West Allis Hale wrestling trio advances to state meet
Unbeaten Wanta leads way for Huskies
Unbeaten Dallas Wanta leads a trio of West Allis Hale wrestlers who are on their way to the WIAA Division 1 State Individual Tournament this weekend in Madison.
Wanta improved to 44-0 on the season by sweeping three matches at 220 pounds in a sectional at West Allis Central on Saturday.
He will be joined at the Kohl Center by Hale teammates John Baltz and Jake Gruichich, both of whom finished second in their weight classes at the sectional.
Wanta enjoyed long match
Wanta collected a pair of pins and a 9-4 decision over Emilio Gutierrez of New Berlin (43-2) at the sectional, and he felt the decision, rather than a quick pin, will actually be beneficial to him.
"I decided going into the match that in order to prepare myself for state, I need to work on my feet, getting constant motion, and wrestle a full six-minute match," Wanta said. "I haven't had many of those this year, so I felt like wrestling the full six minutes was the best for me."
Now he is set for the state tournament, which begins for him with a match against Jake Macaluso of Sussex Hamilton (27-18) at 3 p.m. today.
"It's my tournament to lose (at state)," said Wanta, a two-time state qualifier.
Hale head coach Randy Ferrell would agree with that assessment.
"He has his eyes on the prize and is focused on achieving it," Ferrell said.
Baltz (39-8) placed second at 113 pounds at the sectional. He dropped an overtime decision to Nathan Smith of Mukwonago (42-1) in the title match, then wrestled back to second with a 13-4 victory over Alex Espada of Brookfield Central (27-13).
"When I was able to get top position, and just control with my tilts and my moves, (I had the Espada match)," Baltz said.
Ferrell said, "John is wrestling well right now. He had a great finals match with Mukwonago. He is coming into his own with his style and pure belief in himself."
Baltz opens with Manning Denk of D.C. Everest (36-7).
"I've matured as a person and I'm ready to take on the challenge of state," he said.
Gruichich takes second
Gruichich (36-8) was the runnerup at 160 pounds. After winning his first two matches, he was pinned by Muskego's Brady McFarland (31-3) and posted a 12-4 major decision over Eric Ehrhardt of Waukesha South (34-14) for second place.
"Jake is a leader in our room," Ferrell said. "Very few people will outwork Jake. Reaching the state tournament was a goal of his for quite a while. I know that he has set a few other goals to reach now that he will be in the Kohl Center."
Gruichich will face Travis Hettinga of Wausau West (41-3) in his first state match.
Also for the Huskies, Luke Ellis (126) and Andrew Buelow (182) took third places and Simo Gruichich (132), Aaron Konkol (138), Jordan Shields (145) and Chris Faber (170) all lost their first matches.
The Huskies took fourth place in the team standings with 771/2points.
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