Germantown wrestling coach Jeff Szohr gave credit to the West Allis School District administration and West Allis Central for bucking trends, following through and finishing up the two-day annual EH Stech Invitational on Dec. 17 when many other events were canceled or postponed by the hit-and-miss snow system that eventually covered most of southern Wisconsin over the past weekend.
"They stepped up and realized that we're living in Wisconsin," Szohr said. "So many things were canceled before it (the snow) even started. The people at the Stech had to adjust, make it a one-day tournament, but they did a great job.
"Kudos to Jon Nelson (Central coach) for getting this done (under difficult conditions)."
And it proved to be a good thing for the Warhawks, as they finished fourth of 10 teams in the reduced field. Waymon McNeal at 152 pounds remained unbeaten in winning the title in his class, and Dominique Bennett at 285 beat two state-ranked opponents in claiming the championship in his bracket.
Germantown, which will be off until Dec. 29 and 30, when it takes part in the 50-plus team Oshkosh on the Water Tournament, scored 151.5 points for its spot in the Stech, as Waterford won with 247 and Coleman was second with 227.
Officials postponed the Dec. 16 first day of competition, as the first round of the storm, which consisted of several inches of light snow, came in just after 3 p.m. that day. Roads were challenging but not impassable. The snow stopped at about 9:30-10 p.m. and did not start again until after 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17.
Stech officials arranged that the tournament would start early on Dec. 17 and finish in the afternoon before the storm resumed. Normally the two-day Stech has Saturday evening finals.
Szohr said it alll worked out well, especially for his two champions. He said the 13-1 Bennett should have been the meet MVP, as after pinning a Whitnall/Greendale opponent in the quarterfinals (1:08), he pinned Coleman's Donovan Salewski in 3:33 in the semifinals. Salewski had been the top-ranked state heavyweight heading into the Stech.
Bennett then won the title with a fall in 2:51 against seventh-ranked E.J. Mastrocola of Waterford.
Szohr said Bennett has taken his game to the next level.
"He acknowledged that to get to where he wants to go, he had to get himself in better cardio shape," Szohr said. "Now he can go with the really top kids, and he has all the moves to pin anyone he wants."
McNeal (15-0) is also a highly motivated individual at this stage, Szohr said. McNeal won his title by pinning a South Milwaukee opponent (1:44), tech-falling a Greenfield foe (4:56) and then beating Waterford's Austin Thomas, 5-0, in the final.
"Now that he's a senior, Waymon is more focused," he said. "He can go six minutes with anyone now when he has to."
At 145, Mason Wheeler (15-1) dropped his first match of the season, 9-3, to Waterford's A.J. Guardiola in the final after beating Wauwatosa and South Milwaukee opponents in earlier bouts. Szohr said Wheeler will now be more motivated than ever following the loss.
Kevin Tamboli (12-4) also made the final at 126, falling to Waterford's Sam Winski on a pin (3:52) after beating West Allis Central and Greenfield opponents.
Other places for the Warhawks included Colton Birkigt in fourth at 106 (12-4 overall), Isaac Riddle fourth at 132 (15-2), Eric Abel fourth at 138 (10-6), Hunter Warner fifth at 170 (5-6) and Jerry Bagley fifth at 182 (8-7).
"This meet was a good barometer of where we sit right now," Szohr said. "The kids will be dropping down (weight classes) soon, and then we can try to figure everything out."
The Warhawks also stayed unbeaten in North Shore duals with a 61-18 win over Grafton on Dec. 15.
Pins went to Riddle at 132, Asher Anderson at 152, Bagley at 182 and Bennett at 285.