Win Over South Milwaukee Earns Runner-Up Spot in Woodland Conference for Whitnall Wrestlers
Winning ten of 14 matches en route to a 50-16 victory over South Milwaukee, the Whitnall High School wrestlers finished the dual meet season in second place in the Woodland Conference.
Unbeaten Pewaukee (7-0), which accounted for Whitnall's lone conference loss, defeated third-place New Berlin's combined team to take top honors. Whitnall, meanwhile, equaled its best conference record since winning the dual championship in 2003. In 15 Woodland and Parkland Conference seasons, the Falcons have posted 155 wins against just 28 defeats.
Wednesday's win at South Milwaukee "went somewhat as we expected," said John Quinlan, who shares head coaching duties with Craig Austin. "Our effort was there, and we came out of it healthy for the most part," said Quinlan, looking ahead to the February 5 conference tournament.
Senior tri-captains Matt Price, Nathan Barnhart and Kameron Bourgeois each finished their conference dual meet careers with wins over South Milwaukee. Bourgeois (112 pounds) won by forfeit; Price (140) won by technical fall after mounting a 17-2 lead; and Barnhart (171) took a 9-3 decision. Barnhart and Bourgeois finished the season undefeated in conference matches.
Ian Coleman (145), John McGee (160), Ruben Garcia (125) and Troy McGee (130) pinned their South Milwaukee opponents, while Richie Sowinski (119) picked up a forfeit. Falcons Mason Howard (152) and Joe Price (103) outpointed their Rocket opponents.
The McGee brothers, freshman Troy and junior John, and freshman Joe Price each won praise from Quinlan, not only for their Wednesday wins but for progress they've made since the start of the season. "Both McGees wrestled very well tonight," he said, "and Joey (Price) bounced back really well." Price, encountering a string of well-regarded opponents at Whitnall's Zelinski Duals Jan. 22, had lost seven consecutive matches prior to his winning bout Wednesday.
Price and Troy McGee are two of five freshmen who were in the Whitnall varsity lineup at various times during the past season. "We had at least three freshmen in every match," said Quinlan, looking back on the season. "They had to grow up real fast."
That growth, according to Quinlan, was a big factor in the 6-1 conference record by a team that had been picked to finish no higher than fourth in most coaches' preseason predictions. Overall, the team won 21 dual meets while dropping ten. The victories included an upset in the Zielinski tourney over perennial state powerhouse Stoughton. Other highlights, Quinlan said, were the win over conference foe New Berlin and wins over two ranked teams when the Falcons visited South Carolina.
Next up for Whitnall is the Woodland Conference tournament at Greenfield High School on Saturday, Feb. 5. A week later, the team will be in regional competition to start the road to the WIAA State High School Wrestling championships.
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