Stoughton, Milton wrestlers share Badger South title
While the Milton High 103-pound freshman enjoyed the Badger Conference version of the WIAA individual state finals walk of champions, which preceded the conference championship and third-places matches Saturday afternoon, he was ready to dispense with the preliminaries.
“I wanted to be the first Milton wrestler to win a Badger Conference tournament title,” said Wells, who was granted his wish after he topped Stoughton freshman Nick Urso, 5-0, to jump-start the tournament’s final round.
Meanwhile, Stoughton rode its superior depth along with individual titles from junior Nick Hite (125), senior Dan Schiferl (140) and junior Eric Nelson (189) to win the conference tournament championship with 298 points. Combined with the Vikings’ runner-up finish in the dual meet competition, it was enough to help Stoughton earn a share of its 38th conference title since Badger Conference wrestling was established in 1956.
“This means even more with last year because Milton is a real good team,” Nelson said of the Vikings’ seventh straight conference title. “It feels good to beat them and share the overall title.”
DeForest placed second in the conference tournament with 284 points; Milton was third with 282.5 points, Reedsburg fourth with 265.5 and Oregon fifth with 202.5.
After winning the Badger South dual meet title, Milton’s third-place finish at the conference meet earned the Red Hawks a share of their 16th straight conference championship, including the previous 15 in a row in the Southern Lakes.
DeForest won the Badger North title for the third straight year after winning the dual meet title and leading all Badger North teams with a second-place overall finish at the tournament championship.
With four starters sidelined and four freshmen in its starting lineup, Milton was making its Badger Conference tournament debut with less experience than co-head coaches Pat Jauch and Matt Werner would have liked.
But Jauch said he was pleased to have Red Hawks’ freshman version of the “Fantastic Four”—which secured two titles and a two runner-up finishes—around to help Milton earn a share of the Badger South Conference championship.
“The kids who have been a surprise this weekend, and that’s been the case all year, were our freshmen at 103 (Wells), 112 (Landon Shea), 119 (Garrett Whitehead) and 152 (Ian Johnson),” Jauch said.
Whitehead was trailing top-ranked Tanner Klitzke of Stoughton, the defending 112-pound champion, 4-2 in the third period of their 119-pound match when he got a reversal to tie the match and then a takedown in overtime to win 6-4.
“I beat the No. 1 kid in the state,” Whitehead said proudly after he was mobbed by his teammates. “I was motivated to be a conference champ. When it went to overtime, our fans really inspired me to finish the match.”
Milton senior Shaun O’Neill won the Red Hawks’ third title of the tournament at 145 pounds with a 7-3 decision over Sauk Prairie’s Ryan Cone.
But Milton received a scare when Johnson banged heads with DeForest senior Tyce Shirley in their 152-pound title match just 10 seconds into the bout.
Johnson was knocked out and later transported to St. Mary’s Hospital as a precautionary measure.
Jauch said later that Johnson had regained the feeling in his extremities by the time he reached the hospital.
“I’m sure he will be kept overnight for observation, if necessary,” Jauch said. “It puts the rest of the day in perspective.”
Joining Shirley on top of the podium for DeForest was Richard Skaife, who won the 215-pound title after he recently dropped down from heavyweight.
Skaife replaced Drew Barman, who won the title at 189 a year ago, after he recently underwent hip surgery and was lost for the season.
There were a few other notable absences due to illness including Portage senior Jake Hohlstein, the defending conference heavyweight champion. He was unable to defend his title after being sidelined with the flu on Friday.
Reedsburg sophomore Blake Koch won his second straight conference title with a 5-2 win over Milton freshman Landon Shea at 112 pounds. Koch was the defending 103-pound champion.
At Oregon High Scool
Stoughton 298, DeForest 284, Milton 282.5, Reedsburg 265.5, Oregon 202.5, Sauk Prairie 194.5, Baraboo 157, Madison Edgewood/Monona Grove 149.5, Monroe 113.5, Waunakee 107, Fort Atkinson 75, Portage 72, Mount Horeb/Barneveld 45.
103—Title: John Wells (Mil) dec. Nick Urso (Sto), 5-0. Third: Kristopher Neumann (ME/MG) major dec. over Ian Johnson (DeF), 12-3.
112—Title: Blake Koch (Re) dec. Landon Shea (Mil), 5-2. Third: Mike Miller (SP) dec. Matt Kowalke (Bar), 4-3.
119—Title: Garrett Whitehead (Mil) dec. Tanner Klitzke (Sto), 6-4. Third: Cody Foerster (FA) won by injury default over Luke Neumann (ME/MG).
125—Title: Nick Hite (Sto) dec. Dylan Slotty (SP), 5-2. Third: Mason Geary (DeF) major dec. over Justin Karls (Sto), 11-2.
130—Title: Lucas McGann (Bar) dec. Brandon Jasper (Re), 4-2. Third: Logan Brown (Mil) dec. Alex O’Brien (Ore), 3-2.
135—Title: Shane Sweeney (ME/MG) dec. Jackson Urso (Sto), 7-4. Third: Kyle Koch (SP) dec. Doug Stetzer (Ore), 5-4.
140—Title: Dan Schiferl (Sto) pinned Brent Landon (Re), 4:44. Third: Nick Karleski (Mil) major dec. over Bryar Harper (DeF), 10-2.
145—Title: Shaun O’Neill (Mil) dec. Ryan Cone (SP), 7-3. Third: Luke Ballentine (Ore) pinned Peter Ripp (Wau), 3:59.
152—Title: Tyce Shirley (DeF) won by injury default over Ian Johnson (Mil). Third: Eric Walsh (Ore) major dec. over Larry Volkey (ME/MG), 14-4.
160—Title: Shane Rockweiler (Re) dec. Ryan Haas-Denton (Ore), 7-5. Third: Ben Wiersma (SP) dec. Mitch Hanson (DeF), 7-1.
171—Title: James Wixom (SP) dec. Justin Langer (DeF), 3-1. Third: Michael Johnson (Mil) dec. Max Vejvoda (Sto), 8-2.
189—Title: Eric Nelson (Sto) dec. Cody Jasper (Re), 5-4. Third: Kevin Sommers (Ore) pinned Lincoln Durham (ME/MG), 2:05.
215—Title: Richard Skaife (DeF) major dec. over Chase Letson (Mil), 14-5. Third: Chad Paulson (Sto) pinned Seth Brandt (Re), :40.
285—Title: Lucas Leu (Mon) pinned Jordan Mukite (Bar), 3:42. Third: Austin Hatzinger (DeF) dec. Joe Klopotic (MH/B), 7-2.