Hale's intensity too much for Falls' grapplers in GMC dual title match, 40-25
League tourney set for Friday
Former Menomonee Falls wrestling coach Jeff Dillman was like a caged tiger pacing in the corner of the Indian gym on Jan. 24 during Falls' 40-25 dual meet loss to West Allis Hale.
The Indians and current Falls coach Jim McMahon were trying to win their first Greater Metro Conference championship in seven years, instead, the Huskies used their superior depth to repeat as league dual meet titlists.
Dillman, having endured the highs and lows of winning and losing his own league crowns in the past, understood what McMahon and the team must be feeling.
"I've been in duals like that a 100 times," he said afterward, "and I know how it works. Someone loses a match and the next guy goes out there and tries to make up for it, throwing in the kitchen sink and then he tires himself. Sometimes it's hard to pace yourself."
McMahon understands that concept too, but for him, it was a disappointing showing before a noisy and loud home crowd as Falls was trying to claim a share of its first league title since 2006.
"We lost a lot of the 50/50 matches," he said. "We got outhustled and outmaneuvered in some situations and that hurt. This was a big check mark we had on our list this season and we didn't quite meet expectations."
"We knew that pins and bonus points would count for a lot and a couple of matches that we thought we'd get got away from us."
"But congratulations to them (the Huskies), they took it to us."
In a way, the Indians fell into the trap that Dillman spoke of, as the Huskies used a basic philosophy to keep themselves in matches, even when they fell behind.
"We tell them that intensity and heart will carry you through the toughest of times," Hale coach Randy Ferrell said. "We work the kids hard and we want them to know that the room (the practice area) will be the toughest place that they will have to go through. Everything else will be easier than that."
That mantra came through loud and clear on the Huskies' first win of the evening at 138 pounds, as Josh Petrovich rallied from a 2-0 deficit for a 3-2 victory over the Indians' Austin Meyers. Similar rallies were carried out by Maurice Beck at 145 (11-5 decision), Jon Baltz at 106 (9-4 decision) and Trevor Kruzick at 120 (5-3 decision).
And it was Baltz's win over the Indians' Aaron Daly in one of the evening's high-profile matches that provided the Huskies with their clinching points. His win made it 37-19 Hale with just two matches to go.
Falls had taken a 19-18 lead courtesy of an impressive pin by Jake Fuiten over the Huskies' Logan Mocco at 170 (4:20) and Ayoola Olapo's 13-4 major decision over Hale's Jordan Plantiko at 182. It was Olapo's 30th win of the season.
But then the Huskies' big guys put on a show, as Andrew Buelow at 195 (pin 2:59); Dallas Wanta at 220 (13-3 major decision) and heavyweight Ryan Vankerkvoorde (pin 3:44) set up Baltz for his clinching decision.
Ferrell pointed to several key efforts including those of Petrovich, Beck, Jake Gruichich at 152 (pin 4:37), Baltz and Kruzick.
Taylor Tomczak got the other win for Hale at 160 pounds with a pin in 3:06.
Falls had taken a 9-0 lead courtesy of an 11-6 decision by Bill Holz at 126 and a pin in 3:47 by Casey Crangle at 132. The Indians only other victory was Ben Bonesho's forfeit at 113.
The two teams will meet again at the GMC Tournament on Friday, Feb. 1 at Marquette. Hale can either complete a clean sweep of league titles there just as they did last year or the Indians can come back and claim a piece of the crown.
"We're still in good shape," said McMahon, whose team was also at the Sheboygan South Invitational last Saturday (see sportswraps for results). "This group still has a lot of wrestling in it yet."
Dillman knows that this defeat will sting for awhile but senses that Falls will rebound from it.
"Sometimes a loss like this can be the best thing that can happen to a team," he said.
Hale beats Falls for GMC wrestling crown
But future bright for Indians
BACK INTO THE GAME: After several years out of direct coaching, Dillman was back at it this fall serving as an assistant with the Falls North Middle School wrestling team, and he was very encouraged by what he saw. "We were 10-0 in duals and even won a tournament," he said. "I think we'll be sending eight or nine really good eighth graders up to the (high school) team next year."
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