Outscoring their five opponents by a combined total of 312 to 58, Whitnall High School wrestlers dominated the field in winning their third consecutive Panther Brawl Saturday at Palmyra-Eagle High School.
The victories included an 84-0 pasting of Kenosha Tremper, only the third time in school history that the Falcons have scored the maximum points possible in 14 weight classes. The other two were in Louisiana tournaments.
Whitnall's other wins Saturday were over Catholic Central (Burlington), 63-9; Westosha, 50-21; Lake Mills, 65-9; and tourney runner-up Union Grove, 50-19.
Anthony Senthavisouk, Nick Monty, Ryan Olson, Zach Barnhart, Michael Langenohl and Ethan Harycki were unbeaten in the tournament. Kevin Seyedin, Joe Price, Blake Leslie and Dylan Kellner each posted 4-1 records. Zach Price, Mark Burakowski and John Smith had three wins apiece, with each of Burakowski's coming via pin.
"It was a good day, a good team win," said coach John Quinlan. "Everybody who wrestled won at least once. We definitely didn't duck anybody in the first four weeks of the season, and that kind of showed today, especially when matching our freshmen and sophomores against other teams' freshmen and sophomores." Seven of the Whitnall wrestlers who were either undefeated or once-beaten are in their first or second year of high school.
Quinlan singled out Burakowski's effort while evaluating the team's performance. "Mark did a nice job, really showed some offense," said Quinlan, noting that Burakowski has been hampered by injuries and wrestled in three different weight classes during the first half of the season.
The Panther Brawl win came a week after the team finished seventh among 17 teams in a holiday tournament in Nashville, Tenn. The other 16 competitors were all from Tennessee or Alabama, several of them highly ranked. In the dual portion of the tourney, Whitnall went 2-2, including a loss to host Independence that was decided on the seventh criterion of a series of tie-breakers.
Individually, the Falcons were led by their "Zach Attck," senior co-captains Zach Price and Zach Barnhart. Price was the lone Whitnall medalist, finishing third with a 7-2 record. Barnhart was 8-1 but due to the pairings wound up in fifth place, along with Monty. Senthavisouk, Hyricki and Leslie each recorded fourth place finishes.
The annual southern trip, for which the wrestlers (and their parents) raise funds throughout the year, featured a visit to Civil War battlefields this year and concluded with the Tennessee Titans NFL game.
"The Nashville trip helped a lot in bringing this team together," Quinlan said. "When you're traveling together for five straight days, it can go either way, but this trip definitely brought us together."
The team will be tested twice in the coming week as it returns to Woodland Conference action. Wednesday night, Whitnall hosts South Milwaukee in a contest that could be decided by the performance of the wrestlers that don't win. "That one will be really tough," Quinlan predicted, "and it could be decided by how well we can stay off our backs in the matches that go against us." Seniors and parents will be recognized prior to the 7:00 pm start.
The following night, wrestling alumni will be honored prior to the rescheduled match against Greendale. That will be the final home dual for the Falcons.
- Hampered initially by football injuries and then a shoulder injury in a wrestling match, Nick Monty has been a pleasant surprise for his coaches. The 138 (and sometimes 145) pounder is 12-2 in his last 14 matches. "He's really shown the talent he has after he recovered from the injuries," said Quinlan.
- In addition to the varsity wrestlers, several reserves made the Nashville trip and were plugged into competition where there were openings in the brackets (and notably each of them won at least once). The brackets resulted in two Whitnall 103-pounders, Jared Besler and Josh Rinka, facing each other in a consolation match. Unconcerned with the outcome since the two wrestle each other frequently in practice, the pair conspired to set the school --or tournament--quick-pin record, according to a knowledgeable source. When the whistle blew at the start of the match, Rinka immediately assumed the possum-road-kill position and Besler recorded a six-second pin--although it might merit an asterisk in the record book.