Franklin wrestling team nabs two individual titles, E.H. Stech Invitational crown
Gavin Devine, Kyle Smith capture championships as the Sabers win the 17-team field
Franklin - They've been at for 12 years, always finishing well, but never quite grabbing the brass ring, but this time around, the Franklin wrestling team used individual titles from Gavin Devine and Kyle Smith to pull away for the championship in the E.H. Stech Invitational last weekend at West Allis Central.
"Winning the tournament was a nice confidence builder for the team, but we still have a lot of little things to improve on if we want to reach our goals at the end of the season," said coach Chad Phillippi. "The coaches were very impressed with Noah Larson's, Louden Brown's, and Gavin Devine's performances. These underclassmen are great examples of how working hard in the room leads to success on the mat."
The Sabers, who will close out the December portion of its schedule on Saturday at the Badger State Invitational at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, led almost every round at the 17-school Stech en route to a 166-point performance as Janesville Craig (144.5) was second and Wauwatosa (133) third.
The returning state qualifier Smith was sound in taking the 195-pound title, as after a first-round bye, he recorded successive pins over Waterford (0:25), Germantown (1:26) and Mukwonago (2:21) opponents in improving to 15-2 on the season.
Devine (13-2) turned in an even stronger effort in taking the 220-pound class, as he recorded four pins over Menasha (0:42), Germantown (1:25), Whitnall (1:22) and Racine Park (5:47).
The Sabers had two other finalists, as 106-pounder Xianou Xiong defeated Germantown and Waterford opponents by decisions before losing to an opponent from Whitnall by a 12-2 count in the championship.
And at 113, Larson pinned Janesville Craig (3:00) and Waterford (4:34). He was illegally slammed by a West Allis Central opponent in the semifinal and claimed a default victory, but was unable to contest the final because of the injury sustained in the semifinal.
The Sabers took three other top six medals, as Brown was fourth at 120 (3-2, 7-10); Roman Stiff was third at 145 (4-1, 16-2) and Myles Devine at 182 was also third (4-1, 15-2).
Others winning at least two matches on the weekend included Daniel Peyer at 160 (2-2, 5-10) and Jake Harman at 285 (2-2, 7-8) and all but one Franklin wrestler won at least one match.
Phillippi said the victory is a strong building block for a team that had only three seniors in 2011-12 and is looking for big things this winter.
"Hopefully, we can build on our success this week during practice and take the momentum into the Badger State Tournament this weekend," he said.
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