Seth Nowak is proving to be quite a valuable member of the Whitnall wrestling team.
Nowak won a key match to help the Falcons down defending Woodland Conference champion Wauwatosa 35-31 on Jan. 16.
Going into Nowak's 120-pound match, which was the second-last of the evening, Whitnall led by one point, but Wauwatosa had top wrestler Kai Castaneda ready for the final bout.
Nowak comes through
That meant the Falcons needed a victory from Nowak at 120 pounds for some cushion, and he responded.
Nowak, who had moved from the third tier to starter, fell behind Dylan Christman 7-2 in the second period but scored seven straight points and then pinned his foe. That victory gave Whitnall an insurmountable 35-28 advantage.
Joe Price then dropped a tight 3-1 decision to three-time state qualifier Castaneda to close out the night.
Nowak came through in a late match for the second time this season.
"Seth has had two varsity matches and in both of them, the outcome of the team score depended on him, and he came through both times," co-head coach John Quinlan said. "I tell you, when there's two seconds left on the clock and the game is on the line, you want Seth at the free throw line."
Quinlan notched his 500th dual victory in his coaching career. Co-head coach Craig Austin posted his 200th triumph the previous week.
In the opening match, at 132 pounds, Dylan Kellner hit his head against his opponent's knee, leaving him unable to finish.
Juan Guzman, at 138 pounds, was pinned in the first period by state-ranked Ben Reagan, then Blake Leslie took a 7-2 decision at 145.
Nick Monty, who was coming off an illness, lost 16-6 to state qualifier Marcus Morrow as the Falcons fell behind 16-3.
At 160, Jon Homontowski trailed 8-0 in the first period but reversed his fortunes with a second-period pin.
"Jon's pin was huge," Quinlan said. "His coming back was the start of the team's comeback."
Ryan Olson and Michael Langenohl posted major decisions, with Olson moving to 11-0 on the season. Cysco Rodriguez and Ryan Keierleber were both pinned but Ethan Harycki won 6-0.
At 106 pounds, Nick Scarcello won 7-1 to narrow Tosa's lead to 28-23, then Anthony Senthavisouk posted a pin at 113 to put the Falcons up for good.
Senthavisouk had been in an auto accident earlier in the day but came through for the Falcons.
"The whole match went kind of the way we wanted it to, though we missed out on some team points," Quinlan said. "Wauwatosa wrestled smart all night."
Whitnall, which had lost to Tosa 48-14 and 43-21 in the past two seasons, improved to 5-1 in Woodland duals.
The Falcons next host their annual Zelinski Duals at 9 a.m. Jan. 25.
THE QUINLAN FILE
WHO: John Quinlan, Whitnall wrestling coach
WHAT: Quinlan posted his 500th dual victory in his career as the Falcons downed Wauwatosa 35-31
CAREER: Quinlan joined the Whitnall coaching staff in 1984 as a varsity wrestling assistant, but when the head coach resigned four practices into the season, he took over the top spot...his teams have won 18 conference championships, more than 36 tournament crowns and seven WIAA regional titles...he has coached 97 individual conference champions, 66 state qualifiers and 10 state place-winners...he was inducted into the Wisconsin State Coaches' Association Hall of Fame in 2012
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