Wrestler/Team of the Week

Wrestler of the Week - February 4

Zach SmithPort Washington. The senior is getting hot at the right time in one of the most competitive weight classes in the state. Smith (25-5) defeated previously top-ranked Kaukauna sophomore Trent Leon (31-5) by a 7-3 decision to win the 120-pound title last week at the Pulaski Invitational, a 16-team invite. It was a big victory for Smith, ranked No. 5 at the time. The loss pushed Leon down to No. 5 in the rankings and moved Smith up to No. 3. Smith was a state finalist two years ago in Division 2 at 113 and finished third at 120 in Division 1 last year. The 120 weight class is loaded with talent this year and the state champion could come from any of the top 11 wrestlers. Smith is moving in the right direction and this weekend seeks his third North Shore Conference title after winning the 113 title in 2012 and the 126 title in 2014.

Team of the Week - February 4

Menomonee Falls. The Indians have had an up-and-down year but finished on the upside at the Red Wing Duals last week at Sheboygan South. The Indians went 4-1 and finished in first place in the consolation bracket at the eight-team dual meet tournament. Three wrestlers who went 5-0 at the tournament led Menomonee Falls: senior Ben Bonesho (120), senior Bill Holz (126) and junior Jerrot Holz (132). Bill Holz is ranked No. 8 at 126 in Division 1. Jerrot Holz is an honorable mention selection at 132. The Indians will try to win their third consecutive Greater Metro Conference tournament title on Friday at West Allis Central.

Wrestler of the Week - January 27

Josh DempseyBrookfield East. The senior remained undefeated this year by winning the 160-pound title at the 21-team Raider Invite at Sheboygan North to improve his record to 23-0. Dempsey knocked off a pair of ranked wrestlers on his way to the title and posted two other first-period pins at the tournament. In the final, Dempsey, ranked No. 5 in Division 1, defeated Menasha senior Bailey Whipple (27-2) by a 3-1 decision to win the title in a battle between two returning state qualifiers. Whipple is ranked No. 7 in Division 1. In the semifinals, Dempsey defeated Random Lake sophomore Helton Vandenbush (22-9) by a 5-2 decision. Vandenbush is ranked No. 7 in Division 3 at 160.

Dempsey also made quick work of his first two opponents at the tournament, registering pins in 11 and 48 seconds in the first two rounds.

Team of the Week - January 27

Oak Creek. The Knights have known all season long that one team stands in their way from a berth in the state team tournament: Burlington. The two teams are favored to meet in the Kenosha Bradford team sectional final next month. Oak Creek finally toppled Burlington, ranked No. 2 in the area, by two points at the Highlander Invitational at Homestead in the week’s biggest upset. Oak Creek finished with 458 points to Burlington’s 456. Burlington, it should be noted, was again without a 106-pounder at the meet. But in the team’s dual meet showdown at Burlington one week ago, Oak Creek was soundly beaten, 47-22. Oak Creek senior Ben Hakes (16-1 at 170) was out of the lineup in the dual meet but he recovered from an injured knee to win the 170 title at Homestead. He was the only Oak Creek wrestler to win a title but the Knights did send five wrestlers to the finals and had 10 wrestlers place fourth or higher. Oak Creek also held a 4-3 advantage in head-to-head matches against Burlington at the tournament. Burlington had three champions and four finalists but only three other wrestlers place in the top four.

Wrestler of the Week - January 20

Devin De Los Angles, Beaver Dam. De Los Angeles (22-1), a sophomore, defeated Oak Creek sophomore Mitch Landgraf (22-2) by a 2-0 decision to win the 106-pound title at the Lancer Invitational last weekend at Brookfield Central. De Los Angeles entered the tournament ranked No. 8 among Division 1 wrestlers by wiwrestling.com. Landgraf was ranked No. 14 at 106. De Los Angeles opened the year as the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the state before losing to Madison West senior Moziah Clark, 11-7, in early December. Clark is ranked No. 3 in Division 1. De Los Angeles has posted 14 consecutive victories since that early loss. He pinned his first three opponents in the first period at Brookfield Central before narrowly beating Landgraf. De Los Angels will get a heavy workload heading into the state tournament series.  He is to compete at the Zelinski Duals Saturday, and will have a loaded bracket at the Wisconsin Little Ten Conference tournament in two weeks. In that bracket will be No. 9-ranked Slinger freshman Caleb Ziebell and No. 12-ranked West Bend West junior Justin Lor. 

Team of the Week - January 20

Burlington.  The Demons surprised many by winning the team title at the Irish Invitational at Freedom over the weekend. Burlington, ranked No. 2 in the area and No. 10 in Division 1, sent six wrestlers to the finals, saw two win individual titles and had 12 of its 13 wrestlers finish sixth or higher to turn back Freedom, ranked No. 1 in Division 2. Burlington won the tournament with 220.5 points, followed by Freedom (192) and Bay Port (177.5), ranked No. 8 in Division 1, at the 14-team event. It was an impressive performance for Burlington, which wrestled without a 106-pounder but did see the immediate impact of freshman Jared Bird (4-1). Bird, out with an injured ankle all season, finished second at 126 pounds in his first action of the season. His brother, Josh, a junior and a two-time state finalist and state champion two years ago, won the 132 title to push his season record to 25-1.Burlington senior Ben Hornickle (30-1) defeated Freedom senior Cody Walrath (25-3) by a 6-5 decision in the biggest final at the tournament. Hornickle is ranked No. 4 in D1. Walrath is ranked No. 2 in D2.

Wrestler of the Week - January 13

Zack Szohr, jr., Germantown.Szohr scored on and off the mat over the weekend when he was named the outstanding wrestler at the Travis Wichlacz Memorial at West Bend East. Szohr pinned four of his five opponents at 106 pounds, giving him an 11-0 record this year with 10 pins. But it was Szohr’s performance in a 15-12 victory over East senior Alex Vickney (1-14) that really drew applause at the tournament. Szohr, ranked No. 1 in Division 1 in the state since coming off suspension one week ago, chose to wrestle Vickney, who suffers from a form of polio that limits his ability to control his lower body. The two went back-and-forth as Vickney and Szohr traded points in a match that everyone in the stands appreciated. “It was his idea,” Jeff Szohr, the Germantown coach and Zack’s father said. “It was really something special. It was exciting and inspiring. It drew a lot of tears, including from me.” The next day, Zack attended the youth tournament at West Bend combined high school and presented Vickney – on hand as an official – with the OW plaque in front of the crowd. “It was inspirational for both of them,” said East coach Andrew Mueller. “Alex is an inspiration to this team. (Zack) didn’t need to do that.”

Team of the Week - January 13

Wisconsin Lutheran. After finally receiving a state ranking in Division 2 in the wiwrestling state poll last week, the No. 6 Vikings put on a show at the Milwaukee Lutheran invite. The Vikings won seven of the 14 individual titles and scored 318.5 points at the 17-team tournament. Kenosha Christian Life finished second with 202 points. Junior Tyler Roecker (23-4 at 106), freshman Lucas Roecker (18-8 at 113), senior Tepra Wright (22-1 at 132), senior Malik Smith (23-3 at 160), senior Seth Weide (212-8 at 170), junior Bryce Roberts (25-3 at 220) and junior Quinton Reed (28-0 at 285) all won individual titles.

Wrestler of the Week - January 6

Beau Breske, Hartford. Breske is just one of the rare wrestlers on the high school level that this state will ever see. His 9-5 victory over Mesa Mountain View (Ariz.) senior Keiffer Taylor (28-2) at the Cheesehead Invitational last week at Kaukauna was just another example of why he’s the top wrestler in the state. No mistakes, no chances. He just wins. The victory pushed Breske’s record to 24-0 this year and extended his unbeaten streak to 98 matches on the high school level. He repeated as the 170 champion at the tournament and has won individual state titles at 152 as a freshman and 170 a year ago. His reward for dropping from 182 to 170 this year was a slip in the national rankings. Breske was ranked No. 3 at 182 in three national rankings and slipped to No. 5 in all with the move to 170.

Team of the Week - January 6

Pewaukee. The Pirates were not invited back to the Cheesehead after finishing last in the field two years ago. They made the most of their return this year, finishing 15th with 238 points. The Pirates were led by third-place finishers Jacob Raschka (27-1 at 170) and Giovanni Guarnero (24-4 at 285). The Pirates also had six other wrestlers advance to the scoring round by placing 16th or higher. “That’s something to go from the bottom to the middle of the pack at this tournament,” Pewaukee coach Ed Kurth said.  Pewaukee finished second in Division 2 a year ago at the state team tournament, but will compete in Division 1 this year.

Wrestler of the Week - December 30

Jason IpsaridesCedarburg. The senior remained undefeated by winning the 152-pound title at the Oshkosh on the Water Classic, a 54-team tournament held last week at the Kolf Center at UW-Oshkosh. In the 152 final, Ipsarides defeated Laconia sophomore Zach Coffeen (15-3) by a 5-3 decision. The victory pushed Ipsarides’ season record to 23-0 after picking up six victories at the tournament. Ipsarides, a state qualifier a year ago, is ranked No. 9 at 152 in D1. In the semifinals, Ipsarides defeated Bradley Tech senior Diremious Gordon (19-3) by an 8-0 decision. Gordon defeated Ipsarides, 20-17, in the first round of the state tournament a year ago. Ipsarides was area No. 3-ranked Cedarburg’s lone champion as he led the team to a second-place finish at the tournament with 292.5 points.    

Team of the Week - December 30

Elkhorn. The Elks, ranked No. 1 in the area and No. 7 in D1 by wiwrestling.com, finished second at the 32-team Mid States Tournament last week at UW-Whitewater. Elkhorn sent four wrestlers to the finals, had one champion in junior Konnor Mohr (15-2 at 152) and had 13 of 14 wrestlers score points as the Elks totaled 221 points. Stoughton, ranked No. 2 in D1, won the tournament with 279 points. Elkhorn’s other finalists were seniors Bryce Fitzgerald (16-2 at 126), John Olsen (14-2 at 145) and Dylan Linhart (17-1 at 220). 

Wrestler of the Week - December 23

Tepra WrightWisconsin Lutheran. Wright (13-0), ranked No. 2 in Division 2 at 132, is poised to take over the No. 1 ranking at 126 pounds after his performance at the Badger State Invitational last weekend in Madison. Wright, the returning 126-pound Division 2 state champion, defeated then No. 1-ranked Sparta senior John Roddick (14-2) by a 10-2 major decision to win the 126 title at the 25-team event.

Team of the Week - December 23

Whitnall-Greendale. No team had a bigger week than the new co-op as it knocked off Pewaukee, 31-23, to take control of the Woodland Conference dual meet race. Pewaukee is the defending league champion. Whitnall-Greendale followed that up with a second-place finish at the Ed Stech Invite at West Allis Central. It was Whitnall’s highest finish at the tournament in 21 years.

Wrestler of the Week - December 14

 Anthony Senthavisouksr.,Whitnall. After bouncing up to 138 to help his team win the Howard/Manley Duals at East Troy when the team had four wrestlers come in overweight and going 4-1 at 138, the unranked Senthavisouk rebounded at the Dells Duals Classic at Chula Vista by going 5-0 at 126 and defeating the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Division 2. Senthavisouk defeated No. 2 Sparta senior John Roddick, 4-2, in Whitnall’s 47-24 victory in the third round.

Team of the Week - December 14

Elkhorn. The Elks finished off a solid first week of the season by toppling previously No. 1-ranked Burlington, 34-23, in a tight Southern Lakes Conference dual meet. Elkhorn led, 24-23, with three matches remaining and received pins from Jayce Coffee (106) and Benji Peak (113) to close out the dual and improve to 6-1 this year. Elkhorn’s only loss is to Stoughton, 35-28.