The Red Raiders clung to a 22-21 lead with four matches remaining in a dual that began at 152. Hartford managed only a pin by senior Luke Multhauf the rest of the way and lost to Pulaski, 39-24. The Red Raiders posted four pins to Hartford’s two in the dual.

“We had our opportunities against Stoughton,” said Hartford coach Steve Best. “We were a little fatigued today. (Stoughton) was just solid. This is a tough tournament. We wrestled four teams today that have been ranked in the state. It was a tough day.”

Hartford pounded previously undefeated Kewaskum, 60-23, in its final match. Kewaskum left the tournament with a 13-3 record after entering 11-0.

“We knew this was going to be tough,” said Kewaskum coach Dennis Aupperle. “We are a young team and we are only going to get stronger.”

Pewaukee (9-2), a member of the championship round a year ago, lost to Hartford, 28-24, and went on to a 3-2 mark at the tournament. Pewaukee lost five matches by three points or less to Hartford.

Pewaukee also lost to Fond du Lac, 33-30, in the third round.

“The goal was to beat Hartford and get in the championship round,” said Pewaukee coach Ed Kurth. “We lost a lot of close ones. But I do think we wrestled with a lot of heart and drive.”

Waukesha South junior Joe Fletcher led the Blackshirts to a 4-1 record in the consolation bracket with an impressive performance. Fletcher posted five pins, the only wrestler in the tournament to do so. He improved his record to 20-8 this year.


This article was first published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel