Milton’s Shea, Hinners; Elkhorn’s Stilling lead list of four winners
MADISON When “The Four Horseman” rode out of Milton last year, they left an enormous chasm in the Milton wrestling program.
Landon Shea, John Wells, Ian Johnson and Garrett Whitehead compiled three state championships and 13 state tournament appearances between them, so somebody new needed to grab the torch.
Enter Kyle Hinners.
“From the summer the four seniors left last year, I think somebody needed to step up,” the Red Hawks senior said Saturday night at the Kohl Center. “I hope I did a good enough job.”
That last sentence was delivered sincerely, despite the fact that after what the Red Hawks had just accomplished, he very well could have had his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
While Milton experienced a roller coaster of a season, it ended at the greatest high point the program has ever achieved.
Both Hinners (138 pounds) and sophomore Nolan Shea (106) captured Division 1 state titles at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament, the first time Milton has produced two champions in one year.
“I told Kyle before he went out there that nobody deserves it more than he does,” Milton coach Pat Jauch said. “He was overshadowed for three years by the kids that were in the class ahead of him, and they were great. But to have him go out on top, nobody deserves it more than him.”
Hinners had to take out the top-ranked 138-pounder to earn the title.
Entering the third period locked in a 2-2 tie, Hinners chose the bottom position and earned a reversal about 40 seconds in. Bay Port’s Alex Blaney, who entered the match 47-1, escaped to make it 4-3 and Hinners tallied a late takedown to pocket the championship.
“It felt really good,” Hinners said. “It means even more just going out with a bang.”
Hinners said he drew motivation from watching his team- mate, Shea, win the program’s 10th state title earlier in the night.
Shea, the brother of Milton’s 2012 state champion, Landon, fell behind 2-0 and 4-2 early in his match with Menomonee Falls sophomore Aaron Daly, but dominated the second and third periods with a takedown and two near-falls to win 11-4.
After dropping down from the 113-pound weight class to 106 to end the year, the No. 4-ranked Shea entered the tournament on the same side of the bracket as the No. 1, 2 and 3-ranked wrestlers, but knocked out No. 1 Tres Leon in the semifinals to set up the title bout.
“I looked at the bracket and I was like, ‘Wow,’” Shea said. “Most people were like, ‘I’m sorry Nolan, you’ll get Tres Leon in the semis.’ I’m like, ‘Why are you saying sorry? That way I can show I actually earned it.’
“It was better than getting the easier side.”
“It’s huge because he automatically becomes a leader in the program,” Jauch said.
And once again, the Red Hawks will need one, as Hinners exits as a champion.
Milton High’s Nolan Shea gets a foot hold on Aaron Daly of Menomonee Falls during the WIAA Division 1 106-pound title match Saturday night at the Kohl Center. Shea won, 11-4, to earn the state title.