High school wrestlers from throughout Wisconsin, many of them among the state's best, will compete Saturday at Whitnall's 26th annual Zelinski Memorial Duals tournament. More than two dozen wrestlers who are ranked among the top ten statewide in the various weight classes will be among the 200 participating athletes.
Although individual matchups among likely state championship contenders will draw attention, the tournament is structured as a duals format, with emphasis on team performance. Each of the 16 teams will wrestle five other teams, with the brackets structured so that an unbeaten team will emerge with the championship late Saturday afternoon.
The odds-on favorite is Merrill, currently ranked second among Wisconsin's Division I teams. Other top contenders include Pulaski, West Allis Central, Mukwonago, Stoughton and Woodland Conference power Pewaukee.
The tourney, named for Whitnall's pre-eminent wrestling clan, requires dedicated volunteers to smoothly coordinate an event that draws several hundred participants and fans. "We'll have 50 to 60 people volunteering their Saturday," said Whitnall coach John Quinlan. "These are parents, alumni and fans who want to give back to the program. It's neat for the sport and for the community as a whole."
Tournament proceeds go to a scholarship fund which has raised and awarded more than $91,000 thus far.
Wrestling takes place on eight mats simultaneously beginning at 9:15 a.m.
Falcons Back in Title Hunt
Before taking off for final exams, the Whitnall wrestlers got back into contention for the Woodland Conference championship--with a little help from Wauwatosa. While Whitnall was improving its conference record to 5-1 with a win over the combined team from Greendale and Thomas More, the Tosa team was handing Pewaukee its first-ever Woodland Conference loss. Winner of the last six conference championships, Pewaukee had 49 consecutive Woodland wins before dropping a 32-16 decision to the team made up of wrestlers from Wauwatosa's East and West High Schools.
Title-wise, Whitnall controls its own destiny but faces a daunting task. Wednesday, the Falcons travel to New Berlin Eisenhower to battle the combined Eisenhower-West team, a strong squad that was placed among the top three in preseason speculation. A Whitnall win there would set up a match for a share of the title a week later when the Falcons end the conference season at Wauwatosa against a team that is likely to be unbeaten at that point.
The win over Greendale/More was the Falcons twelfth in a row and improved their overall record to 17-8. The 41-24 victory featured pins by Whitnall's Blake Leslie, Anthony Senthavisouk, Ethan Harycki, Zach Barnhart and Ryan Olson; a technical fall by Nick Monty; and decisions by Dylan Kellner and Michael Langenohl.
- Three of the team's junior varsity wrestlers took first place in South Milwaukee's jayvee tournament last Saturday. Ethan Latus, Jordan Reiner and Juan Guzman were unbeaten in the tourney. Reiner has been perfect in all four junior varsity tournaments the team has entered this season.
- The Zelinski tournament live scoring and results will be found at www.mattrax.com (not TrackWrestling). Whitnall summaries as usual will be available via Twitter @whitwrestle.