Marko joins elite club with fourth state championship By Nate Woelfel

By TomM February 29, 2016 17:50

Marko joins elite club with fourth state championship By Nate Woelfel

Marko joins elite club with fourth state championship
By Nate Woelfel | Wisconsin Wrestling Online

MADISON – Hunter Marko of Amery made history on Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

The senior capped an incredible high school career by winning his fourth consecutive championship at the WIAA Individual State Wrestling Tournament.

With a 9-1 major decision over Brady Simonson (Bloomer/Colfax) in the Division 2 138-pound state final, Marko became just the 14th wrestler in Wisconsin history to win four state titles.

“It’s really humbling being included in a group like that, so prestigious. The likes of Kevin Black, Jesse Thielke and Jens Lantz,” Marko said. “I remember watching Jesse Thielke. When he won his fourth one … I wanted to be that guy one day. And here I am today.”

Though he made Saturday night’s victory, win No.150 of his career, look fairly easy, Marko admitted to having some anxious moments before the match. To calm himself, he looked to the man upstairs.

“I was really worked up before this last one,” Marko said. “I was just praying that he would give me peace and he gave me the strength to wrestle to the best of my ability.”

Marko went straight to his offense from the opening whistle, pushing the match to an almost frantic pace in the early going.

“That was part of the plan. I wrestled [Simonson] last week at sectionals. I guess the word for [his style] is ‘spazzy.’ I wasn’t ready for that last weekend,” Marko said. “This weekend I was ready and I wasn’t underestimating him because he wasn’t taking what I worked for, so many years. No disrespect to him. He’s a great wrestler. But I wanted this bad.”

After the match Marko said that he wrestled through, what was believed to be, a high ankle sprain that he suffered in Friday night’s semifinal bout.

“We taped it up. I took a lot of Advil and I was good to go for tonight,” Marko said. “You’re not going to feel 100 percent all the time and you have to be able wrestle through everything.”

In the end, Marko led wire-to-tire and earned his piece of history.

“I’m just really excited. It’s something I’ve been working at for a long time,” Marko said. “It’s been so many hours and traveling. It’s unreal.”

His accomplishment brought a record crowd of an estimated 13,966 to its feet both after the match and during the awards ceremony. Though the spotlight was solely on him, Marko was quick to express gratitude to those who helped him get to the top and remain there.

“I couldn’t have done it without my family, my friends and my workout partners,” Marko said. “There are just so many people to thank.”

Four-Time Wisconsin State Champions

  • Matt Hanutke, Pittsville (1987-90)
  • Kraig Underwood, Athens (1992-95)
  • Brian Slater, New Lisbon (1993-96)
  • Scott Hady, North Crawford (1994-97)
  • Kevin Black, River Falls (1995-98)
  • Josh Miller, Arcadia (1999-2002)
  • Cole Wunnicke, Ithaca (1999-2002)
  • Zac Cibula, Luxemburg-Casco (2005-08)
  • Bobby Wunnicke, Ithaca and Dodgeville (2005-08
  • Nick Hagar, Tomahawk (2006-09)
  • Jesse Thielke, Germantown (2008-11)
  • Jarod Donar, Cuba City/Southwestern (2009-12)
  • Jens Lantz, Ellsworth (2011-14)
  • Hunter Marko, Amery (2013-16)
By TomM February 29, 2016 17:50
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