West Allis - In the face of tragedy and sorrow, a short-handed West Allis Hale wrestling team put on a heroic effort at the Bauer Brawl on Saturday.
The Hale wrestlers, like everyone else at the school, were rocked by the death of junior Corey Stingley on Dec. 29 from major brain damage. A number of them attended his funeral on Saturday, missing the wrestling meet.
"We were missing a few guys from the lineup, and that was fine," head coach Randy Ferrell said. "You have to put things into perspective; there is life and then athletics."
The Huskies still managed to finish second with 150½ points at the Bauer, which itself is a memorial tribute to Steve Bauer, the father of three former Hale wrestlers, who died in 2009.
They trailed only Wauwatosa's 176½ points in the 13-team field.
Winning individual championships for the Huskies were Jon Baltz at 106 pounds, Taylor Tomczak at 160 and Ryan Vankerkvoorde at heavyweight.
Baltz improved to 19-3 on the season by pinning three foes, including Isaiah Goldberg of Milwaukee King in 4 minutes, 30 seconds in the first-place match.
Tomczak (17-5) pinned two opponents, then accepted a forfeit victory over Rashadeem Gray of Whitefish Bay in the final match. Vankerkvoorde (22-4) took a first-round bye, then posted a 6-5 decision and a pin in 3:32 over Quentin Derosier of Racine Horlick in his title match.
Dallas Wanta (24-3) finished second at 220 pounds, dropping a 4-2 decision to Russell Chambers of Milwaukee Riverside in the title bout.
Taking fourth were Trevor Kruzick at 120 pounds, Jeffery Schubert at 132 and Maurice Beck at 145 pounds. Claiming fifth were Simo Gruichich at 126 and Josh Petrovich at 138, while Dominick O'Brien came in sixth at 182.
Also competing were Jordan Shields (152), Ryan Sheard (170) and Danny Castaneda (195).
The Huskies also routed Brookfield East, 58-15, in a Greater Metro Conference dual meet on Jan. 3 to improve to 4-0 in the conference.
Winners were Wanta (forfeit), Vankerkvoorde (5-1 decision), Baltz (forfeit), Kruzick (11-2), Luke Ellis at 126 (pin in 5:53), Schubert (pin in 5:39), Beck (5-1), Jake Gruichich at 152 (pin in 4:58), Tomczak (pin in 3:11), Logan Mocco at 170 (pin in 1:05) and Andrew Buelow at 182 (pin in 1:20).
"I felt the dual went very well," Ferrell said. "We matched up well and were aggressive. Our team members really feed off one another and the energy from the student section is always a great thing."
Hale next competes at the Elkhorn Invitational at 9:15 a.m. Jan. 12. The Huskies return to GMC action at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at home against Sussex Hamilton.
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