Milton wrestlers shock Stoughton
The Red Hawks overcame a 27-9 deficit with an impressive finish to shock the long-time Badger Conference-powerhouse Vikings, 33-27, and earn a trip to the WIAA Division 1 state team tournament.
The Red Hawks wrestle Kaukauna at 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 29, in a quarterfinal team match at the UW Fieldhouse.
Milton also is headed to the Badger Conference next season. With the large Stoughton High achievement board that lists all 33 Badger Conference title years staring them in the face on the wall of the gymnasium, the Red Hawks showed a heart that many said they lacked at the start of the season.
“Oh, man,” Milton coach Pat Jauch said as he ran through the individual records of his Red Hawks a half hour after the match. “Excuse me, but this is unbelievable.”
The Red Hawks had regional champions in last Saturday’s Lake Geneva Badger Regional, while Stoughton had just three champions in the Sun Prairie Regional. Still, most people considered Stoughton at least a few points better than Milton.
That margin grew even bigger when the Red Hawks had to forfeit at 103 due to ineligibility. At this level, giving away six points is enormous.
But the Red Hawks used two improbable wins by Devon Dixon at 112 and Derek Dixon at 145, and six straight victories from 140 through 189 to finish the match and stun the Vikings.
Jauch couldn’t keep a game face on when discussing the victory.
“I know there’s bad blood between the programs,” he said. “I respect their coaches, Dan Spilde and Bob Empey. You aren’t going to find a better coaching tandem than those two guys.
“So to come in here and beat them is unbelievable.”
Unbelievable could describe two of the Milton victories. The first came when junior Devon Dixon pinned Tanner Klitzke, who came into the match ranked seventh in the state at 112.
After Matt Fredrick (22-12) had given Milton a 3-0 lead with a 7-0 decision in the opening 215-pound match, the Red Hawks fell behind, 9-3.
A Klitzke victory would have put Milton in a huge hole. That seemed likely since Klitzke had defeated Dixon four times last year.
“I went in there thinking I was probably going to lose,” Dixon admitted.
Dixon fell behind 4-2 in the second period, before he caught Klitzke and pinned him with just 13.9 seconds left in the second period to improve to 21-8.
“With Dixon pinning Klitzke, that was the match,” Jauch said.
That tied the match, 9-9. Stoughton then used a controversial 3-2 decision at 119 when Milton’s Brody Karkosh was penalized a point for stalling with 1.9 seconds left in the match, two pins at 125 and 130 and a 3-2 decision at 135 to build a 27-9 lead.
The Red Hawks started their trip to state when junior Shaun O’Neill (28-5) built an 18-2 lead to earn a technical fall with 52 seconds left in his 140-pound match.
Derek Dixon built on the momentum with an upset victory at 145.
Just as Klitzke had defeated his younger brother Devon, Derek had lost to Jake Gohlke four times last year. But just like his brother, Derek (18-9) reversed those outcomes by earning a 7-2 decision against Gohlke.
“I wasn’t thinking that I was going to beat him,” Derek said. “When I think like that, I usually pull it out. It was my day, I guess.”
Milton’s Shawn Jensen improved to 22-8 at 152 with a 10-0 major decision to get Milton to within six points at 27-21.
James Miller then got the large Milton crowd stomping the bleachers with a pin in just 1:08 of the 160-pound match. The pin tied the match and improved the sophomore’s record to 26-7.
Stoughton still had to feel confident with senior Ryan Dougherty coming at 171. Crossface, the state wrestling publication, ranks Dougherty seventh in the state.
Milton’s Nate Rogers (28-5) went out and stuck Dougherty on his back for a quick 5-0 lead en route to an 8-1 decision that gave the Red Hawks a 30-27 lead.
“I’ve been waiting to do that chest-crusher all year,” Rogers said of the move that gave him the early lead. “I caught him off-guard. I went on from there.”
“Nate Rogers beating Dougherty was absolutely a huge match,” Jauch said. “These seniors wanted it.”
It was appropriate then that senior Seth Underwood (10-5) closed out the victory with a 7-4 decision at 189.
Now the Red Hawks are headed to the Fieldhouse, and also have a victory in the gymnasium they will be wrestling at in future Badger Conference duals.
“Actually I’m not looking forward to it,” Devon Dixon said of the move to the Badger. “It’s going to be more of a challenge.”
It was a challenge that they mastered Tuesday night.
MILTON 33, STOUGHTON 27
103—Jack Williford (St) won by forfeit. 112—Devon Dixon (M) pinned Tanner Klitzke, 3:46. 119—Nick Hite (St) dec. Brody Karkosh, 3-2. 125—Jackson Urso (St) pinned Brian Kohl, 3:05. 130—Dan Schiferl (St) pinned Logan Brown, 3:08. 135—Austin Wersal (St) dec. Nick Karleski, 3-2. 140—Shaun O’Neill (M) tech. fall Tyler Vike, 5:08.
145—Derek Dixon (M) dec. Jake Gohlke, 7-2. 152—Shawn Jensen (M) major dec. Curtis Flock, 10-0. 160—James Miller (M) pinned Mark Plumley, 1:08. 171—Nate Rogers (M) dec. Ryan Dougherty, 8-1. 189—Seth Underwood (M) dec. Eric Nelson, 7-4. 215—Matt Fredrick (M) dec. Chad Paulson, 7-0. 285—Ryan Olson (M) dec. Nick Gibson, 3-2.
n Iowa Grant/Highland 54, Clinton 9—At Lodi, the Cougars fell behind 30-0 and could not recover in losing a Division 2 sectional semifinal match.
Iowa Grant/Highland lost in the title bout to host Lodi, 29-27.
Clinton got wins from Daniel Banh at 103, Brandon Wixom at 112 and Brad Hesebeck at 119.
IOWA GRANT/HIGHLAND 54, CLINTON 9
103—Daniel Banh (Cl) dec. Brandon Paradis, 6-1; 112—Brandon Wixom (Cl) dec. Kasey Cooper, 4-2 (OT); 119—Brad Hesebeck (Cl) dec. Kyle Riemenapp, 9-7; 125—Hunter Burghy (IG/H) dec. Bryan Banh, 7-0; 130—Sean Olson (IG/H) pinned Alex Franseen, :32; 135—Justin Washburn (IG/H) pinned Dane Brandl, 1:08; 140—Austin Cook (IG/H) dec. Andy Sanchez, 10-7.
145—Brent Belken (IG/H) pinned Josh Collins, 3:18; 152—Keegan Kite (IG/H) tech. fall over Shane Brandl, 17-2; 160—Luke Sander (IG/C) tech. fall over Ken Wirkuty, 16-1; 171—Dustin Johanning (IG/H) pinned Brett DeLagarza, :56; 189—Bryant Edge (IG/H) tech. fall over Josh Danielson, 21-3; 215—Ethan Welsh (IG/H) dec. Kyle Jones, 8-5; 285—Shane McGuire (IG/H) pinned Tyler Russell, :32.