’Hawks to host WIAC tournament

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The wrestling team crushed UW-Platteville 42-6 on senior night Thursday, which was the last meet on the Warhawks’ schedule before the WIAC Conference Tournament.

The ’Hawks will take to the mat Sunday to attempt to qualify for nationals by winning the WIAC Tournament. UW-Whitewater will be hosting the tournament at 9 a.m. Sunday.

Sophomore Cedric Gibson battles against a UW-Parkside wrestler. The Warhawk wrestling team won their last meet 42-6 against UW-Platteville and will now host the WIAC Conference Tournament at 9 a.m. Sunday. The ’Hawks have now won 12 straight meets. Photo by Andrew Smith.

The ’Hawks win over the Pioneers was the team’s 12th straight victory and a fitting end to the seniors’ duel meet careers.

“It’s pretty surreal,” 165-pound senior Reid Dickerson said, “Three years ago I was a freshman watching those seniors on their night and now it’s my turn.”

The six seniors on the team all won against the Pioneers. The only points the ’Hawks conceded were by forfeit as 149-pound junior Cade Sarbacher was ill on Thursday.

The ’Hawks are currently ranked ninth in the NCAA Division-III rankings and finished second in the WIAC regular season behind wrestling powerhouse UW-La Crosse. The Eagles will be the biggest hurdle the ’Hawks will face if they want to qualify for the NCAA D-III National Championship.

Although the Eagles beat the ’Hawks earlier this season, coach Tim Fader and senior transfer heavyweight Corey Anderson said their team now is completely different than the one the Eagles defeated.

“At first when I got here, I wasn’t sure if our team would be any good because of everyone’s attitudes at practice and lifting,” Anderson said. “We’ve come so far now, and our practices have been great lately.”

All of the seniors agreed and said much of the credit for the team’s success must go to the bench wrestlers, many of whom competed and fared well in meets.

“The conference tournament will be the first time all season that we have our full lineup wrestling,” 197-pounder senior Adam Latella said.

Many ’Hawk starters have missed meets due to injury, illness and eligibility reasons.

Because of the improvement and having a fully loaded lineup, Fader said the ’Hawks are very confident they can compete well in every weight class.

The setup of the WIAC Tournament is a bracket for each weight class, with each wrestler’s wins giving a team points. Anderson said the team has a good chance to win the tournament because every wrestler is capable of placing high in his weight class.

The ’Hawks also have an added advantage of wrestling at home.

“Now they have to come to our place,” Anderson said about UW-La Crosse.