West Allis Central wrestlers capture regional mat title over rival West Allis Hale
Bulldogs, Hale send 22 to sectional meet
After scratching and clawing its way upward all season, the West Allis Central wrestling team is at last on the top of the hill.
Now there are more mountains to climb.
The Bulldogs continued their late-season surge by claiming a WIAA Division 1 regional team championship on Saturday at the Central Fieldhouse with 221 points.
They edged rival West Allis Hale, which took second with 217½ points. The Huskies easily topped third-place Waukesha South's 179 points in the eight-team regional.
Central lost its Greater Metro Conference dual meet to Hale this season but rebounded to beat the Huskies at the conference tournament, as both finished behind champion Menomonee Falls.
Team sectional berth
The regional victory also gave the Bulldogs a ticket to a team sectional dual against Mukwonago, which was held on Tuesday night at Brookfield Central. The winner there goes to the state team tournament on March 1-2 in Madison.
"Winning regionals proves that the kids believe in themselves and in the program," Central head coach Jon Nelson said. "They are focusing for their matches and trusting their instincts. They have the heart to do whatever it takes to score points. We are staying focused on the one opponent across the line. We are wrestling to win and are making the best decisions possible, always scoring the points first."
Both Central and Hale qualified a fleet of wrestlers to an individual sectional meet at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Waukesha West High School.
The Bulldogs are sending 12 entrants to the sectional, including four who won regional crowns on Saturday, while the Huskies are advancing 10, with four regional winners.
The top two in each weight class at the sectional advance to the state meet on Feb. 21 to 23 in Madison.
Many took home titles
Taking championships for Central were Jose Ramos at 126 pounds, Mark Choinski at 132, Alan Silva at 138 and Dylan Diebitz at 160.
Ramos improved to 26-11 with three pins, capped by one in 3 minutes, 41 seconds over Joshua Peltier of Brookfield Central.
Choinski (17-2) took a first-round bye, then blanked a foe 16-0 in the semifinal before dropping Ibragim Umarov of Waukesha South in 2:19.
Silva (36-4) posted a technical fall and two decisions, including a 6-5 triumph over Josh Dempsey of Brookfield East in the final, while Diebitz (38-1) took a bye, then posted a pin and a 2-0 decision over Taylor Tomczak of Hale in his final.
Winning for the Huskies were Jon Baltz at 106, Trevor Kruzick at 120, Jake Gruichich at 152 and Dallas Wanta at 220.
Baltz (35-4) had a bye, then won a decision and an 11-2 major decision over Nick Palzkill of Waukesha West in the final. Kruzick (33-6) had a bye, then won a major decision and a 1-0 triumph over Tere White of West Allis Central in the title match.
Gruichich (31-9) also had a bye, then took a major decision and a pin in 3:59 over Eric Ehrhardt of South in the final, while Wanta (40-4) had a bye, a technical fall in the semifinal and an 11-2 major over Austin Clement of Kettle Moraine in the final match.
Taking second for the Bulldogs were White (120), Chris Helm (152) and Jason Alvarez (170), while runnersup for the Huskies were Tomczak (160), Andrew Buelow (182) and Ryan Vankerkvoorde (heavyweight).
Finishing third for Central were Tong Vang (195) and Robert Torres (heavyweight), and for Hale, Luke Ellis (126), Josh Petrovich (138) and Logan Mocco (170).
Coming in fourth for the Bulldogs were Tyus White (106), Ryan Ulbrich (145) and Troy Evans (220).
"Every wrestler has stepped up since conference and we are looking to build off our success," Nelson said. "Once state qualification is accomplished, our goals change.
"Our goal right now is to do whatever it takes to make it to state.
"We know it won't be easy, but that's a way of making us stronger on the mat and in life."
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