2017 Badger Conference Tournament Preview
2017 Badger Conference Tournament Preview
By: Electric Guy – a.k.a. Kevin Louis
- South Badger Dual Champion – Stoughton
- North Badger Dual Champion – Waunakee
Badger Conference Faithful,
I mentioned, in the preseason write-up, it’s hard to believe this is the last year of the current Badger Conference. Newcomer Monona Grove / McFarland is stepping up to host the conference tournament. Everyone is excited to see how it lays out in the large Monona Grove Field house. Stoughton Athletic Director Mel Dow has pulled a rabbit out of his hat this year, landing the conference finals on TV. Look for the rebroadcast on Madison’s Channel 57, DishNet channel 7284, and DirecTV channel 913. The broadcast will air on February 5th at 8pm and February 8th at 6pm. What a fine way to promote this great sport!
2016/2017 Dual Team Wrap-up:
The theme of this season’s dual team race was to expect the unexpected. Starting in the Badger North, Waunakee had a remarkable run winning all its North Conference duals, capping the run with a 33-29 win over Sauk. The Warriors did lose its cross over matchup with Fort Atkinson 32-31 on criteria. Speaking of criteria, Sauk headed down to the Milton snake pit this year for their cross over dual and come up short, losing by criteria 31-30. There were a lot of close duals (parity) in the Badger this season. Another unexpected result was the South matchup between Stoughton and Milton, with everyone expecting a tight dual hinging on matchups. Well, for the first time in years, this wasn’t a squeaker. All cylinders were firing for Stoughton as they rolled to a 44-18 win.
The Badger South appears improved with Monroe making some “cheese” in dual events, Fort improved and even Oregon and MGM took a step up from last year. The Badger North seemed to have leveled off with Waunakee and Sauk clearly the top two teams followed by Reedsburg, Baraboo, and Deforest. While Portage, with its youth, and Mount Horeb losing many seniors to graduation, struggled this year
Barring any kind of collapse, Stoughton should be the odds-on favorite in the tournament race. The battle for second will be a wide-open dog fight. I believe it will come down to six teams; Milton, Fort, Monroe, Reedsburg, Waunakee, and Sauk. In the end, I’m putting money on Milton’s senior led squad. Looks like they have enough star power to move past the rest. It’s clear though, in this race, second through seventh may be the most competitive in years.
Ranked Conference Wrestlers
We enter the tournament with 40 ranked wrestlers. 195 and HWT lead the pack with five ranked wrestlers in both fields. Sixteen wrestlers are ranked top 5. One number 1, six No. 2’s, four 3’s, two 4’s, and three 5’s. It’s clear, even from an outside ranking, this is by far the deepest and most talented conference in the state.
|106 Lb.||2||Hunter Lewis||Stoughton||10|
|106 Lb.||4||Zeke Smith||Sauk Prairie||11|
|106 Lb.||7||Caden Fry||Reedsburg||9|
|106 Lb.||HM||Mason Dutcher||Milton||9|
|113 Lb.||4||Dalton Shea||Milton||12|
|113 Lb.||8||Dylan Herbrand||Sauk Prairie||11|
|120 Lb.||2||Tristan Jenny||Stoughton||12|
|120 Lb.||5||Mason McMillen||Reedsburg||11|
|120 Lb.||12||Nolan Kraus||Fort Atkinson||11|
|126 Lb.||5||Kaleb Louis||Stoughton||12|
|126 Lb.||HM||Pablo Ramirez||Baraboo||10|
|132 Lb.||1||Brandon Klein||Stoughton||12|
|132 Lb.||HM||Draven Sigmund||Fort Atkinson||11|
|138 Lb.||8||Cade Spilde||Stoughton||10|
|138 Lb.||12||Cole Murray||Monroe||12|
|145 Lb.||2||Garrett Model||Stoughton||12|
|145 Lb.||3||Drew Fjoser||Sauk Prairie||12|
|145 Lb.||HM||Austin Rauls||DeForest||11|
|145 Lb.||HM||Vince Digennaro||Milton||11|
|152 Lb.||12||Will Gahnz||DeForest||12|
|152 Lb.||HM||Nick Richards||Milton||12|
|160 Lb.||2||Tyler Dow||Stoughton||11|
|160 Lb.||7||Nate Lorenz||Waunakee||12|
|160 Lb.||10||Bryant Schaaf||Sauk Prairie||10|
|170 Lb.||11||Dempzy Foley||Monroe||11|
|182 Lb.||2||Jackson Hemauer||DeForest||12|
|182 Lb.||3||Billy Pitzner||Milton||12|
|182 Lb.||HM||Trey Haugen||Reedsburg||12|
|195 Lb.||2||Dalton Hahn||Reedsburg||12|
|195 Lb.||3||Logan Moore||Sauk Prairie||12|
|195 Lb.||3||Hayden Arneson||Monroe||12|
|195 Lb.||8||Jerry Lipke||Milton||11|
|195 Lb.||HM||Reed Ryan||Waunakee||10|
|220 Lb.||HM||Brian Brooks||Reedsburg||12|
|220 Lb.||HM||Max Olinger||Mount Horeb||10|
|285 Lb.||5||Kyle Walter||Monroe||12|
|285 Lb.||12||Alan Olkowski||Waunakee||11|
|285 Lb.||HM||Tom Rakestraw||Milton||12|
|285 Lb.||HM||Konnor NcNeal||Sauk Prairie||12|
|285 Lb.||HM||Aodan Marshall||Stoughton||11|
Weight by weight breakdown:
The field; Luke Beyer, Sawyer Brandenburg, Mason Dutcher, Austin Burbach, Dakota Wickstrum, Trey Frame, Faith Trinidad, Matt Straka, Caden Fry, Zeke Smith, Hunter Lewis, Nick Schweitzer
- Top 5 – Dutcher, Fry, Smith, Lewis, Schweitzer
- Finals Prediction: Smith vs. Lewis
- Solid group of little mites. Expect to see three to four of these boys at State, with Lewis and Smith legitimate contenders for the State title.
The field; Eli Davidson, Tristin Trevino, Dalton Shea, Quinn Halstead, Gabe Witt, Isaiah Miller, Jade Durmaj, Cole Gray, Dylan Herbrand, Dante Steinmetz, Berhett Statz
- Top 4 – Shea, Herbrand, Steimetz, Statz
- Finals Prediction: Shea vs. Steimetz
- Shea is a cut above the crowd. After Shea it could be any of the other three. Expect a real dogfight for the second spot.
The field; Johnathan Schieber, Manny Christopherson, Nolan Kraus, Braeden Whitehead, Hunter Haase, David Andrews, Steele Melum, Robert Harms, Mason McMillen, Nick Zech, Tristan Jenny, Ty Miller
- Top 7; Kraus, Whitehead, Andrews, Jenny, Miller, Melum and McMillen (assuming he’s at this weight)
- Finals Prediction; McMillen vs. Jenny
- This could be a preview of the state finals in my opinion. Surprisingly deep and talented weight class this year for the lower weights. It’s crazy as six of these talented wrestlers will be in the same Sectional including Jenny, Kraus, Christopherson, Whitehead, Melum, and Haase. Jenny is seeking his third conference title.
The field; Pablo Ramirez, JC Olson, Brendon Kind, Tyler Kersten, Isaac Becker, Gavin Lankey, Kaleb Louis, Kael Johnson
- Top 5; Ramirez, Kind, Louis, Kersten, Lankey
- Finals Prediction; Ramirez vs. Louis
- This weight is a bit of an anomaly with more open slots than 106. If McMillen enters this class for conference it will change the dynamic, putting three potential state place winners in the bracket. Fort’s Kind has broken out and is having a nice year with over 25 wins and a recent 2-0 victory over Lankey at the Terry Kramer Open.
The field; Malaki Ringelstetter, Ardit Beluli, Draven Sigmund, Austin Harms, Katelyn Gunderson, Alex Witt, Seth Loomis, Collin Legler, Dylan Golke, Jake Rose, Tommy Lehman, Brandon Klein, Colton Grindle
- Top 5; Sigmund, Harms, Golke, Klein, Grindle,
- Finals Prediction; Sigmund vs. Klein
- Solid weight class. Sigmund has had a nice year and was ranked as high as No. 4. Golke has always been solid and has 30 wins, Harm’s was ranked for a short time and Grindle is having a good freshman year and is a big part of the Waunakee success. Klein will be going for his third conference title.
The field; Nick Pfaff, Deacan Geschke, Keagan Healy, Levi Garrett, Cole Murray, Matt Slinde, Connor Brickley, Dylan Casey, Kyle Johnson, Cade Spilde, Zachary Marek
- Top 5 — Healy, Garrett, Murray, Johnson, Spilde
- Finals Prediction: I can’t pick one. May depend on the bracketing, i.e.: Garrett / Murray / Spilde and which two get tossed together resulting in a possible semifinal matchup.
- This may be the most underrated weight class in the conference. Murray has been solid for years and has come up short a few times, loosing at sectionals last year to the eventual State Champ Hannah by just a couple points. Garrett has been a hammer for Milton the past four years and is always around the rankings no matter what weight he is at. Sophomore Spilde is now also hanging around the rankings and seems to fly under the radar. He might not be as flashy as some of his teammates, but he passes them up with pure stubbornness, tenacity, and will power.
The field; Braydon Scarborough, Austin Rauls, Nick Chapin, Vince Digennaro, Tysen White, Travis Wolf, Miles Steinhoff, Samuel Pieper, Bryce Bierman, Drew Fjoser, Garrett Model, Ben Statz
- Top 5; Rauls, Degennaro, Fjoser, Model, Statz
- Finals Prediction: Fjoser vs. Model
- This is one of the top brackets in the conference and one of the deepest. You can go at least eight deep here with talented kids. Rauls, Degennaro, and Model will be stuck together for Sectionals along with Daniels of the Big Eight. This group will provide some fireworks at the Craig Sectional. Model will be going for his third conference title.
The field; Lucas Miller, Will Gahnz, Owen Worden, Nick Richards, Cailen Andrews, Patrick Reilly, Bailey Lyons, Devin Keast, Sam Bleich, Angelo Willey, Matt Bradley, Luke Geister-Jones, Nate Lorenz
- Top 6; Gahnz, Worden, Richards, Keast, Bradley, Lorenz
- Finals Prediction: Worden vs. Richards. This is one that could haunt me depending on how it is seeded. Personally, I think you have four capable of winning it. I know, as I write this, Lorenz will burn me and win it.
- Another deep weight, this one you could go nine deep with this very competitive group. Good chance you will see three out of this group at State.
The field; Mason Bisch, Greg Fischer, Ryan Golich, Killian Jauch, Connor Jacobson, Sam Kind, Robbie Ruth, Cohl Routson, Brady Fry, Bryant Schaaf, Tyler Dow, Brandon Stewart
- Top 5; Ty Dow and then everyone else. Somewhat joking, but I have had the privilege to watch this young man over the past three years up close and we are friends. This Badger recruit is at a different level right now. Schaaf is the leader of those remaining. It is great to see Fischer on the mat again this year.
- Finals Prediction: Dow vs. Schaaf
- Appears it should be very even and entertaining as the other four battle it out.
The field; Hunter Kluender, Matt Schroedl, Zach Long, Dempzy Foley, Travis Leuzinger, Parker Ehn-Howland, Jacob Pape, Trevar Helland, Preston Webster
- Top 6; Kluender, Long, Foley, Ehn-Howland, Helland, Webster
- Finals Prediction: Helland vs. Long
- Probably the most wide-open weight in the conference. This is a weight anyone might win. Along with my homer cheering for Helland, he has been Stoughton’s Swiss army knife over the years, often wrestling up one or two weight classes and coming up with some huge wins along the way. This year I must say, I’m rooting for MGM’s Zach Long. He is probably the only remaining original member from the clubs start back in 2009. I know this young man has put in the extra work in the off season and I expect to see that come through at the conference tournament.
The field; Jacob Kimpfbeck, Jackson Hemauer, Wade Sykes, Billy Pitzner, Michael Hoye, Isaac Allen, Samuel Reynolds, Brandon Andrews, Try Haugen, Kyle Benish, Will Neuenfeld, Barrett Johnson
- Top 2; Well, it would appear this isn’t going to be very climatic; Billy and Jackson are again just head and shoulders above the field. Sorry Trey H, heck of a year and wrestler, but this year 182 is a two man show.
- Finals Prediction: I’m going to state the obvious, but this will be the conference finals Billy vs Jackson and the Sectional finals and the State finals.
- Two great ambassadors for our conference. Many have stated this is the top weight class in the state with Pitzner, Hemauer, Krattiger, Williams (who is dropping to 170) and 2 of the 4 are in our conference.
The field; Tyson Fry, Alex Romeo, Nate Telfer, Jerry Lipke, Reese Barker, Hayden Arneson, Dalton Hahn, Logan Moore, Gavin Miller, Reed Ryan
- Top 6; Lipke, Arneson, Hahn, Moore, Miller, Ryan
- Finals Prediction: Hahn vs. Lipke, unless the bracketing puts Lipke and Hahn on the same side.
- Fun group with some young talent for an upper weight class. This is one of those wild scrambling weight classes. You don’t dare turn your head away for a moment, because there will be six more points racked up between the two and you will have no idea what just went down. Hahn, is clearly at a different level than the field here and will be taking on nationally ranked Raschka for a State finals title.
The field; Avery Estes, Cody Dobson, David Purcell, Alex Edmunds, Bodie Minder, Cole Holtan, Brian Books, Hayden Batz, Matt Krcma, James McFarlane, Max Olinger
- Top 3; Estes, Purcell, Brooks
- Finals Prediction: Olinger vs. Brooks
- This is one of the more wide-open weights again, with no real evident power it is a very raw and very inexperienced weight.
The field; Colin Marquardt, Tom Rakestraw, Mitchell Roeder, Kyle Walter, Ryan Pharo, Isiah Miller, Aaron Finkel, Konnor McNeal, Aodan Marshall, Alan Olkowski
- Top 5; Rakestraw, Walter, McNeal, Marshall, Olkowski
- Finals; Marshall vs. McNeal
- Deep big boy group this year and probably one of the deeper HWT conference groups out there. There is a chance you could see all five at State. We have had all five ranked at various times during the year.
Session 1 9:30-12:30 Preliminaries (bouts 1-8) Mats 1-5 (next available)
Quarter Finals (bouts 9, 11, 13, 15) Mats 1-3 (next available)
Consolation Round 1 (bouts 12, 14) Mats 4-5 (next available)
Session 2 1-2:45 Semi Finals (bouts 12-18) Mats 1-2 (next available)
Consolation Quarters (bouts 19-22) Mats 3-5 (next available)
Session 3: 3-4:30 Consolation Semi Finals [3rd] (bouts 23-24) Mats 1-3 (next available)
Consolation Semi Finals [7th] (bouts 25-26 Mats 4-5 (next available)
Session 4 5:00 Finals Mat 1 – 3rd Place
Mat 2 – 1st Place
Mat 3 – 5th Place
Mat 4 – 7th Place
Sessions 1-2 will use 5 mats
Session 4 will use 4 mats
Photos used by permission