As Menomonee Falls wrestling coach Jim McMahon likes to point out, there's been a lot of high-octane noise and excitement made in the old West Allis Central fieldhouse — a fair amount of it made in the last 19 years or so when the Indians and the host Bulldogs have met up in pivotal Greater Metro Conference dual meets.
The final such dual occurred Thursday, Dec. 8, as the visiting Indians used a fast, four-pin start and then a strong finish to get a big leg up in the GMC race with a 48-28 victory. It is the final match between the two teams, as Central will move to the Woodland Conference next year.
"It was a great win in a great place to wrestle," McMahon said. "A lot of history has been made here."
The Indians won despite having to forfeit two weight classes and juggle a few classes in the upper weights.
"We put together a good game plan tonight," her said. "It's going to change from week to week, and we hope the kids understand and buy into that. Our seniors are doing a great job, and as soon as we get our sophomores up to speed, we'll put things together."
Central coach Jon Nelson was pragmatic about the loss but noted the Bulldogs, who suffered eight pins on this night, need to do a better job of staying off their backs.
"We're still putting things together," he said. "We keep telling ourselves that we're in these duals, but we can't give up as many pins as we are."
Falls improved to 2-0 in GMC duals with the victory. West Allis Central edged the Indians last season to secure the GMC dual meet title with Falls coming back to win the tournament title.
The Indians started the match right in their wheelhouse, as state tournament qualifier Austin Lasanske at 132 pounds (3:04) and state meet runner-up Eric Wunsch at 138 (1:56) recorded pins, Noah Dakouras at 145 (1:11) and McMahon's son Josh at 152 (4:11) got sticks of their own as Falls went up 24-0.
"We just have some very good wrestlers this year," said coach McMahon, "and they got us the pins we needed. Hopefully, we hope we won't have to put the pressure on ourselves to get pins everytime out."
Wunsch said that the Indians were primed for this match.
"We always get excited for Central," he said. "We have a little bit of urgency this year because a lot of us are seniors and we want to accomplish as much as we can."
But the Bulldogs have some history of their own, and they weren't about to go under without a fight as they won five straight bouts. Joe Gerhartz recorded a 9-1 major decision at 160, while Jake Schultz pulled out a 3-1 decision at 170. Dustin Diebetz picked up a forfeit at 182, while Julien Rivera recorded a pin (1:12) at 195.
And when the Bulldogs picked up another forfeit at 220, they were up, 25-24, on the Indians.
But it was a short-lived advantage.
After some tense early moments, Logan Fallon put Falls back up for good with a pin in 3:57 at 285, while hard-charging freshman 106-pounder Ethan Pogorzelski pinned in 3:15 to make it 36-25.. Alec Lind all but clinched the match for Falls with a stick of his own in 1:35 at 113.
Edwin Jimenez pulled out a 3-1 decision for Central at 120, but then Matt Anderson closed the meet out on a satisfying note for Falls with one last pin at 126.
Nelson said it's still early for his team, and a breakthrough may come any day.
"We're a big family (over 40 athletes on the team), and we're sticking together," he said. "We're just waiting for somebody to step up and lead the way. Help us turn the corner."
Meanwhile, Falls will look to build on its strong start.
"We want to stay positive, act like we expect to win," coach McMahon said.
Wunsch added, "We keep our minds right, we'll be OK. This was a good win, an important win for us. It's a good start."