By David Paulsen
After winning their first Southern Lakes Conference dual meets in several years, the Union Grove High School wrestling team hoped to move up in the standings in the SLC Tournament held Saturday at Burlington.
Specifically, head coach Andy Weis said he hoped they could finish above Westosha Central and Delavan-Darien, the two squads they defeated during the regular season.
The Bronco boys finished sixth out of eight teams at the SLC Tournament, and nearly finished fifth.
Union Grove tallied 106 points to finish just behind Wilmot, which was in fifth place with 106.5 points.
“Not too bad,” Weis said of the team finish.
In addition, the Broncos had two wrestlers in the finals, with one of them capturing an SLC title, plus two grapplers who finished third.
Tony Beck, at 285 pounds, won the title at that weight class, defeating Burlington’s Tyler Kirkeeng in the finals by a 5-3 decision.
Beck, who had a first-round bye and was seeded No. 1, pinned his semifinal opponent in 50 seconds. That pitted him against Kirkeeng, a wrestler he had split two regular season matches with.
Beck, a junior, took Kirkeeng down twice, and got an escape to outpoint Kirkeeng.
“He got in there and got the takedown right away,” Weis said. “We knew it was going to be a tough match.”
The two could very well meet up again in the WIAA Division 1 regional.
At 120 pounds, freshman Brett Kieslich took second, losing to Burlington’s Josh Bird by pin in the finals.
“He really wrestled a decent match,” Weis said.
Kieslich also had a first-round bye, and then scored a 17-3 major decision in the semifinals.
Adam Braley, a sophomore, captured third place at 182 pounds. It was his first time competing in that weight class all year.
Braley lost his opening match 9-5 to Waterford’s Liam Pritchard.
“I don’t know if he was quite ready for it,” Weis said. “He came out a little flat.”
Weis noted, though, that Braley rebounded well, wining his next three matches.
Cole Ryan, another sophomore, also took third, doing so at 220 pounds.
He won his opening match, lost in the semifinals, but came back to close out the tournament with two more wins.
“He wrestled really well,” Weis said. “He stayed in good position. He didn’t make it easy for anybody.”