Bulldogs' barks are loud and clear
West Allis Central wrestling team gets off to fast start
West Allis — h as many as six seniors in the starting lineup, West Allis Central wrestling coach Jason Stromberg has high hopes this season. Among them, he'd like to see his Bulldogs make the school's only second-ever WIAA Team State Tournament appearance and first since 2000.
"That should be our goal when we have this many seniors," Stromberg said. "Our first goal every year is to win the conference tournament and the dual-meet title. But then we want to win our regional and then have a shot at state."
The Bulldogs will get a good idea where they stand when they host the Ed Stech Tournament on Dec. 18-19. Hartford, a potential postseason opponent for Central, will be at the meet.
Arrowhead, another possible postseason foe for the Bulldogs, proved it will be a force this winter by beating Muskego on Saturday at the Oconomowoc Duals.
"We'd have to beat some good teams to get (to state)," Stromberg said. "We'll have a better idea how we match up by Christmas."
But first things first. The Bulldogs, tri-champions of the Greater Metro Conference dual-meet season in 2009, opened with a convincing 56-12 win over host West Allis Hale on Dec. 3.
Stomberg said it was the first step toward his team winning both the dual and tournament titles.
"Our goal is to win them both," he said. "Thursday's a big match for us. Sussex Hamilton is a program on the rise and they were conference champs last year, too."
The Bulldogs host Hamilton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.
After beating Hale, the Bulldogs ran their season record to 8-0 with five wins at the East Troy Duals on Saturday. Central beat the host school as well as Whitnall, Sun Prairie, Union Grove and Harvard (Ill.) - Harvard's first loss at the tournament in 18 years.
"We wrestled them last year and knew that this was the team to beat," Stromberg said. "Our senior leadership is really good and we came out and wrestled really well against them."
One of those seniors, 160-pounder Matt Pawlowski, who is one of two returning state qualifiers for Central, was one of six undefeated Bulldogs at the tournament. The others were sophomore Skyler Pederson, another state qualifier, at 119, senior Jake Sargent at 125, senior Terry Fletcher at 140, senior Joe Immekus at 152 and senior Dan Diebitz at 171.
Sophomores Donald Dargan (103), Nate Keaton (112) and Eric Vis (145) and juniors Jesse Rodriguez (215) and Lucas Gritzmaucher (285) were 4-1.
"It's not an easy tournament by any means," Stromberg said. "Our kids just really wrestled well. … After awhile, I think we intimidated people. They were trying to match our intensity. We have a physical style of wrestling, and it shows."
- David Cotey
Central vs. Hale
SCORE: Central 56, Hale 12
WHEN: Dec. 3
PINS: Central - Terry Fletcher, 140; Eric Vis, 145; Lucas Gritzmaucher, 285; Donald Dargan, 103; Nate Keaton, 112. Hale - Zach Seefeld, 189.
MORE HALE: The Huskies also took third in their four-team pool at the Kettle Moraine Laser Duals on Saturday.
Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.
Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter Get the Newsletter!
- Nicolet seventh in Sprint Invite
- Sport Shorts: Dec. 12
- West Allis Central wrestling team looks strong on mats again
- Veterans boost West Allis Hale's wrestling outlook
- West Allis Hale girls basketball will pick up the pace
- Sports Shorts: Dec. 5
- Staying healthy will be key for Franklin girls basketball team
- West Allis Hale's Riche dropped runners, topped records
- West Allis Central boys basketball nipped by Arrowhead
- West Allis Central boys basketball looks to ace chemistry