The 5-0 record the Warhawks turned in in winning the Travis Wichlasz West Bend Multi-Dual Tournament on Jan. 9 lifted their season dual-meet record to 17-2. Their only two losses have been in the first rounds of other dual-meet tournaments that coach Jeff Szohr felt the Warhawks could have won.
'In both instances, it was because we weren't warmed up and ready to go,' Szohr said.
But it was clear the Warhawks were warmed up and ready to go as their only challenge came in the forfeit-filled 36-34 win over Waterford in the finals.
'It was a really good effort,' said coach Szohr, 'because we fought the way we should have. We'd been coming here a long time and had never won it, but we knew going in that we had an opportunity for a very good day.'
Germantown, which also remained undefeated in North Shore Conference duals by routing Homestead on Jan. 7, can take a major step towards securing the NSC dual meet title when it hosts two-time defending league champion Cedarburg in a dual meet Thursday, Jan. 14.
The Warhawks won five straight NSC crowns between 1996-97 and 2000-2001 but have not claimed a title since. Szohr feels the team is rounding into good shape and will get even better when top-flight junior Waymon McNeal is slated to return from his thumb injury later this month.
At West Bend, Germantown beat Marquette (66-18), West Bend East (61-12), Milwaukee Madison (78-0) and West Bend West (46-36) prior to the victory over Waterford.
The biggest lessons Szohr feels the team is learning is responsibility to one another. He said that applies to his son Zack at 106 pounds, who the Warhawks expect to win almost every time out, as well as to the likes of solid wrestlers like Devon Holt (195), Mason Wheeler (138) and Anthony Brooks (160), all of whom stayed off their backs to superior Waterford opponents in the dual meet final at West Bend.
There were six forfeits in that final as Szohr said the Wolverines rely heavily on six great wrestlers but don't have much depth behind them.
'There was a lot of chess being played out there,' he said in terms of the individual matchups.
Holt (major decision), Brooks (decision) and Wheeler (decision) all lost their matches, but they did not get pinned, and that helped a great deal, coach Szohr said.
'They fought back,' he said. 'People watching us are learning that there is nothing more exciting than watching the kids fight for each other. We're teaching the kids not to quit on yourselves (even when losing). You don't quit on yourself, you don't quit on the other 13 teammates who are counting on you.'
What also helped is the Warhawks got two critical wins at the start of the meet that they may not have been expecting. Dominique Bennett (285 pounds) ran his streak of consecutive pins to eight when he beat Ed Mastrocola on a stick in 1:09. With that win, Bennett avenged a loss to Mastrocola in the final of the Stech Tournament in West Allis last month.
That was followed by a pin in 20 seconds by the Warhawks' 106-pounder, Colton Birkigt, to give Germantown a 12-0 lead.
Those were the only actual match wins the Warhawks had in the match, as forfeits went to Zack Szohr at 113, Jimmy Nguyen at 132, Landon Valenta at 182 and David Nilles at 220.
Best records on the day for the Warhawks included Zack Szohr at 106 and 113 (5-0 with two pins); Nilles at 220 (5-0, two pins); Bennett at 285 (5-0, two pins); Kevin Tamboli at 120 and 126 (4-1, two pins); Eric Abel at 120-126 (3-1, two pins); Jimmy Nguyen at 132-138 (5-0, two pins); Mason Wheeler at 138-145 (4-1, two pins); and Tommy Nelson at 152 (4-0, three pins).
All those who went 5-0 or came in with one loss got medals, said coach Szohr, who was pleased with the team's depth.
'It shows that we really don't have a weak wrestler out there,' he said.