Zac Weiler dominates a Delavan-Darien opponent in recent action. (Rick Benavides/SLN)


By Troy Sparks

Sports Correspondent

The Burlington wrestling team completed a perfect Southern Lakes Conference dual meet season at 6-0 with a 62-15 win, Jan. 25, at Union Grove.

The Demons got pins from freshmen Jaden Bird (106) and Hayden Halter (113), sophomores Jake Skrundz (145), Ben Kumprey (152) and Qwade Gehring (160) and senior Max Travis (220). They also received forfeit wins from sophomore Cody Welker (120), junior Zac Weiler (132) and senior Nate Crayton (182). Sophomore Max Ehlen (138) had a tech fall win and sophomore Ben Stevenson had a seven-point decision (8-1). Burlington’s losses came at 170, 195 and 285.

Now the focus is on the SLC meet at Delavan-Darien on Feb. 3. The conference feature three teams ranked in the top 10 in the latest Division 1 rankings. Burlington has been in the No. 4 spot all season behind Holmen, Kaukauna and Stoughton. Waterford is currently ninth after beginning the season ranked 12th and went as low as eighth. Elkhorn spent the last several weeks not ranked but moved up to 10th overall.

The Demons have 10 individual wrestlers that are in the rankings. Elkhorn have six ranked wrestlers. Lake Geneva Badger and Waterford have four each in the rankings and Union Grove has one ranked wrestler.

Burlington is the clear favorite to win the SLC meet. Since 2010, the Demons have won or shared six straight conference championships. The streak was broken by Badger, which won in 2016. The Elks took home the championship in 2017. Look for Elkhorn and Badger to challenge Burlington for the title this year.

“I think last year’s top teams, Waterford and Elkhorn, are the top contending teams for the conference title,” Burlington coach Jade Gribble said. “Each team has good individuals to compete against. Again, most likely Waterford and Elkhorn have most of those individuals, but each team has some good individuals. Each weight class will be very competitive.”


Conference meet this Saturday

Barring any upsets along the way, the finals should feature some great matches in eight key weight classes.

In a battle of top-10 ranked freshmen wrestlers, No. 4 Cade Willis (Badger) could face wrestle Jaden Bird (Burlington) at 106. Willis didn’t face Bird in the dual meet January 4. The wild-card in this class could be Elkhorn freshman honorable mention pick Payton Jacobson, who lost to Bird 6-5 in the Dec. 7 dual match at Burlington.

Freshman Hayden Halter (Burlington, No. 3) pitched a shutout against senior Beau Ladu (Badger, honorable mention), 10-0 at 113 in the dual meet. Ladu probably lost lots of sleep since that night and can’t wait to get a crack at Halter again if both make it to the final match.

An intriguing matchup would be No. 8 sophomore Cody Welker (Burlington) against No. 9 freshman Jake Stritesky (Badger) at 120. Sophomore Ben Stevenson (honorable mention, Burlington) should get his chance to wrestle No. 2 Elkhorn senior Grant Truesdale at 126. Truesdale moved up to 132 in their dual match at Burlington and didn’t face Stevenson.

The rematch at 138 between sophomores Max Ehlen of Burlington (No. 7) and Brandon Martinez (Badger, honorable mention) should be a good one. Ehlen beat Martinez 13-4 in their last meeting. In a battle of sophomores, Jake Skrundz (Burlington, No. 9) could meet honorable mention Elkhorn wrestler Coleman Karl. Skrundz pinned Karl in their dual meet with a minute left in the match at 145.

The best match of the day could be between seniors Nate Crayton (Burlington), who’s ranked fourth at 182, and top-ranked Waterford wrestler Jared Krattiger.

Other ranked wrestlers in the field include senior Sam Winski (Waterford, honorable mention) at 120, No. 4 Elkhorn junior Daniel Stilling (132), Waterford honorable mention junior Alex Guardiola (152), No. 12 Union Grove junior Alex Rewolnski (170), Elkhorn senior Myles Schumacher (No. 12), second-ranked Jack Trautman (Waterford, 195), Max Travis (Burlington, honorable mention) and 10th-ranked Elkhorn senior Hunter Hummel at 285.