Muskego, Southeast Conference Rise To Top

By Joe Shinners

              The 33rd Annual Hartford Duals went a long way toward deciding which conference is the best in Southestern Wisconsin.

Couple the dominating performance by Muskego at that tournament and a surprisingly strong showing by Franklin at the Battle on the Bay at Bay Port, and there are few who could argue that the Southeast Conference has emerged again as the premiere league in the area.

Muskego simply dominated at Hartford in posting a 5-0 record. Franklin turned in a solid showing at the 16-team Battle on the Bay by finishing fourth with 346 poinyd. Simley (Minn.) won the tournament with 560 points, followed by Luxemburg-Casco with 350.5 and Franklin with 346.

Muskego, one year after losing nine seniors, saw its talented class of freshman anchor its team as the Warriors overcame a slow start and defeated the host Hartford Orioles by 49-19 to win the dual tournament.

Muskego, ranked No. 1 in the area, pushed its overall record to 7-0. Hartford (6-1), ranked No. 3 in the area, went 4-1 to finish second at the eight-team event, followed by Brookfield East, which went 3-2 and fell to 5-2 overall, and No. 10-ranked Kenosha Tremper, which went 2-3 and fell to 8-3 overall. Brookfield East is the top team in the Greater Metro Conference.

Waukesha West, also in the Hartford tournament, finished with a 3-2 record in the consolation bracket. West saw its chance to upset Arrowhead this year fall by the wayside when Arrowhead won the final two matches by pins (103-112) as Arrowhead held on for a 40-26 victory.

“We’re looking to be better in February,” said West coach Dale Van Keuren about his team’s near upset of Arrowhead and performance at Hartford. “Arrowhead is tough. We need to work hard to get it together. We’ve got some weaknesses in our lineup. But we need to work to get better.”  

East’s strength showed with its ability to attack with leg rides and its strength from 140 through 171. East coach Bud Sines, though, knows his limited numbers (19 on varsity) are a cause for concern heading into the Rapids Duals on Saturday.

            “We’re a fairly solid team, but we don’t have any depth,” Sines said. “We give up 18 to 24 points based on inexperience out there. You can’t do that.”

Hartford, the top team in the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference, stared hot against Muskego, winning four of the first five matches to take a 19-5 lead. Included was a 13-11 victory by Hartford freshman Nick Becker over Muskego sophomore Kyle Scherkenbach in a back-and-forth battle at 112 pounds.

Only sophomore returning state qualifier Tyler Quartullo – who wrestled last year at New Berlin West – slowed Hartford in the first five matches. He posted an 18-3 technical fall in 5 minutes 49 seconds over Hartford freshman Nate Hennes at 125.

           “We know we have some holes in our lineup,” said Muskego coach Ted Price. “Depending on where the dual starts, those warts are going to surface. We knew Hartford was going to win some matches on us. I knew if we didn’t give up pins or bonus points in the middle point of our lineup, we’d be fine”

               Muskego dominated by winning nine consecutive matches from 140 to 103 in the dual that began at 112 pounds. Five of those victories came by pins. Hartford had two pins. Three of those Muskego pins came in the first minute of the match, including one by junior two-time state qualifier Derek Olson (152).

              Last year, Muskego beat Hartford 59-10, and the Orioles were hoping for a better showing. The performance was better, but not by much and left Hartford coach Steve Best questioning his team afterward.

              “(Muskego) has tough kids up and down the lineup, and we had two kids stub there toes on the mat and let a match slip away. You can’t do that. They are solid enough up and down where you have to do everything right,” said Best. “Are we going to learn anything from this? Is this going to help us get better or is this going to convince us that we’re not as good as we could be?”

               Muskego’s highly touted freshman – Justin Scherkenbach (103), Roland Dunlop (171) and Jordan Gruettner (189) – were as good as billed and all went 5-0 for the day and picked up victories against Hartford.

              The biggest victory of the day was turned in my Gruettner, who upset Hartford senior Nick Broadway by a 7-6 decision at 189 in the championship dual. Broadway, a state qualifier a year ago, was considered the top 189-pounder in the area but couldn’t score late in the match during a flurry of activity as Gruettner held on.

             Price was happy with the young group’s first big test of the season.

“It’s early in the year, but they have a world of potential, if they keep learning, and keep working, they might be as good as some people have chalked them up to be,” Price said. “There’s still a long way to go.”

Franklin saw eight of its 14 wrestlers place in the top six at Bay Port, and had one finalist in sophomore Sam Kortes at 112. Simley’s Jake Short defeated Kortes by a 16-7 major decision to win the 112 title.

“We have some good seniors and some good sophomores,” said Franklin coach Louis Brown. We also have a great sophomore class. Our goal was to finish in the top four and as the tournament rolled on, we thought we could sneak into the top three. But we had no one come through in the final round and win. We lost a lot of tough matches.”

             When Luxemburg-Casco senior Trever Spude beat Rapids senior Doug Fuller by a 3-1 overtime decision in the final at 215 points, that sealed Franklin’s fourth-place finish.

          Simley had all 14 of its wrestlers place in the top six, sent nine wrestlers to the finals and came away with four individual champions as it held off Rapids for the team title.

Wisconsin Rapids, ranked No. 3 in the state, sent seven wrestlers to the finals, won five individual titles and had 13 of its 14 wrestlers place in the top six.

Hartford Duals 

Championship Summary

Muskego 49, Hartford 19

112 – Nick Becker, H, def., Kyle Scherkenbach, M, 13-11. 119 – Zach Durante, H, pinned Ryan Zainer, M, 1:38. 125 – Tyler Quartullo, M, tf Nate Hennes, H, 18-3, 5:49. 130 – Jaren Baumgartner, H, pinned Jake Kaprellian, M, 2:52. 135 – Casey Kenealy, H, def. Brandon Shea, M, 10-2. 140 – Jordan Lau, M, def. Danny Allen, H, 11-5. 145 – Jordan Sowinski, M, tf, Weston Klink, H, 15-0, 3:47. 152 – Derek Olson, M, pinned Matt Kowalke, H, :33. 160 – Jerred Gruettner, M, pinned Ben Bunzel, H, :57. 171 – Roland Dunlap, M, pinend Jake Brown, H, :42. 189 – Jordan Gruettner, M, def. Nick Broadway, H, 7-6. 215 – Alex Kehoe, M, pinned Matt Schmirler, H, 2:34. 285 – Kyle Costigan, M, pinned Sean Johnson, H, 1:14. 103 – Justin Scherkenbach, M, def. Cale Klink, H, 9-4.

Final standings

          Championship bracket – 1, Hartford, 5-0; 2, Hartford, 4-1; 3, Brookfield East, 3-2; 4, Kenosha Tremper, 2-3. 

         Consolation bracket – 1, Waukesha West 3-2; 2, Sheboygan North, 2-3; 3, Plymouth, 1-4; 4, Waukesha North, 0-5.

Round by round results

           Round 1: HAR 66, PLY 13; KT 35, WW 24; MUS 70, WN 12; BE 44, SN 27.

Round 2: HAR 41, KT 22; WW 60, PLY 24; MUS 68, SN 3; BE 63, WN 16.

Round 3: HAR 50, WW 24; MUS 50, BE 18; KT 73, PLY 6; SN 45, WN 24.

Round 4: HAR 51, BE 23; WW 39, WN 25; MUS 48, KT 24; SN 52, PLY 21.

Round 5: MUS 49, HAR 19; BE 38, KT 33; WW 38, SN 33; PLY 37, WN 33.

           Undefeated wrestlers  (5-0): 103 – Justin Scherkenbach, MUS; 112 – Tony Perl, SN; Dominic Garcia, KT. 119 – Tyler Semrad, WW. 125 – Tyler Quartullo, MUS. 130 – David Hood, KT. 135 – Seth Gantz, WW; Andy Wanta, BE. 145 – Zack Sines, BE. 152 – Dustin Bourelle, PLY; Derek Olson, MUS. 160 – Jerred Gruettner, MUS. 171 – Roland Dunlap, MUS. 189 – Jordan Gruettner, MUS. 215 – Cody Ybarro, WN. 285 – Najee Parker, KT.