Milton wrestlers out to show who’s boss
Milton High’s wrestling team shared the Badger Conference title last season with Stoughton.
That didn’t sit well with the Red Hawks. Not after dominating the Southern Lakes Conference for more than 15 years.
Milton went undefeated in Badger South dual meets this season and is hoping to make it a clean sweep at the conference meet Saturday at Reedsburg.
Anything but an outright conference title would be a major disappointment for coach Pat Jauch and the third-ranked Red Hawks.
“We’ve got a good, solid team that doesn’t want any part of sharing the title. So, yes, it’s a big deal to us,” Jauch said. “But it’s not going to be easy. There are going to be some outstanding teams participating besides us, and a number of very good wrestlers at almost every weight class.
“What I like about this team is that they’re having fun while staying focused on the task at hand. I’m more confident than ever about our chances going in.”
Seven defending champions will wrestle Saturday, including Milton’s John Wells at 103 and Garrett Whitehead at 119, who are a combined 60-9 this season. Wells is ranked second in the state in Division 1 at 103, while Whitehead is third at 125.
Also competing for the Red Hawks will be senior James Miller, a three-time state qualifier, who missed last year’s conference meet with a skin condition.
“The knock on us has been that we can’t wrestle tournaments,” Jauch said. “We’ve really focused on that this season and are out to prove that’s not the case.
“My biggest concern is sickness. We had a couple of kids miss practice the last couple of days (Monday and Tuesday), but hopefully, they’ll be ready to go by Saturday.”
Other returning champions are Reedsburg’s Blake Koch at 112, Stoughton’s Nick Hite at 125, Reedsburg’s Shane Rockweiler at 160, Sauk Prairie’s James Wixom at 17 and Stoughton’s Eric Nelson at 189.
The 125-pound weight class figures to be the toughest. Whitehead, Koch (11) and Hite (12) are all ranked in the top 15 in the state.
“This is really when the fun starts,” Jauch said of the conference tournament which leads into the regional tournament the following Saturday. “This team is ready. We’ve been getting after it in practice pretty good.”