By David Paulsen
With a team total of 414 points, the Burlington High School wrestling squad won the 18-team Highlander Invitational Friday at Homestead High School, Mequon.
“That was obviously a good night,” head coach Jade Gribble said.
Port Washington finished second with 361.5 points.
Four Demons won their weight classes, with one more placing second and three more third.
Ben Hornickle took first at 120 pounds. He pinned all four opponents, including Noah Rosado of Port Washington, in 1 minute, 1 second in the finals.
Hornickle is now 25-3 on the season.
“He did a really nice job,” Gribble said.
Freshman Josh Bird continues to wrestle well, improving to 32-2 by taking first at 126. Bird won his first two matches by pin, his third by major decision, and his final two matches by technical fall.
The biggest win was a 19-2 technical fall win over Justice Parker of Milwaukee Bradley Tech. Bird, who is ranked No. 5 in the state at 120 pounds, dominated Parker who is ranked No. 9 at 120.
“Josh Bird had a great tournament,” Gribble said. “He just dominated.”
Greg Miller, 22-11 overall, moved down to 195 pounds and won that weight class. Miller won his first two matches by pin, and the next three all by decision.
“He had a great day,” Gribble said. “I think that’s the best weight for him.”
Miller’s biggest win came in the third round in a 9-5 win over Larry Harleston of Racine Case.
Gribble said the match was back and forth until Miller got a takedown late in the match, followed by two near-fall points.
The fourth Demon to win his weight class was Tyler Kirkeeng at heavyweight.
Kirkeeng won his first three matches by pin, and the final two by major decision.
In the semifinals, he avenged an early season defeat to Union Grove’s Tony Beck. This time, Kirkeeng won a 13-2 major decision.
In the finals, Kirkeeng (27-9) faced Isaiah Watkins (22-3) of Milwaukee Bradley Tech, the No. 9-ranked wrestler at heavyweight. Kirkeeng dominated him in a 16-6 win.
“That’s a huge match for him,” Gribble said.
Chris Marks took second at 182, and Hegeman Tiedt took third at that same weight class.
Marks and Tiedt faced each other in the semifinals, with Marks winning a close 3-2 decision in overtime.
Marks, who has not been a starter, could earn that distinction if he continues to excel. Gribble noted Marks and Tiedt will probably have to wrestle off again to see who competes at the Southern Lakes Conference Tournament and in post-season action.
Logan Schmalfeldt (at 138), Tiedt and Koty Agnes (at 220) all took third.
The Demon boys lost only two matches in this SLC dual meet Jan. 17 that ended with a 58-6 Burlington win.
The win improves the Demons SLC mark to 6-0 and their overall dual record to 10-1.
Besides four forfeit wins, Burlington got pins from Kyle Crayton (170) and Tiedt (182).
Bird (126) won by technical fall, with Max Shenkenberg (160) and Robert Elsbury (106) winning by major decision.
Gribble said a big win for the Demons came at heavyweight where Kirkeeng defeated Heath Gascoigne 3-2.
“Heavyweight was a huge match for us,” Gribble said.
Burlington will finish out its SLC and dual season at Waterford on Thursday, Jan. 24, at 7 p.m.
The SLC Meet is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, at 9:30 a.m. at Burlington.