Veteran Indians grapplers overwhelm Warhawks in opening border battle
Falls wins first seven matches in 54-18 victory
Germantown wrestling coach Casey Gabrielson summed up his team's opening night, 54-18, rout at the hands of border rival Menomonee Falls on Nov. 28 thusly:
"It was like men against boys in a lot of cases and, in that situation, men are always going to win," he said.
And that it was, as the Indians, with returning state place-winner Bill Holz leading the way, claimed the first seven matches and never looked back.
Indians coach Jim McMahon downplayed the meaning of the impressive win, but was still pleased with the effort.
"We're still young," he said. "We're still putting together a set lineup and we have a lot of competitive spots yet."
McMahon, whose team sent its varsity to the Slinger Invitational and its junior varsity to the Nicolet Invite on Saturday (see Sports Wrapups), have increased numbers (53) and a great many veteran wrestlers back.
Along with Holz at 126, Alooya Olapo is another returning state qualifier who competed at 195 pounds this particular evening.
"The numbers are great for us," McMahon said. "It's the Junior Indians' program starting to pay dividends for us. We're going to get everyone a match on Saturday, as we'll send our freshmen up to Plymouth. It's a nice group this year, with a lot of good kids and good parents."
Warhawks have youth
Meanwhile, Gabrielson has about 44 wrestlers out this season.
In a good news/bad news situation about half the team is freshmen. The Warhawks will build around returning state qualifier Hunter Higginbotham, who's competing at 285 pounds this season. Brandon Goesch, who narrowly missed out on a state berth last season and who is competing at 138 and Tyler Baran at 160, will also help.
"This will probably be the poorest group we'll have in the next four years but it will get better," Gabrielson said. "Just hats off to Falls tonight, they were as good as we thought they were. Maybe a (state) top 10 team."
Both coaches admitted that the starting point of the match, at 113 pounds, was most advantageous to the Indians.
"I think I won a lottery tonight," laughed McMahon. "It was the perfect place for us to start."
"When I saw that draw, I pretty much knew any chance at us getting any early momentum was out the window," Gabrielson said. "We started in the heart of the lineup. It was like going down 21-0 in a football game, just very hard to recover from."
Falls victories pile up
Falls started the match in a "no-quarter" fashion, as Aaron Daly at 113 (pin 0:52), Holz's freshman brother, Jerrot, at 120 (pin 1:48), Bill Holz at 126 (technical fall 4:17), Casey Crangle at 132 (pin 4:51), Austin Meyers at 138 (8-4 decision), Sam Schwabenlander at 145 (7-5 decision) and Jon Haririe at 152 (6-0 decision), all earned victories.
The score was 32-0 before Baran recorded a pin in 2:15 at 160 pounds for the Warhawks' first win.
Of those wins, McMahon was most impressed with the effort of Meyers, as it came against Goesch. He gave up the first takedown but then rallied.
"We had circled that match," McMahon said. "It was a very nice win for Austin."
Falls reasserted itself after Baran's pin, as Jake Fuitten at 170 (3:25) and Alex Koch at 182 (1:21) pinned their opponents with strong throws. Olapo, probably wrestling up a class at 195, then overpowered Germantown's Steve Asmondy with a 15-6 major decision.
Germantown earned pins from Joe Zizzo at 220 (1:17) and Higginbotham at 285 (0:19) before Falls Ian Virlee closed out the match with a pin against Warhawks freshman Zack Szohr at 106 (4:50).
The win for Virlee was significant because Szohr is a five-time state youth champion, but as he weighs only about 82 pounds, he was simply outmuscled by the larger Virlee.
"He was very nervous going into that match," Gabrielson said, "but I'm not worried about him. We'll work on some technique issues and I think he'll be fine in a couple of weeks."
"We were just too young tonight. We made a lot of middle school mistakes. We did do some good things but we have a lot of work to do."
Germantown also lost to to North Shore rival Whitefish Bay (45-27) on Nov. 29 and took part in the Kiel Duals on Saturday (see Sports Wrapups).
McMahon also praised the work of Virlee and Fuiten. He said the Indians are just getting started on what he hopes is a successful campaign.
"We also have a lot of work to do," McMahon said.
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