Falls grapplers ready for Hale in pivotal GMC dual

Two titles lead to third place at Prairie

Jan. 13, 2014

Playing it cautiously and close to the vest, the Menomonee Falls wrestling team could have probably won the Sauk Prairie Invitational on Saturday, but the Indians have bigger fish to fry at this point in the campaign, so they settled for a strong third behind individual titles from Bill Holz at 120 pounds and Casey Crangle at 145.

And now they aim to hook one of those bigger fish this Thursday, when they visit West Allis Hale at 7:30 p.m. in what is for all intensive purposes, the Greater Metro Conference dual meet championship.

There's good reason Indians coach Jim McMahon is approaching things the way he is.

Loss propelled team

Last season's dual meet loss to the Huskies at Falls was a turning point for the Indians. They built upon it and wound up winning the GMC tournament title as well as WIAA regional and sectional crowns.

McMahon doesn't know if all those good things can happen again this season, but does know that his squad is going to give it a real try starting with this meet.

"They (the Huskies) took it to us pretty good last season," he said. "I think the pressure got to us a little bit, but I think we'll be a little more loose for this one. I'm expecting another very tight dual."

McMahon, who held some people out of the Sauk Prairie event as a precaution, said the team will be healthy for this meet and should be able to field a full lineup.

The Indians, who also belted Brookfield East in a GMC dual on Jan. 9, scored 201 points for their spot in the 18-team Sauk Prairie meet, as Menomonie edged the host school, 2971/2-294, for the title.

Holz 'a force'

Holz improved to 22-1 on the season with a dominating performance with wins over West Salem (technical fall), Kiel (technical fall) and Sauk Prairie (15-3 major decision) opponents for his title.

"He had a great tourney," McMahon said. "He's just a force at 120."

Crangle is on a mission at 145, McMahon said as he improved to 22-2 on the campaign. He pinned a Holmen opponent (45 seconds), beat a Pewaukee foe (4-1 decision) and won by a 10-2 major decision over a Sauk Prairie foe, for his title.

"The Sauk Prairie kid is really good and Casey just had him really confused," McMahon said. "He just wants to challenge the best kids that are out there."

Other top efforts for the Indians included Aaron Daly (19-4) taking second at 113, Jerott Holz (12-4) earning a third at 126, Jeff Kleser at 132 (13-9) and Jake Fuiten at 182 (17-7) each taking fourths, Tyler Simcock at 160 (17-8) earning a sixth, and Jake McMahon at 138 (18-7) notching a seventh.

Daly, the defending state runner-up at 106, lost a wild match on a pin at 3:05 in his final at 113 to a 25-1 Sauk Prairie opponent. It was a match where both wrestlers had each other on their backs.

"He just got caught on a step-through," McMahon said. "The goal right now is keep everyone on track and to get 14 kids out there at a time. We're really close to getting that done."

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