West Allis Hale wrestlers show heart in repeating as champs
Huskies down Indians to finish 6-0 in GMC
West Allis - The first thing Hale wrestling coach Randy Ferrell wanted people to know after the Huskies won their second straight Greater Metro Conference dual-meet title with a 40-25 victory over host Menomonee Falls on Jan. 24 was the team philosophy.
"We tell them that intensity and heart will carry you through the toughest of times," he said. "We work the kids hard and we want them to know that the room (the practice area) will be the toughest place that they will have to go through. Everything else will be easier than that."
Ferrell knows that by living that philosophy and carrying out this important victory, his wrestlers were able to bring something important back to the school.
"We don't get to celebrate back-to-back titles in many sports here," Ferrell said, "so to repeat like this was a big deal for us."
The Huskies finished 6-0 in conference duals, while Falls wound up second at 5-1.
Hale and West Allis Central shared the GMC dual-meet crown last season, then the Huskies went on to claim the tournament championship over the Bulldogs.
Huskies pull off rallies
The Huskies' philosophy carried them through in many matches against Falls, including several rallies that Hale grapplers used to pull out tough victories.
It started with the Huskies' first victory of the evening at 138 pounds, as Josh Petrovich rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory over Austin Meyers.
Similar rallies were carried out by Maurice Beck at 145 (11-5 decision), Jon Baltz at 106 (9-4 decision) and Trevor Kruzick at 120 (5-3 decision).
Baltz's victory over the Indians' Aaron Daly in one of the evening's high-profile matches provided the Huskies with their clinching points, making it 37-19 Hale with just two matches to go.
"He had just earned honorable mention (on the Crossface state rankings), so that was very big for him," Ferrell said of Baltz.
Falls had taken a 19-18 lead courtesy of an impressive pin by Jake Fuiten over the Huskies' Logan Mocco at 170 (4:20) and Ayoola Olapo's 13-4 major decision over Hale's Jordan Plantiko at 182. It was Olapo's 30th victory of the season.
Big guys shine
The Huskies' big guys then put on a show, as Andrew Buelow at 195 (pin 2:59), Dallas Wanta at 220 (13-3 major decision) and heavyweight Ryan Vankerkvoorde (pin 3:44) set up Baltz for his clinching decision.
Ferrell pointed to several key efforts, including those of Petrovich, Beck, Jake Gruichich at 152 (pin 4:37), Baltz and Kruzick.
"That was a great win for Trevor (Kruzick)," Ferrell said. "He's been with the team (on varsity) for four years and that was just a huge quality win over Jerott (Holz)."
Taylor Tomczak got the other victory for Hale at 160 pounds with a pin in 3:06.
For Indian coach Jim McMahon, it was a disappointing showing before a noisy and loud home crowd.
"We lost a lot of the 50/50 matches," he said. "We got outhustled and outmaneuvered in some situations and that hurt. But congratulations to them (the Huskies); they took it to us."
Falls had taken a 9-0 lead courtesy of an 11-6 decision by Bill Holz at 126 and a pin in 3:47 by Casey Crangle at 132. The Indians' only other victory was Ben Bonesho's forfeit at 113.
Clash at GMC tourney
The two teams will meet again at the GMC tournament at 3:30 p.m. Friday at Marquette.
"The kids were really focused on what we had to do," Ferrell said. "We had some very good days of practice and we asked them to lock in on the basics. But this is just a start; we're still looking for some big-time, big-tourney results in the end."
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