Germantown wrestler Zack Szohr was one of many grapplers honored by the Warhawks on Jan. 14 in the Senior Night dual with two-time North Shore Conference champion Cedarburg.
Most of the seniors have been on varsity since freshmen or sophomore year and have taken their lumps, growing stronger and more capable as they've gotten older.
Both Zack and his dad, Germantown coach Jeff Szohr, would love nothing more than for the Warhawks to cap things off with an NSC title, their first since 2001.
They took a major step in that direction against Cedarburg, as they won both the match-up and intensity battle with the Bulldogs, 43-21.
'This was an awesome win over the defending champs,' said Zack Szohr, Germantown's best wrestler. 'It got us one step closer because it's been Dad's dream (a title) since he took over the program. It would be pretty cool to do it.'
Dad thinks so, too.
'This goes a long ways towards it,' said Jeff Szohr, who heaped a large pile of praise upon his team in the postmatch huddle. 'This is what we want to do. We want to peak at the end.'
Germantown is 5-0 in North Shore duals with matches left against Port Washington and Milwaukee Lutheran.
The Bulldogs have dominated the NSC circuit the last couple of seasons, but this year, graduation losses have taken their toll on them as they are now known as a team with three or four powerful grapplers and not as much depth.
The Warhawks took advantage of that situation, cruising out to a big lead and then never looking back. Junior Dominique Bennett at 285 pounds and sophomore Colton Birkigt at 106 accepted forfeits to start the match, and the march to victory was on.
Coach Szohr was proud to acknowledge the Warhawks were the aggressors in almost all their bouts ('We attack,' he said) and picked up the first takedown in eight of nine individual matches.
Freshman Jeff Brezonick then won an 11-0 major decision at 113, and that was followed by a forfeit to Zack Szohr at 120. Junior Kevin Tamboli gutted out a 3-2 decision at 126, while senior Jimmy Nguyen pinned his man in 2:58.
By the time the run was over, the Warhawks were up 31-0 and more than on their way toward achieving the basic winning wrestling math of getting seven match victories (out of a possible 14) in a dual.
'It's a road map to 32 points or seven wins,' he said. 'You get there, you're pretty much on your way.'
Germantown effectively won the meet at 145 when sophomore Mason Wheeler claimed an 8-1 decision. Other victories went to members of the senior class, including Anthony Brooks at 170 (8-1 decision), Landon Valenta at 182 (8-2) and David Nilles at 220 (3-0).
Zack Szohr said the team has a lot going for it right now.
'We're one of the most mature teams out there right now,' he said. 'Most of us have been on varsity for a long time, and our work ethic is amazing. Everyone works so hard day in and day out. We know what to do to toughen ourselves up.'
His dad noted that while the conference title is a major goal, there are other marks out there the Warhawks would like to achieve, including multiple individual state-meet qualifiers and a possible state team qualification. He said he wants the team 'as strong as possible' at season's end.
And he couldn't praise the team leaders enough.
'This team has grown together,' he said, 'and that's why we don't have individual captains, we have multiple captains. Our seniors are our captains. They've put this program on the right track.'