For the 24th consecutive year, Whitnall High School will be represented at the WIAA state high school wrestling championships.
Anthony Senthavisouk won a sectional title and Zach Barnhart took runner-up, qualifying both Whitnall wrestlers for the state tournament in Madison next weekend.
Whitnall finished fifth overall in Saturday's tournament at Waukesha West High School.
Senthavisouk, a 106-pound sophomore ranked third in Wisconsin, defeated three wrestlers who have a combined 97 victories among them this season. Competing in one of the strongest weight classes of the sectional, Senthavisouk won 5-4, 10-6 and 4-3 decisions en route to his title and a 46-4 record.
He'll face Arrowhead freshman Aidan Yde (33-10) in the state tournament's opening round.
Barnhart, ranked 15th in the state in the 170-pound class, shut out his first two opponents by 7-0 and 8-0 scores before losing 10-3 to Brookfield Central's Elliot Yanasak, who had also defeated him earlier in the season. Barnhart, the co-captain and only senior among Whitnall's nine sectional qualifiers, will take a 43-8 record into the UW's Kohl Center for the tournament opener Thursday. He'll meet Beaver Dam senior Jackson Bailey (39-2).
Sophomore 152-pounder Ryan Olson narrowly missed the Madison bus when he lost the wrestleback qualifier 7-5 to Greenfield's Tyler Dorfner. Olson had beaten Dorfner twice earlier in the season. Prior to that match Olson had a pair of wins Saturday, including his sixth come-from-behind victory of the season. His first varsity campaign ends with a 31-21 mark.
Another sophomore who joined the elite 30-win club but fell short of state tournament qualifying was 220-pounder Ethan Harycki. His wins Saturday included a first-period pin of New Berlin's Emilio Gutierrez (34-9), who had beaten him twice previously. But Harycki was pinned in the wrestleback qualifier and his season ended with a 33-15 record.
Blake Leslie (126) improved his record to 32-15 before losing his semifinal and consolation matches. Whitnall's other four qualifiers--Joe Price, Dylan Kellner, Michael Langenohl and Nick Monty--were each eliminated in the opening round.
"For the team overall, it was a solid showing," coach John Quinlan said at the end of the day. "Going in, I thought we'd be happy to get two state tournament qualifiers and we are, though it was a little disappointing knowing we had two others with a close shot at going.
"But it lays good groundwork for next year," the coach added. "We'll have eight guys from this sectional returning next year, and hopefully it makes them hungrier to take the next step."
The competition is over for all but two Falcons, but not practice. With the two state qualifiers at opposite ends of the weight spectrum, coaches Quinlan and Craig Austin will be using the entire team to prepare Barnhart and Senthavisouk for Thursday.
"We'll have the whole team there for practices," said Quinlan. "It's the Whitnall team concept of everybody trying to push those guys so they're ready for the weekend."