Dec 10, 2014 By Christopher Clapper
After a two-day tournament in Grantham, Pennsylvania, that featured four top-25 teams, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater wrestling team backed up their No. 1 ranking and left with a first-place finish.
Placing all 13 of their wrestlers in the quarterfinals and finishing with two champions, the Warhawks said they felt good about their tournament considering the quality competition they faced.
Wrestling against No. 2 Messiah (Pennsylvania), No. 16 Stevens Institute (New York) and No. 24 Mount Union (Ohio) among others, the ’Hawks demonstrated why they are the No. 1 team in the nation.
“I thought we wrestled really well,” junior Shane Siefert said. “The entire first round we didn’t have any losses because a couple of guys really stepped up.”
The guys that “really stepped up” were sophomore 133-pound Ronny Hauser and freshman 149-pound Isaiah Vela, who finished second and third respectively.
“He (Hauser) is a stud, man,” Siefert said. “He’s going to really do some damage this year.”
With a pin and two major decisions in the tournament, Hauser said he went into the finals feeling confident but knew he was going to have a tough matchup against Ryan O’Boyle, the No. 3-ranked wrestler in the country at 133 pounds. The final score wound up being a 4-3 loss for Hauser, but he said he now knows he can wrestle with the best in the country.
“The finals match didn’t go my way but I know that if I were to wrestle that kid (O’Boyle) again, I would be better prepared and more focused,” Hauser said.
Despite this being his first year on varsity, Hauser credits the upperclassmen for his early success. He rooms with last year’s national runner up Matt Adcock and said he has learned a lot just by virtue of the time they spend together.
“It’s good having Matt around and being surrounded by him and his work ethic, and hopefully some of that will rub off on me,” Hauser said.
This was also the first varsity tournament for freshman Vela.
“The first time I saw Isaiah I knew he was going to be a stud,” Siefert said. “He really hasn’t let anyone down, and he’s going to be a pretty vital part of the wrestling program here at Whitewater.”
Other wrestlers who had memorable days were seniors Anthony Edgren and Ryan Aprahamian, each taking third in their weight classes.
The day belonged to the two junior national runner-ups from a year ago, however, as Adcock and Siefert won titles at 141 pounds and 197 pounds respectively.
Siefert, in particular, dominated the tournament, registering a major decision, two pins, and a technical fall in the finals to finish 5-0 over the two days.
With the first-place finish, the ’Hawks turn their focus to the WIAC conference. They will face UW-Stevens Point at 7 p.m. on Dec. 9 at Kachel Gymnasium for their their first home meet of the season.