Janesville47.7°

Milton wrestlers happy to crash state party

Print Print
THOMAS J. MILLER
February 28, 2008
— Sports never cease to provide unexpected results.

Take the Milton High wrestling team. Last year, the Red Hawks had their goal set of making it to the WIAA state team tournament.


Didn’t happen. Stoughton stunned the Red Hawks, 31-27, in the team sectional.


This year, with a team that some thought was in a “down” year, Milton went up to Stoughton and defeated the Vikings to qualify for this week’s state team event.


“We felt like we would get to the state tournament last season,” Milton coach Pat Jauch said after beating Stoughton. “I can’t believe we got it back. It’s nice.”


The long tournament trail ends this weekend at the UW Field House in Madison. Milton takes on Kaukauna in a Division 1 quarterfinal match that starts at 7 p.m. Friday.


The winner advances to the semifinal round at 9 a.m. Saturday. The finals in all three classes begin at 6 p.m. Saturday.


The shot at wrestling in the state team tournament is an appropriate finish for the Red Hawk seniors.


“Every year, it seems we’ve got some (wrestlers) who have been on the junior varsity freshman year, sophomore year, junior year,” Jauch said. “Guys like Nate Rogers. He started wrestling as a freshman. He sat behind great wrestlers every year. Now he finally gets his shot, and man, did he make the most of it.”


Rogers (34-8) finished fifth last weekend at 171 at the state individual tournament.


The senior would like to add a few more wins to his victory total, starting Friday.


“That was one of our goals all year,” Rogers said. “Everyone said we didn’t have enough heart, but we showed them.”


Among the other top seniors who helped the Red Hawks to the state tournament are Nick Gibson (31-6) at 285, Shawn Jensen (27-10), 152; Matt Fredrick (23-14), 215; Derek Dixon (19-11), 145; and Seth Underwood (14-8), 189. Underwood got a late start to the season after recovering from knee surgery.


Juniors Shaun O’Neill (30-6) at 140, Nick Karleski (24-13) at 135, Devon Dixon (22-10) at 112 and Logan Brown (22-13) at 130 join sophomore James Miller (28-9) at 160 with the other top Red Hawk records.


The Red Hawks face an even tougher challenge Friday than they did against Stoughton. Kaukauna had eight wrestlers at the individual state tournament. Milton had five.


Like Milton, Kaukauna has had a strong program for years. In fact, Kaukauna participated in the Walsh Ironman tournament in December at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio.


That is the same nationally recognized tournament where the Red Hawks competed in 2001 and 2002. Milton and Kaukauna are the only two Wisconsin schools ever to wrestle in the Ohio event.


Kaukauna wrestlers earned two state titles this past weekend. Senior Joe Budi improved to 49-0 at 189, and Dillon Bera went to 49-3 at 145.


Budi went 50-0 while winning a state title last year and has signed a national letter of intent with Old Dominion University in Virginia. He is the No. 4 189-pound wrestler in the nation, according to an hswrestling.net poll.


Noah Budi (42-6) finished fourth at 160, Eric Vanevenhoven (43-6) finished fifth at 152 and Josiah Bobier (33-15) took sixth place at 112.


Adding to the Red Hawks’ challenge is the lack of a wrestler in the 103 pounds due to ineligibility. That will give Kaukauna six points on a forfeit.


“That never helps you,” Jauch said Wednesday. “But at the same time, from a team chemistry standpoint, it’s fine.


“On paper and reality it’s an uphill battle,” Jauch said. “But we do have a really good dual-meet team. They get fired up as a unit.”


WIAA STATE TEAM WRESTLING


At UW Field House, Madison


DIVISION 1


Quarterfinals


(7 p.m. Friday)


Match 1: Tomah (16-5) vs. Hartland Arrowhead (12-1)


Match 2: Kaukauna (19-2) vs. Milton (13-1)


Match 3: Ashwaubenon (13-1) vs. Muskego (15-0)


Match 4: Wausau West (19-0) vs. Franklin (18-4)


Semifinals


(9 a.m. Saturday)


Match 5: Winner of Match 1 vs. Winner of Match 2


Match 6: Winner of Match 3 vs. Winner of Match 4


Final


(6 p.m. Saturday)


Semifinal winners


DIVISION 2


Semifinals


(1 p.m. Saturday)


Match 1: Ellsworth (15-6) vs. Luxemburg-Casco (14-2)


Match 2: Lodi (24-3) vs. Pewaukee (12-2)


Final


(6 p.m. Saturday)


Semifinal winners


DIVISION 3


Semifinals


(1 p.m. Saturday)


Match 1: Clear Lake (9-0) vs. Coleman (15-1)


Match 2: Mineral Point (17-0) vs. Random Lake (14-5)


Final


(6 p.m. Saturday)


Semifinal winners




Print Print