It was clear coming into the Classic 8 Conference wrestling tournament on Feb. 3 that Arrowhead, Muskego, and Mukwonago were the top three teams. The three teams had split matches against the others during the regular season, so pinpointing a favorite was a tough call.
As expected, the tournament was tight and came down to the final matches. Mukwonago just edged Muskego for the conference title, 211.5-204. Arrowhead finished third with 196 points.
"Arrowhead and Mukwonago have great programs," Muskego coach Sean Fortmann said. "We knew it was going to be a dogfight. We had some bad luck this week. We lost three starters out of our lineup. It's not an excuse, but it is what it is."
Both Muskego and Mukwonago had seven finalists, but Muskego crowned four champions, compared to Mukwonago's three. Arrowhead also had four go home with first-place medals.
Going into the 285-pound finals, the Classic 8 title had already been decided, but Jorin McGuire rolled to his second league championship nonetheless with a pin against Mukwonago's Seth Abad in 2 minutes, 36 seconds.
"I was pretty confident we were going to win," McGuire said. "Every team faces adversity, and we definitely hit some this week. It was just the way it worked out."
McGuire, who qualified for state last season, also registered in a pin in the semifinals at 1:48.
"I think we can use this to fuel us in regionals, for sure," McGuire said. "I'm pretty sure Mukwonago will be our top competition there, and hopefully, we can make this a different thing where we're first and they're second."
Muskego's other returning state qualifier, Evan Sinda, defended his Classic 8 crown from last season with a 16-4 major decision victory in the 138 finals over Mukwonago's Brandon Harrison. Sinda was motivated for this season after being eliminated in his opening match at the 2016 state tournament.
"I really wanted to turn it up this year," Sinda said. "State last year left a sour taste in my mouth."
Sinda advanced to the finals with a pin at 1:08 in the semifinals.
"At the beginning of the year, I needed to be more confident and trust my technique and training," Sinda said. "Unfortunately, last year, I wasn't really confident in my training that much. This year, I feel like I'm technically sound. I've got a good pace going, my conditioning is up and I'm on my way."
At 106, Alex Wintheiser continued his impressive freshman season with a 7-4 victory in the finals. Senior Connnor Schwartz used two pins on the day to win the 182 championship, which was his first.
Parker Bevilacqua (113), Adam McNally (160) and Gavin McNally (195) finished second. Dale Kafura (120) and Ben Terlion (145) were third. Tyler Schanen (126), Tommy Wintheiser (132), Chris Rowland (152) and Jacob Hein (220) placed sixth.
"Our kids wrestled very hard," Fortmann said. "For all the bad luck we had, they wrestled extremely hard to make it close and make it interesting. At the end of the day, we just didn't have enough in the gas tank."
Muskego will take to the mat next on Feb. 11 for a WIAA Division 1 regional at West Allis Hale.