Wrestling: Wrestlers trump Eagles again

 

Jan. 29

By Christopher Clapper

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

After winning 14 straight conference titles from 1998-2011, the No. 14-ranked UW-La Crosse Eagles, once the golden boys of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, have now lost two straight dual meets to the No. 3-ranked UW-Whitewater Warhawks.

Jan. 23 demonstrated just how far the Warhawks have jumped ahead of the Eagles.

Zac Denny set the tone at the 125-pound weight class with a 6-4 victory over Ryan Weinmman, which gave the Warhawks an early 3-0 lead they would never relinquish.

A battle of two top 10-ranked wrestlers saw the Warhawks’ No. 4-ranked Jimmy Nehls take on the Eagles No. 10-ranked Dustin Weinmann in the 133-pound match.

Nehls quickly took a 2-0 lead in the first minute of the match and was able to hold off a furious late surge from Weinmann to secure a 5-4 victory and put the Warhawks up, 6-0.

As was the case in the previous two matches, Matt Adcock, ranked No. 6 at 141 pounds, wrestled another close match but was able to secure a late escape with a 3-2 victory against the Eagles’ Austin Schoen.

In the 149-pound weight class, No. 8 Elroy Perkin put on a dominating display against the Eagles’ Dylan Shaffer as he quickly took a 7-0 lead in the first period, on his way to a 10-2 major decision and a lopsided 13-0 UW-Whitewater lead.

Perkin,-Elroy-(2)WEB
Elroy Perkin

“We wanted to make a big statement and beat them in every weight class and really define that we will be the conference champions,” Perkin said. “I don’t think my team exceeded my expectations because I know how well they can wrestle.”

The Eagles finally got on the board in a big way in the 157-pound weight class when senior RJ Dilcher secured a 14-0 major decision against the Warhawks’ Cam Loomis using a quick takedown and tilts to his advantage. The ’Hawks led halfway through the dual meet 13-4.

The Warhawks came out with the same energy in the second half starting with No.5 ranked Cedric Gibson who turned an early 2-0 lead into a 7-1 victory and a 16-4 Whitewater lead.

T.J Decker continued the Warhawks dominance with a 9-3 victory against Richard Carlson.

Decker opened the match with a takedown and quickly blew the match open, setting the stage for a thrilling match between No. 2-ranked Eric Twohey and the ’Hawks’ Ryan Aprahamian.

The match remained close throughout with Twohey eventually grabbing a 2-0 victory and getting the Eagles on the board for the second time of the night. The Warhawks still led 19-7.

Shane Siefert statistically put the match away for the Warhawks by tallying a technical fall in only 3:50 seconds.

The win gave the Warhawks an insurmountable 24-7 lead, with No. 3-ranked Anthony Edgren finishing off the meet.

The final match went into overtime with both wrestlers scrambling for the final takedown and the match victory. Edgren eventually came out on top and gave the Warhawks a 27-7 victory.

Pruett,-Trevor-(2)WEB
Trevor Pruett

“We were expecting to win, we believe we have trained harder than any team in our conference and we came out with the attitude that we were going to win it and we did,” said 133-pounder Trevor Pruett.

By only losing two of its 10 matches, this team is talented and confident, and ready to take the national stage by storm in the coming months.

The win propelled the ’Hawks to a great weekend, going 4-0 at the Border Brawl tournament in a competitive field that showcased three ranked teams, including No. 2-ranked Concordia College-Moorhead and the No. 3-ranked Warhawks, who met in an exciting tournament finale, with the Warhawks pulling the upset.

With the win, the Warhawks will most likely move into the No. 2 ranking, with the Wheaton Invitational up next weekend.

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