State wrestling: Meyer out but not down after final
MADISON—Jordan Meyer ended a 38-year drought on Saturday night, and he set out to enjoy every minute of it.
The Evansville/Albany 132-pounder savored the pre-match March of Champions as well as competing in front of a jam-packed Kohl Center.
And Meyer was still smiling shortly after he lost a 10-4 decision in the WIAA Division 2 state championship match on Saturday night.
“I like being able to know that I was close enough to win it,” Meyer said. “One last throw would have put me up by one. It was nice to know I was there.
“After last year, finishing sixth place, at the beginning of the year I said I wanted to get to the finals because it'd be a really cool experience to wrestle when it's just three mats and everyone watching.”
It was the first time since 1976 that a wrestler in the program—at that point it was solely Evansville—advanced all the way to a state-title match.
To become the program's third state champion (Brian Benash won at 155 pounds in 1976 and Mitch Hull won at 180 one year earlier), Meyer would have needed to avenge two earlier losses to West Salem/Bangor freshman Devin Bahr. Bahr pinned Meyer at both team sectionals and individual sectionals.
On Saturday, Bahr grabbed an early 3-0 lead, but Meyer scored a takedown midway through the second period to get back within a point.
It was 8-4 late in the third and final period, and Meyer hoped to take a late shot on a big move, but Bahr put him away with four late points.
“He wrestled a better match this time than the last two,” Evansville/Albany coach Rob Kostroun said. “He had a game plan and stuck to it. We came up a little short, but we had a chance to win it with 10 seconds left.
“We were in deep in the inside position looking for something big. We tried to hit it and it didn't work out, but it was a way better job this time.”
Bahr finished the year undefeated at 52-0.
“It was one of the better matches I wrestled this year, especially against him,” Meyer said. “It was really fun, a really big night.”
It wasn't the end of Meyer's season, either.
He and the Blue Devils will be back in Madison this Saturday, as they qualified for team state wrestling for the first time in program history.
“I think (that opportunity) will really pump up the excitement in the room,” Meyer said. “Everyone will see what it feels like to get there as a team.”
Evansville/Albany wrestles a semifinal match against Ellsworth at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the UW Fieldhouse. The other semi features Wittenberg-Birnamwood and Pewaukee. The winners will square off for the team state title at 3 p.m. later that same day.