Last year's Greater Metro Conference tournament title won at Marquette was a bit of a surprise for the Menomonee Falls wrestling team.
But this year, before their own home fans Friday night, the Indians took the favorite's mantle and wore it proudly, earning four individual titles and six second place finishes in cruising to a repeat tournament championship.
"It's just a good way to end the regular season," said a tired Falls coach Jim McMahon, who was helping with the clean-up well after the 9:30 p.m. finish. "It was nice to defend. We definitely came in as the favorite and we talked to the kids about it.
"We told them that they should go out and win this tournament. They did and they took a lot of pressure off themselves by doing it."
The Indians scored 256-1/2 points to easily outdistance runner-up West Allis Central (211-1/2) and third place West Allis Hale (197). The title was also the first-ever repeat championship for the Indians in the 17-year history of the GMC and it also marked the first time that Falls had won both the dual meet and tournament championships in the same season.
Individual titles were clamied by Aaron Daly at 113 pounds, Bill Holz at 120, McMahon's son Jake at 138 and by Jake Fuiten at 182.
For Holz, it was his third straight league crown while for Daly it was his second.
Falls also had six individual runner-up finishes, as Eric Wunsch at 106, Jeff Kleser at 126, Casey Crangle at 145, Tyler Simcock at 160, Brandon Schafer at 195 and Trayvon Handy at 285 all made the finals as well.
The Indians won the title despite coming up a bit short of Coach McMahon's goal of 20 pins for the meet (they had 10).
In a nice turn of events, the veteran coach couldn't help but be proud for his son, who earned his first-ever individual league title.
Jake McMahon picked up a first-round bye and then pinned a Central opponent (1:52) and then overpowered a Marquette foe by a major decision (12-4) in the final to finish undefeated for the conference season.
"I really credit my kid," laughed Coach McMahon. "It's very nice. He takes part in three sports (cross country and track too) and I don't know where he finds the time. He just gets the most mileage (out of his talent)."
Daly had a first-round bye too and then beat Brookfield Central foe by major decision (12-2) and then edged a Hale opponent in the final, 4-2. He will likely go down to 106 pounds for next Saturday's WIAA regional tourney, which the Indians will also host.
It's the weight class in which he was state runner-up in 2013.
Holz continued his dominating season with a sound tournament. He had a bye and then beat a Sussex Hamilton opponent on a technical fall before overpowering a West Allis Central foe, 10-4, in the final.
Fuiten kept his late-season surge going with an impressive effort. After a bye, he pinned a Hamilton competitor (1:18) and then stuck a Hale foe, who he had to work hard to beat in a dual meet earlier this season, with a spectacular move at the edge of the mat right at the end of the first period (1:59).
"It was 0-0 and we were all ready to go to the second period and then he pulls that off," said Coach McMahon. "It was really sweet."
The only real disappointment on the day was Crangle, who entered the tourney ranked in the state's top five and was a defending league champion. He fell to Central's tough Mark Choinski, 8-5, in the final.
"Their dual had been a close match too," said Coach McMahon.
The coach was pleased for the senior Kleser, who qualified for state as a freshman, but then struggled to make the varsity line-up the last few years. Fellow senior Austin Klein also had two pins in taking third at 132, and the freshman Schafer continued to impress with his runner-up finish at 195.
Freshman Eric Wunsch also came in for praise, as he has held down the fort well at 106, losing only to a tough Central opponent in the final.
"He really struggled early in his youth career," said Coach McMahon, "but he's a kid who's worked his way through our ranks to become a great asset to our program."
Overalll, Coach McMahon, whose team advanced to the WIAA State Team Tournament last season, thought the title was a lesson in patience as Falls had all 14 wrestlers finish in the top five of their respective weight classes.
"We were just steady all night," he said. "Everyone contributed. Good things happen to those who persevere and tonight we persevered."
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