It will be winner take all tonight for Jackson Hauri or Nolan Kicmol.
The two Rock Valley Conference rivals both won WIAA Division 2 state semifinal matches at 152 pounds at the Kohl Center on Friday night.
Kicmol, an Evansville/Albany senior, and Hauri, a Brodhead/Juda junior, will meet for the third time this season with a state title on the line. They split their two previous matches with Kicmol winning at the Rock Valley tournament, and Hauri winning at the regional meet.
Hauri (33-2) rallied from an early deficit to beat Devan Vandenbush of Luxemburg-Casco 7-3, while Kicmol (45-4) used a crucial second-period takedown to secure a 3-2 win over Jarrett Dolata of Mauston.
Hauri said his strategy in facing Kicmol will be slightly different heading into tonight’s bout.
“I’ll change my style because I know I have to be more aggressive on my feet and try to get my moves in on my feet,” Hauri said. “And on the bottom, I really haven’t done much the last couple of weeks, so I have to capitalize on any opportunity I get.
“We know each other pretty well and what the other one likes to do, so I have to be the one that dictates how the match goes.”
Kicmol fell behind, 1-0, in his semifinal match in the second period but took the lead with a perfectly-executed takedown and got a critical insurance point with an escape in period three.
Kicmol, who finished second at state two years ago and was third last year, knows tonight’s title bout should be epic.
“I’ve just got to stay aggressive and score points,” Kicmol said. “Obviously, we’ve wrestled twice already, so I have to just keep doing what has worked for me all season.
“I’m not going to let up. This is why you train so hard.”
Four other area wrestlers came up short in their bids to advance to state title bouts.
Milton’s Mason Dutcher came up a point short in his Division 1 semifinal bout. The junior erased a 3-0 deficit against Jack Ganos of Hartland Arrowhead with two stalling points in the third period but could not get an escape in the final 20 seconds and lost 3-2.
Elkhorn‘s Daniel Stilling (42-6) ran into a buzzsaw in his D1 match against Keegan O’Toole of Arrowhead. The junior lost by major decision 15-6.
In Division 2, Whitewater’s Jimmy DuVal and Edgerton’s Cole Bavery both lost semifinal bouts.
Bavery, a junior who is now 42-4 on the season, lost 5-2 to Ben Durocher of Wrightstown.
The senior DuVal (43-3) lost an 11-4 decision to Jacob Heyroth of Lodi.
Tonight’s finals begin at 5 p.m. with the March of Champions.