Burlington High School wrestlers showcase their third consecutive Southern Lakes Conference plaque after winning the tournament hosted by Lake Geneva Badger on Saturday (Mike Ramczyk/Standard Press).

Team dominates SLC tournament, wins 3rd straight conference title

By Mike Ramczyk

It was a Demon kind of day Saturday at the Southern Lakes Conference wrestling tournament.

Burlington Demons, that is.

The local grapplers continued to prove they’re the SLC’s best squad with a dominant performance, including seven individual champions and a resounding team triumph.

The Demons finished with champions on the light, middle and upper weights, and they scored 239.5 team points, besting second-place Waterford’s 225.5.

It was Burlington’s third consecutive conference championship.

Union Grove rounded out a strong overall performance from Racine County, taking third with 185.5 points.

Burlington won seven of eight championship matches.

After the meet, Burlington coach Jade Gribble said he was pleased with the tournament.

“We had a good final round,” Gribble said. “We lost a couple close ones, but I was real happy. I thought we wrestled well.”

“Grant Koenen had a phenomenal day, taking first at 120. He beat Cooper Willis in a close match, and he pinned in the finals.”

Koenen, who edged state-ranked Willis in the semifinals, improved to 9-0 on the SLC season with his 120-pound conference title.

Other conference champions included Jaden Bird (113), Max Ehlen (145), Cody Welker (152), Jake Skrundz (170), Qwade Gehring (182) and Zach Wallace (195).

“Jaden looked good all day,” Gribble said. “Max was in control all day, and got a big pin in his title match. Jake Skrundz dominated Kaminsky, a tough wrestler. Qwade and Zach were dominant all day.”

At 145 pounds, Ehlen was up, 11-0, and secured a key pin over Waterford’s Lucas Winski in the finals.

Ehlen is now a two-time SLC champ.

“We wrestled well as a team today,” Ehlen said after the meet. “I had a first-round bye, so I knew I had to come out swinging. The finals match was tough. It was a hard-fought battle, and something opened up and I pinned him.”

Ehlen is excited about the team’s prospects moving forward.

“I feel great, the team is looking good,” he said. “I feel really good about this year. Hopefully we can make some noise at team sectionals and make it to team state.”

Welker won by technical fall before earning a 17-11 decision over Waterford’s Will French in the finals.

Skrundz earned a pin in the semifinals before taking a 7-0 decision in the finals.

Gehring showed dominance with two first-period pins at 182 pounds.

Wallace sliced through both his opponents with two pins.

Zeke Tiedt fell, 3-1, in the finals, taking second place at 220 pounds.

At 132 pounds, Ben Stevenson placed third.

Stevenson beat Delavan’s Owen Chelminiak, 3-1, in the third-place match.

“I’m still searching for the perfect tournament, but I was happy with how we wrestled today,” Gribble said. “We have some things to work on in some weights. An eight-team conference with some weights with six kids, it’s a little bit tougher. I was happy with how we did, and hopefully we can keep it going next week.”

Burlington opens the playoffs with regionals at Westosha Central Saturday.