Six wrestlers advance to title matches
MADISON With just 15 seconds remaining and one of his young wrestlers trailing by one point in a state semifinal match, Milton coach Pat Jauch shouted out quick instructions.
Sophomore Nolan Shea gave a glance over his shoulder as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this.”
In the top position on the reset, Shea dug into his bag of tricks, executing a tilt he learned from Milton’s 2010 state champion John Wells.
The move worked for a three-point nearfall in the final seconds and the 7-5 victory over Tres Leon—the topranked Division 1 wrestler at 106 pounds—will give Shea a chance to join his brother and Wells in the Red Hawks’ club of state champs when he wrestles for a title tonight at the Kohl Center.
Both Milton (Shea and senior Kyle Hinners) and Elkhorn (seniors Jake Stilling and Dakota Johnson) boast a 2
“You get the wrist and elbow and you roll it and tilt him,” Shea (37-5) said, describing the maneuver that won him his semifinal match. “John Wells, my whole freshman year, he kind of worked with me with it, but everybody knew he had that move, so I kept it contained.
“I practiced it nonstop, but nobody knew I had that move. I was waiting for the perfect time.”
Friday night’s match certainly qualified.
He was down 5-4 when the whistle blew and the wrestlers reset with 15 seconds remaining. At that point, Jauch encouraged Shea to let Leon up and then go for a quick takedown, which would have sent the match to overtime.
Shea had a different idea.
“We thought the momentum was going our way … so let’s take him to overtime and do it again,” Jauch said. “But when a kid looks back at you like that, you just let him go. He knew what we wanted to do and where he was going.”
Shea, whose brother Landon captured a state title at 126 pounds a year ago, will face Menomonee Falls sophomore Aaron Daly (44-7) in the finals.
At 138 pounds, Milton will be represented by Hinners (33-6), who used a dramatic thirdperiod reversal to beat Marshfield sophomore Mitch Hertel, 2-1.
“All four years, just working up to this, feels great,” said Hinners, who will square of with top-ranked Alex Blaney (47-1) of Bayport. “[Today] will be full of emotion.”
“As soon as they decide to do something, especially these two guys (Hinners and Shea), they’re going to get it done,” Jauch said. “It’s all on them. They accomplished it.”
At 170 pounds, Elkhorn’s Jake Stilling (45-1) earned two more pins on Friday, giving him three in as many chances at the state tournament. The reigning champ and future University of Wisconsin wrestler takes on No. 2-ranked Merrill junior David Pophal (43-3) tonight.
And Elks senior Dakota Johnson (36-0) will put his unblemished record on the line one more time at 220 pounds. The top-ranked Johnson earned a 9-1 major decision in the quarterfinals and a 7-0 decision in the semis, advancing to take on No. 2- ranked Merrill junior Tyler Schmidt (44-0) in the finals.