In the Classic 8 Conference, the conference champion is the team that comes out on top at the league tournament. But there's still something to be said about closing out a dual-meet schedule with momentum.
Muskego's wrestling team grabbed an early lead and held off a late run by Arrowhead to claim a 38-22 victory on Jan. 26.
"The kids wrestled hard," Muskego coach Sean Fortmann said. "We told them that everyone had to do their job if we were going to win the dual meet. We weren't looking for 14 superstars, but everyone had to do their job. We thought if everyone did their job we'd be able to win. Things worked out in our favor."
The win left Muskego in a three-way tie with Arrowhead and Mukwonago at 6-1. It sets up an interesting Classic 8 Conference tournament on Feb. 3 at Waukesha North High School, as Muskego's loss came to Mukwonago, which fell to Arrowhead, which just lost to the Warriors.
"It is nice, but at the end of the day it really doesn't mean a whole lot," Fortmann said. "We've had it where we've had an absolutely terrible dual meet season when we had a bunch of guys out with injuries and then we came back and turned it on at the end at the tournament.
"It is nice to get a little bit of momentum. It was a good, hard-fought dual meet, but for us, it was a chance to see where we are at against a really good team."
Gavin McNally set the tone for the dual by opening the night with a 7-5 decision over Ian Priest at 195 pounds.
After Jacob Hein won a 9-3 decision over Ben Brack at 220 pounds, Jorin McGuire pinned Travis Case in 1 minute, 8 seconds at 285 pounds and Alex Wintheiser received a forfeit at 106 pounds to give Muskego an 18-0 lead.
"I thought 195 was a swing match," Fortmann said. "Then Jake Hein at 220 really came up big. To be up 18-0 was a nice way to start the dual meet."
State-ranked wrestlers Dominic Dentino (12-3 major decision at 113 pounds) and Keegan O'Toole (pin at 120 pounds) brought Arrowhead to within 18-10.
Dale Kafura and Tommy Wintheiser got Muskego back on track with major decisions at 126 and 132 pounds and Tyler Huckstorf pinned Jeffrey Pfannerstill in 1 minute, 35 seconds at 138 pounds to push the Warriors to a 32-10 lead.
Arrowhead won the next four matches, but Muskego was able to keep them all to decisions, only losing 12 team points to clinch the victory.
Connor Schwartz then closed the dual with a pin of Derek Polczynski in 2 minutes, 40 seconds at 182 pounds.
"We got some favorable matchups in the lower weights," Fortmann said. "They have a couple of hammers down there that are really good. We got the matchups we wanted. Once we got to 152, they were able to switch their lineup around to get more favorable matchups.
"They won those four matches, but we were able to keep every match to a decision against really, really good kids Arrowhead has. Even though we lost those four, that was a morale booster. Then having Conner go out there and seal the deal was big."