Mukwonago wrestlers headed to state
A solid workmanlike effort gave the Mukwonago wrestling team a 38-21 dual victory over West Allis Central in a WIAA Division 1 team sectional on Tuesday evening.
The Indians did post three pins – all coming at the most crucial times – but for the most of the night, they gutted out some hard-fought matches and gradually pulled away from the Bulldogs.
“It was real steady,” Mukwonago head coach Jon Wierzbicki said. “We got nine of the 14 matches. It was just a real good team effort for us, and we’re just happy to get back to the state tournament.”
Mukwonago advances to meet Sauk Prairie in the quarterfinals of the state team tourney on March 1 in Madison. The Indians were last in the team tournament in 2011.
“It’s a great step for our program,” Wierzbicki continued. “We’ve had a lot of peaks and valleys this year, and to be in Madison is a real thrill. I’m real proud of our guys.”
For the Bulldogs, the loss was a setback in a late-season surge that saw them pass rival West Allis Hale twice, for second in the Greater Metro Conference Tournament, then first in their regional meet.
They can still look forward to a large representation in an individual sectional meet this Saturday at Waukesha West.
“We didn’t wrestle as well as we did Saturday (in winning the regional),” head coach Jon Nelson said. “We wrestled OK, and they (the Indians) are a good team. I’m proud of my guys, but we have to take it a notch up on Saturday with the individual guys.”
The sectional dual opened with a marquee matchup of Mukwonago’s Hank Mattson and Central’s Mark Choinski at 132 pounds. Mattson nursed a 3-1 lead late in the third period before pinning Choinski in 4 minutes, 36 seconds.
In the next match at 138, Central’s Alan Silva trailed Tommy Kolasinski 6-2 after one period but opened the second with a flourish, taking control and pinning Kolasinski in 2:15 to square the dual at 6-6.
At 145, Mukwonago’s Joe Mattson dropped Ryan Ulbrich in 1:09 as the Indians took a 12-6 dual lead. They would never look back.
Mukwonago’s Tyler Wozny shaded Chris Helm, 5-4, in overtime at 152 for a 15-6 advantage.
At 160, Central’s Dylan Diebitz tipped Kirk Zylke, 1-0, then at 170, the Bulldogs’ Jason Alvarez broke a 1-1 tie in the third period and beat Alex Winski, 6-1.
That pulled Central within 15-12, but Mukwonago won the next three matches.
Will Hendriksen beat Sergey Zelenyuk with a 12-2 major decision at 182, then Mayson Madden dropped Tong Vang at 195 and Mitch Major downed Troy Evans at 220, both by 8-2 counts. That put Mukwonago on top 25-12.
Those wrestlers all moved up a class due to an injury at heavyweight, and Wierzbicki said they all adapted well.
Heavyweight Robert Torres kept hope alive for Central by pinning Tom Stingl in 5:16, trimming the deficit to 25-18.
At 106, though, Mukwonago’s Nathan Smith beat Tyus White, 10-2, and at 113, Mukwonago’s Nick Armstrong dropped Alex Gamache in 3:41 to clinch the dual at 35-18.
“I think the continuous wrestling really helped, and never giving up,” Smith said about his key major decision. “It’s just keeping going and having the energy to pull it off.”
At 120, Mukwonago’s Darius Schwartz beat Tere White, 5-2, and at 126, Central’s Jose Ramos blanked Nate Arquinego, 6-0.
“We were happy to make it here,” Nelson said, “but we definitely weren’t satisfied. We put it out there, and I’m glad we kept it close. We try to always peak at the end (of the season), but it just wasn’t enough tonight.”
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