Whitefish Bay - An archeologist/historian would have to be of the caliber of the legendary (as well as fictional) Indiana Jones to figure out when the Whitefish Bay wrestling program last had a day like it did last Saturday.
The Blue Dukes not only won their first varsity invitational (the Tom Burns Memorial at Marquette) in who-knows-how-many-years but coach Dale Loebel was also doing cartwheels over the fact that the Bay freshmen also won the West Allis Central Invitational that same afternoon.
'I talked to the last couple of coaches (at Bay) and they can't remember when this might have happened either,' said Loebel. 'Maybe never when we won on the same day, but this is amazing. The Burns trophy is like two-and-a-half feet high. Wow!!!'
Bay, which also beat Cedarburg, 48-21, in a North Shore dual Dec. 8, will host Milwaukee Lutheran in a league dual Thursday and will take part in the Waukesha West duals on Saturday.
The Blue Dukes scored 152 points for their title at Marquette as Milwaukee Riverside was second (132) and Ofordville-Parkview was third with 127 in the 11-team event.
Bay's key to victory was how it finished, as despite not having grapplers in four weight classes (113, 195, 220 and 285), it was able to win its last matches in nine out of 10 situations.
These included championships from Max Carlin at 106 pounds and Ben Lehrmann at 138.
Carlin pinned a Cedarburg wrestler and then won by a technical fall over a Sheboygan North opponent to improve to 9-1 on the season.
'Max has done so much work and he presents so many problems for other 106-pounders because he is so tall (5-7) and so long,' said Loebel. 'He just makes it a struggle for the other kids. But it's funny. He's so skinny, but his mom says he eats everything he can. He's even starting to watch the Food Network (laughs).'
Lehrmann (also 9-1) was even more impressive, as he pinned a Cedarburg and Sheboygan North opponents before getting a reversal with four seconds left to defeat Greenfield's Dominic Kroll, 8-6, in the final.
'That was such an exciting final,' said Loebel. 'Ben has really come around. The sign of a good wrestler is being able to force the other guy into doing what you want him to do. Ben is starting to figure that out.'
The only loss in a final match came at 120 as Joey Davey (7-3) took second. He had pinned Lake Mills and North opponents before losing a tough 7-3 match to North Shore rival Joey Pelkey of Cedarburg.
But the Blue Dukes wound up on the plus side in the remainder of those other matches, as taking thirds were Jack Ludke at 126 (3-1 on the day, 5-6 overall); Brendan Hanrahan at 145 (3-1, 4-2); Zach Richards at 152 (2-1, 7-2); Rashadeem Gray at 160 (2-1, 7-3); Paul Lovy at 170 (1-1, 4-5); and Nick Levings at 182 (3-1, 3-1).
Andrew Reidy was fifth at 152 (3-1, 8-2).
'Just a huge day for the program in general,' said Loebel. 'It was a goal of ours this season to win a tourney and we finally got one. Every kid we took along placed, and what'll be really great, is that pretty soon we'll be able to fill the 195 and 220 classes too.
'Man, this was amazing. I could point to so many kids, but they all wrestled great.'
The funny thing about this all, added Loebel, was that there was no grand celebration, no running out afterward for ice cream or burgers somewhere (which a wrestler would kill for at this time of year).
'No, they were just so tired, it had been such a long day (7 ½-plus hours) that they just wanted to go home,' Loebel said. 'So that's what we did.'