2016 / 2017 Badger Conference Preview

By TomM November 13, 2016 18:05

2016 / 2017 Badger Conference Preview

2016 / 2017 Badger Conference Preview

By: Electric Guy – a.k.a. Kevin Louis | 11-13-2016 |

2015/2016 Overall Badger Conference Champion – Stoughton

  • South Badger Dual Champion – Stoughton
  • North Badger Dual Champion – Sauk

2015/2016 Final Badger Conference Tournament Scores

Stoughton, WI 313
Sauk Prairie, WI 285
Milton, WI 215.5
DeForest, WI 204
Reedsburg, WI 190
Mount Horeb, WI 182.5
Ft. Atkinson, WI 179
Waunakee, WI 179
Baraboo, WI 162.5
Monroe, WI 155
Portage, WI 78
Oregon, WI 67
Monona Grove /McFarland, WI 19

Hello again Badger Conference Faithful,

Yes it’s that time of the year already.  I’m a bit of a nostalgia geek, so a little sad that this is the last year of this current conference makeup.   Next year (2017) the Badger Conference will be adding Beaver Dam and Watertown to the conference. Not sure yet what that means for the alignments, but I do know it’s going to add a bucket of talented wrestlers to already the deepest and most talented conference in the great state of Wisconsin, but as one Greek Philosopher said “change is the only constant”.

2015/2016 Badger Conference Year in Review: 

For much of last year Milton, Sauk, and Stoughton sat anywhere between 3 and 9 in the State D1 rankings, backing up what we all know and I make no apologies for stating over and over, The Badger Conference is the toughest and deepest conference in the state (both individually and in a team view) with no close second.

Last year brought an end to Milton’s extremely impressive streak of 22 consecutive conference titles (Dating back to their pre-Badger Conference days).  The beginning of the end of that remarkable streak started with Stoughton winning in their Badger South dual match up 39-18 and then the final nail in the coffin was at the final team standings at the Badger Conference Tournament of first place Stoughton, second Sauk, and Milton placing third.  I think it’s safe to say that streak may never be repeated by anyone in the Badger Conference.  Milton traveled up past the north / south Mason Dixon line and ventured up to Sauk for a dual, again in another barn burner, Sauk came out on top winning 31-20, there were 7 matches decided by 4 points or less, two matches by a point, and one in OT.   Folks that is one tight dual.

At Team Sectionals, the two south giants of Milton / Stoughton faced off again, with Milton closing the gap, but still coming up short again for a trip to the Team State Tournament losing by two points 30-28.  With Milton holding a lead of 21-19 after the first nine matches, winning 5 of them, the snake bitten Milton team was grasping onto some hope, but that’s when the lineup started with Stoughton’s last year’s junior class of Klein, Louis, Jenny, and Model.  That group had been battle tested and were able to re-take the lead and gut out a victory.   An interesting note, in John Hatfield’s  “By the numbers” ranking, he has Milton ranked as the 5th best team D1 over the past 5 years, while he has Stoughton ranked as 2 over that same period.   It’s a shame that they are in the same Team Sectionals each year, Milton’s team over the past years have certainly performed at a level that warranted a berth at Team state.  This marked the third year in a row of Stoughton qualifying for the Team State Finals.

Even with Milton’s absence from Team State, the Badger Conference juggernaut of dual teams were well represented again with Sauk Prairie making the semifinals and facing off against Stoughton for a second straight year.   Prior to that matchup, Sauk handled a much heralded Hortonville team that was a dark horse picked by some to make the State Finals, dropping them 36-23 in the first round at the Team State tournament.  They did that by winning 9 of the 14 matches.  It was a close dual though with 6 matches being decided by 2 points or less.

In the next round of the semifinals, we found the Stoughton vs. Sauk matchup.  This was a rematch of an earlier dual between the two at the Zelinski duals, where Stoughton had defeated Sauk 51-19 that was fighting the injury bug.  You knew though, with a healthy team, Coach Smith would have the Eagles ready to swoop down for an upset.  In a back and forth dual, Stoughton slipped by Sauk in the semi’s 30-25 earning a rematch with Kaukauna again.  Again, another close dual with each team winning 7 matches, 3 of the matches were decided by 2 points or less and one of those was in OT with Sauk winning all three nail biters.

That dual win propelled Stoughton for the second year in a row to the Team state finals against Kaukauna.  In 2015, Stoughton lost handily 41-21 and then Stoughton opened the 2015/2016 campaign with a loss to Kaukauna 44-20 at the Dells Duals.  The prognosticators really gave the Badger champions very little chance, one person asked “How can Stoughton possibly close the gap from the Dells Duals where from 170lb to 285lb Stoughton gave up 30 points in 8 minutes and 48 seconds.”   That is where a long season and coachable kids come in; a true team effort was on display by Stoughton closing the gap by 14 points in those weights in this matchup.  That closer margin opened up the opportunity for the rest of the team to build a Stoughton lead of 27-23 with two matches to go, but a championship wasn’t meant to be that day. Stoughton came up just shy, losing two close decisions to fall to Kaukauna 29-27 and finishing as Team State runner-up for the second year in a row.

2016/2017 Season Team View: 

I don’t see a drop off from the team side for the 2016/2017 season; Stoughton should come out ranked 1 or 2 in the team rankings, followed in the top 10 by again Sauk and Milton.  In addition Fort is returning almost everyone on a very talented team, though their curse is being in the Badger south with Stoughton and Milton.

Milton is rumored as returning to the Cheesehead this year (not listed on its school schedule), in addition to their Dvorak tournament, which creates a challenging schedule.  Milton will be looking to start conference “streak 2.0” early this year on Dec 13th when Milton hosts Stoughton in the “pit,” which is a little chicken coop they call a gym.  It is a great place to watch a matchup like this, with its “old school venue” feel.  This matchup should be again another barn burner with standing room only and will probably decide the conference champion before Christmas.

Looking at Sauk’s schedule they have the Marty Loy for their large challenge of the year. On a dual note, mark your calendars for January 12th fans, Sauk also travels this year down to the Milton pit, which should be a great match up.  The Badger north dual schedule should be Sauk’s for the taking, with Waunakee, Reedsburg, and Deforest nipping at their heels.

Stoughton this year will be adding to their schedule the Bethlehem Christmas tournament in PA a week before Cheesehead, creating a grueling three weeks with Badger state, Bethlehem, and Cheesehead back to back to back. If the stars align, and if the team wrestles to potential, this may give Stoughton the exposure to possibly garner some national love for this year’s team.  The recent Intermat team rankings have Southeast Polk 34, Montini 26, and Lockport 20. All three of these teams, Stoughton place ahead of at the Cheesehead, and Stoughton is returning 310.5 points versus Polk’s 154.5, Montini’s 175, and Lockport’s 220.5.   National recognition is an uphill climb for any WI team or individual, unless the team or individual comes out of PA, IL, IA, MN, CA, OH it seems.

One additional team note, I think Monroe (Yes I said Monroe) might even get some love this year in the D2 rankings.  Last year, they just missed qualifying for team sectionals behind the D2 perpetual powerhouse Evansville (245 to 243) at the D2 Regionals.   Monroe returns most of their team and should be positioned to make another sectional team run.

 2016/2017 Season Individual View: 

The conference lost some great talent this past year,  You had multi-State Champion Collin Kraus and State Champion Matt Blome graduating, along with another 5 individuals that placed and another 9 that qualified.

That doesn’t mean the cupboard is bare in the Badger, quite the opposite.  We have returning State Champions; Milton’s Billy Pitzner, Deforests Jackson Hemauer, Stoughton’s Garrett Model and Brandon Klein.

In addition, we have returning state place winners; Reedsburg’s Dalton Hahn and Mason McMillen,  Stoughton’s Tyler Dow and Kaleb Louis, Sauk’s Drew Fjoser, and Milton’s Dalton Shea.

Also, added to that, the conference is returning 9 State Qualifiers;  Sauk’s Logan Moore and Dylan Herbrand, Fort’s Owen Worden, Waunakee’s Nate Lorenz, Monroe’s Hayden Arneson and Kyle Walter, Baraboo’s Pablo Ramirez, and Stoughton’s Hunter Lewis and Tristan Jenny.

With the conference returning 2 nationally ranked kids (Stoughton’s Ty Dow & DeForest’s Jackson Hemauer), 4 state champions, 6 place winners, and another 9 state qualifiers, the individual conference tournament at the end of the year will probably be deeper than some state tournaments.   Get your tickets early folks!

On that note, hosting this year’s conference tournament will be recent Badger conference wrestling addition Monona Grove / McFarland, at Monona Grove.   Again, the parent group at MGM is second to none with this upstart program and the willingness to take on this endeavor is remarkable, it’s no small feat!  Hats off to MGM, what a great way to generate excitement within the club!

Team by Team breakdown: 

Baraboo – Key Returning / Wins:

Schieber, Johnathan 10+
Ramirez, Pablo 30+
Schick, Joseph 5+
Ringelstetter, Malaki 15+
Pfaff, Nick 5+
Scarborough, Braydon 10+
Porter, Caleb 5+
Kimpfbeck, Jacob
Hause, Gregg 5+
Kluender, Hunter 10+
Marquardt, Colin 20+

Key Losses:
  Baraboo lost some talented senior leadership and wins this year with State qualifiers Raymond and Duran graduating.  Also the graduation of Pierce is a big loss.  Having 90 plus wins graduate puts Baraboo in a rebuilding mode, sorry Coach Hanson – aka Boo, but hard to see Baraboo winning many duals this year.

Incoming/Overlooked: They have a strong youth program, but not a lot of freshmen feeding in next year that will make immediate impacts to the varsity starting lineup.  One freshman that should make the varsity lineup will be Tyson Fry. He has had success at the youth level, but it may be a big leap jumping into the upper weights as a freshman.

Odds/Ends: This young growing team is led by State Qualifier Pablo Ramirez. Look for good things out of Marquardt and Schieber this year also.  I expect Pablo to be consistently on the rankings board as he builds off his freshman year.  Probably a long shot for a ton of team accolades this year, but on the individual side, expect Baraboo to be sending through Pablo on to State again this year.

Deforest – Key Returning / Wins: 

Beyers, Luke 5+
Hemauer, Cheyenne 15+
Stuttgen, Jared 15+
Belui, Ardis 10+
Rauls, Austin 25+
Konopacki, Travis 5+
Williams, Bret 10+
Gahnz, Will 35+
Hemauer, Jackson 40+
Dobson, Cody 10+

Key Losses:
  Schodin, Rauls (state qualifiers), Kemp (3rd at state), and Girten.   Over 100+ wins graduated.  This will leave some large holes in the upper weights for Coach Hemauer to fill, but they have a talented and growing youth program and we should expect Deforest to just reload.

Incoming/Overlooked: Coach Hemauer has consistently had a strong youth program and should be able to fill in some holes again. Look for Shortreed and Manny Christopherson to make some noise on varsity this year.  Also, I believe talented Jr Greg Fischer will be back after a year away, he just recently went 3-2 at USAW preseason nationals.

Odds/Ends:  It all starts with Badger recruit Jackson Hemauer. Is there any young man out there that is a better example of “hard work pays off”?  Jackson didn’t have a ton of youth accolades laid upon him, but he has built himself into one of the nation’s top upper middle weights out there.  When he won his state final’s match against Big Ten rival recruit Ohio State’s Fritz Schierl 6-3 that had to have Barry Davis just smiling.

In addition, they have 4 other wrestlers coming back with 15+ wins. They may be able to challenge Sauk for the north dual title if everything falls right.   Look for Gahnz to join Jackson at State and probably somewhere on the podium this next year.

They are probably going to take a step back in their ability to compete as a dual team this year after losing all the upper weights to graduation.   I still expect it to be a three team battle between them, Waunakee, and Sauk for the dual north title.

Reedsburg – Key Returning/Wins:

Judd, Brayden 5+
McMillen, Mason 35+
Willey, Angelo 5+
Bierman, Bryce 10+
Martin, Keegan 5+
Fry, Brady 15+
Lorang, Tristan 1
Haugen, Trey 30+
Hahn, Dalton 40+
Finkel, David

Champagne, Hugh



Key Losses:
  They lost a very talented trio in Lewerenz, Haugen, and LeMoine that contributed 75+ wins.

Incoming/Overlooked: Look for Caden Fry to be one of the conference’s top 106lb, who comes in with an impressive youth resume and a recent championship at the AWA preseason tournament.

Odds/Ends:  Returning two state place winners with McMillen and Hahn gives Reedsburg a good base to build off of.   Also, you have a talented Finkel returning who was injured early in the year, but was well on his way to a 30+ win season before the injury.  Also, rumor has it they have McGlynn returning to help out the upper weights after taking a year off the mat.

Quality depth will be their (and many other team’s) issue for dual meets, but with Fry, McMillen, Haugen, Hahn, and Finkel, they should have 5 standing on top or close to the top of any individual tournament that they attend this season.   Daulton Hahn should be an odds on favorite for a state championship.

Fort Atkinson – Key Returning/Wins:

Kraus, Nolan 25+
Sigmund, Draven 35+
Roscioli, Nico 15+
Goldsmith, Dalton 15+
Kind, Brendon 20+
Worden, Owen 25+
Healy, Keagan 25+
Chapin, Nick 20+
Golich, Ryan 10+
Sykes, Wade 15+
Hoye, Drew 5+

Key Losses:
  Talented duo of Austin Kind and Cole Beavers, a couple of nice kids that I personally enjoyed watching grow up.  Fort will miss those 60+ wins and their leadership.

Incoming/Overlooked: I don’t have any knowledge of any incoming freshman to help. They do need help / bodies in the lower weights 106-120.

Odds/Ends:  Fort should see a good amount of success from 126 to 182, but with holes at the lower and upper weights that will hurt them in dual meets.  Worden had a break-out year qualifying for state. Look for possibly Kraus and Sigmund to join him in a Madison trip.

Fort really has a talented squad with 7 of the above-mentioned seniors and the rest juniors.  Not too many squads can lay claim to returning 9 or more wrestlers with 15+ wins to their name.  Any other conference and they would be fighting for a conference / regional / sectional and maybe Team State birth, but here in the Badger and with their regionals they just don’t have the depth for a team run.

Milton – Key Returning:

Kersten, Tyler 20+
Wells, Andrew 25+
Digennaro, Vince 15+
Lipke, Jerry 25+
Shea, Dalton 40+
Harms, Austin 15+
Garrett, Levi 20+
Richards, Nick 30+
Pitzner, Billy 40+
Rakestraw, Tom 10+

Key Losses:
  State Qualifiers Woods and Whitehead, also Sheehan, Cadd, Prochazka, Zucaro, and Arneson.  Over hundred wins graduating, but that win total doesn’t begin to speak to the true “team guys” that group was.  Many of them moving 2 weights around to fill voids and needs. That group made a huge impact over the years on Milton’s dual success.

Incoming/Overlooked:  The Milton Monsters youth program feeds this year another very talented Whitehead who will make some noise on Varsity and may have a shot at Madison this year.   One of the sleepers on the team that I don’t have listed is Scott Mansur. If he returns and is healthy, he can provide a lot of depth in those upper weights.

Overlooked, I have a few.   First Nick Richards, one of the more talented wrestlers in the badger south who probably was happier than anyone to see Collin Kraus graduate after facing him. I believe, three years in a row, multiple times each year.  To compound that bad luck, at last year’s sectionals, he has the other State Finalists in his bracket (Jake “arms built like a python snake” Morgan).   I would not be surprised to see Richards with a state berth this year and work his way onto the podium.

Vince Digennaro has been bit by the injury bug two years in a row. If he can get that behind him, look for “my cousin” Vinny to make a run at a state berth also.  If memory serves me correct, I think he knocked off State champs Nathan Smith and Garrett Model last year in duals.

Last but not least on my overlooked list is Jerry “I’m not going to take any lip” Lipke.  He had a great sophomore season wrestling in the upper weights, often moving around to fill the team’s needs that week.  Also, battled through some injuries on and off last year, Jerry is my true “dark horse” pick in the state.  He probably isn’t on a lot of people’s radar right now, but I will not be surprised at all for him to walk into Madison with 40+ wins under his belt and to be standing on the podium at the end.

Odds/Ends:  Milton just keeps bringing it every year. With a senior group of Shea (State Place winner), Harms, Garrett, Richards, Pitzner (State Champ), and Rakenstraw, you have maybe one of the more talented senior classes out there.   Though on the team side, this senior class has been snake-bit the past three years by their rival to the north for that Team State bid. Expect this senior class to lead this Milton team onto one last shot at that State team birth.

On a personal note, I have gotten to know many of these senior boys and families in depth since moving here nine years ago.  My son has trained and been practice partners with just about all of them at various years and settings.  This senior class is a great group of talented, respectful, and hardworking young men, who any community would be very proud of and you can be assured will go out and be successful in whatever endeavor they choose after High School.  I not only will miss watching this class compete, but I will miss visiting with them as young men and miss visiting with this parent group.  Best wishes boys!

Monona Grove / McFarland – Key Returning / Wins: 

DeVault, Nathan 5+
Gunderson, Katelynn 5+
Haase, Hunter
Gatica, Carlos 5+
White, Tysen 5+
Reynosa, Bryan 25+
Long, Zach 15+
Keeley, Liam 10+
Hoye, Michael 15+
Handell, Ian 10+
Barker, Reese 10+
Edmunds, Alex 10+
Roeder, Mitch 5+

Key Losses:

Incoming/Overlooked:  Isaac Becker is an incoming freshman that will probably be competitive on varsity this year in the lower to mid-weights.  MGM is still just a few years away from taking that next jump; they do have some talented 8th graders in the wings coming up in another year – Christianson, Gunderson, Gatica, and Karls.

Odds/Ends:  I’m always excited to be talking MGM wrestling and proud to see these young men continue on.   This year, MGM will graduate a senior that started with the program at the beginning, Zach Long.  Zach, a 2x sectional qualifier put in the extra summer work and I believe will be rewarded throughout the year for that.  MGM has a couple of very good athletes in their mid weights with Liam Keeley and Michael Hoye. It will be fun to see both of these boys take that next jump.  They do have a hammer in their lineup with Bryan Reynosa, who had the bad luck of being in Kraus / Morgan’s 145 sectional bracket.  I wouldn’t be surprised for Bryan to be MGM’s first State qualifier since the co-op’s creation.

Mount Horeb – Key Returning / Wins:

Loomis, Seth 20+
Olinger, Max 20+
Eyre, Cameron 5+
Steinhoff, Miles 20+
Kalscheur, Ky 10+
Leuzinger, Travis 10+
Czerwonka, Cade 10+
Faust, Aquoya 20+

Key Losses:
  Franks, Frame, Stram, Jones, and Blome are gone taking 145 wins out of the lineup.  This is one of the more talented graduating classes in the Badger with Franks placing at state, Jones qualifying, and Blome winning State last year.  Loss of talent and senior leadership will be a large hole for Mount Horeb this year.

Incoming/Overlooked:   I don’t see much or have any pulse from a youth level that may be coming in.

Odds/Ends:   Very young returning team here, Faust being the only senior.  They will have their challenges filling the lineup for duals, but they have a talented young core group that should be able to compete fairly well in individual tournaments.   My dark horse here is Aquoya, who I got to know him a little through the youth years, He’s a very nice young man who I think could have a big senior year and possibly go out with a D2 Madison berth.

Monroe – Key Returning / Wins

Witt, Gabe 15+
Gogin, Grant
Anderson, Timmy 10+
Kind, Sam 20+
Wolf, Travis 15+
Foley, Dempzy 25+
Andrews, David 20+
Murray, Cole 25+
Allen, Isaac 15+
Arneson, Hayden 25+
Walter, Kyle 30+

Key Losses:
  56 combined wins with Salzwedal, Foley, and State runner-up Traiten Gorr.

Incoming/Overlooked:  They may have a couple of freshman, Minder and Riley, that could break through and have some impact, but they are at the higher weights, so it could be tough sledding.

Odds/Ends:  This Monroe team may be overlooked. I’m sure not many people out there knew that they missed a team sectional berth by 2 points to Evansville. Monroe has some experience and talent returning. This might be one of their deepest team that they have put on the mat in quite some time.

Prediction time, keeping in line with the Cheesemakers fantastic 2016 football run with running back wrestlers, Sam Kind and Cole Murray, I think this team will upset Evansville and earn a Team Sectional birth this year.   Look for Walter and Arneson to return to Madison.  Also, I think this is Murray’s breakthrough year. Last year he lost his State qualifying bid to Ryan Hannah 3-1, Hannah went on to be the D2 State champion.   Good things happen to good kids and Cole will be on the podium for his senior season.

Oregon – Key Returning / Wins:

Mellum, Steele 25+
Corliss, Brooks 5+
Ruth, Robbie 10+
Legler, Collin 5+
Brickley, Connor 15+
Pieper, Samuel 10+
Norland, Steven 10+
Reynolds, Samuel
Ehn-Howland, Parker 15+
Woodson, Jared
Johnson, Garrett 10+

Key Losses:

Incoming/Overlooked:  Similar to last year, they did have 10 youths participate at WWF State, but they are still a few years from being part of a varsity HS squad.

Odds/Ends:   I will ditto last year’s words, “What has happened to Oregon?” It seems that their youth program remains strong, but just low numbers.   Again to repeat myself, this is the same vibrant club that ran WWF regionals for about 4 years straight, right?  Their HS numbers do look a little better than a year ago. Look for the core group of returning varsity wrestlers to build on last year’s experience.    Mellum looked to have had a very nice season last year and I would expect that he will continue to grow and have success.

Portage – Key Returning / Wins:

Straka, Matthew 5+
Poches, Nathan 25+
Horn, Alex
Bleich, Samuel 5+
Kapel, Clayton 5+
Golke, Dylan 25+
Casey, Dylan 20+
Ericksen, Mason 5+
Gmeinder, Dawson 10+
White, Pierson 10+
Routson, Cohl 10+
Holtan, Cole 5+

Key Losses:
  17 wins – Beirne

Incoming/Overlooked:  I only showed 4 that qualified for Youth State and nobody close to providing help at a HS varsity level.  I would expect that to continue to grow as Tim Haak leads the way with their middle school program.

Odds/Ends:   They will be continuing to build with second year head coach Shane Haak.  He has a very young, but talented team, with the entire returning varsity team with three being a sophomore or Junior. Look for Poches and Golke to both have big years with probably 35+ wins.  They should be a scrappy young dual team with most weights covered by experienced wrestlers.  As I said last year, with Tim and Shane both being part of the football coaching staff, I expect their numbers to continue to grow and they will grow some depth in the upper weights with those inroads.

Sauk Prairie – Key Returning / Wins:

Nolden, Adam 5+
Schaaf, Bryant 35+
Smith, Zeke 40+
Herbrand, Dylan 35+
Lankey, Gavin 5+
Pape, Adam 10+
Pape, Jacob 5+
Zech, Nick 15+
Maier, Cameron 10+
Johnson, Kyle 20+
Lehman, Tommy 15+
Fjoser, Drew 25+
Bradley, Matt 15+
Benish, Kyle 15+
Pape, Isaac 5+
Moore, Logan 40+
Walsh, Vince 10+
Batz, Hayden 10+
McNeal, Konnor 25+

Key Losses:
  Hankins, Boehmer, Bader, Smith (State place winner), Vils, Powell (State Qualifier), and Rasque were over 180+ wins last year.  Sauk probably more than any other Badger team was bit by the graduation bug.  It will be sad to not see Eddie Smith out there this year, what a great story of battling back from medical adversity years back. He is also just a respectful great young man.   You have to feel for Austin Powell, ranked as high as 2 late last year – 3x qualifier and former place winner, tremendous athlete, but just at the wrong weight and wrong draw at State with getting nationally ranked Krattiger first round.   Those will be holes to fill for Coach Smith.

Incoming/Overlooked:  Coach Smith does a phenomenal job of cultivating that depth down at the youth and JV level.   Overlooked, may be Lankey, he continues to put in a lot of off season work and competition, I think you may see a jump with him this year.  Another one I would flag is Herbrand, I think he is way under rated and has the talent to be on the podium at Madison.  My sleeper here is McNeal, I see a young man that continues to train and compete out of season. I believe he is going to make some big noise this year up in the HWT division.   I predict he will be ranked in the top 10 by year’s end.   I don’t have a good pulse on any incoming youth that could make some noise on varsity this year.

Odds/Ends:  Smith’s squad continues to be one of D1’s most consistent programs.   Last year, they just came up a bit short, losing in the quarter finals for the second year in a row to their south Badger rival, Stoughton, at Team State.   Don’t expect much of a drop-off for their dual team. I expect they will be the team to beat in the Badger north once again and I have to believe their dual team will be back at Team State this year.  On an individual side, no one will be surprised to see Smith, Herbrand, Schaaf, Moore, Fjoser, and McNeal at Madison this year and 4 to 5 of them on the podium when it’s done.

Stoughton – Key Returning / Wins: 

Lewis, Hunter 35+
Steinmetz, Dante 5+
Detweiler, Freeman 10+
Weesner, Brendan 8+
Spilde, Cade 30+
Pasold, Drew 15+
Suddeth, Cody 5+
Dow, Tyler 50+
Miller, Gavin 5+
Marshall, Aodan 25+
Klein, Brandon 50+
Louis, Kaleb 45+
Jenny, Tristan 40+
Model, Garrett 45+
Helland, Trevar 20+

Key Losses:
  2x State champion, 2x 3rd place – Collin Kraus, Joe Jenson, Austin Sobojinski, Jacob Groleau, Key Cook, Erik Harried, and Tommy Tobias.  Over 120 + wins graduated with that class.   Of course, the biggest pit-bull in that group was Collin “the Energizer bunny” Kraus, who wrapped up his HS career with 207 wins and I believe he was a 4x Badger conference champion.

Incoming/Overlooked: Stoughton has some talented freshman coming in that have had success at youth and national events: Nathan Rein, Trent Carpenter, Luke Spilde (State runner up), and Gavin Model (3rd Place at State).  Not sure where they are all going to fall in on an already deep varsity squad, but in a long season, depth and flexibility are always welcome.

Some of the overlooked Varsity contributors this season for could be: Dante Steinmetz, a former youth state champ and JV state 3rd place finisher could be the fit at the lower weights. Cody Suddeth, JV State champ, may have found his slot as he has grown into the upper middle weights.  Gavin Miller, an athletic junior, has put in the off-season work and had some recent success at FS / GR state finishing 5th place & Runner –up this past year. Gavin may turn some heads, grab some wins, and provide some depth in those upper weights that Stoughton has been lacking.

Some Varsity that may be overlooked (not sure if any of them are, but)  Aodan Marshall, look for this Junior to build off of his strong season finish, coming up just short on a State bid, but then knocking off Kaukauna’s state qualifier in the Team State finals.  Aodan also has had some off-season success this spring with a State championship and runner-up in FS / GR, giving Stoughton its most talented HWT since State champion Jesse Nelson.  Hunter Lewis, who was an undersized 106 State qualifier, will be making some big noise this year.  Cade Spilde, 30+ wins wrestling 132 / 138 / 145, came one close match from qualifying for State, knocked off a couple State qualifiers, and placed in top 8 at Cheesehead. Outsiders may overlook him, Tristan Jenny, a 2x state qualifier, 40+ wins, Badger State & Mid States Runner up, 2x Badger Conference Champion.  A tremendous hard worker and leader in the room, look for Jenny not only to qualify for a third time for State, but to be a favorite this year to win his bracket.

Odds/Ends:  Stoughton’s lineup order will be different from last year as the wrestler’s weights have spread out and some grew and some didn’t.  Stoughton has multi levels of depth from 120 to 182 with JV wrestlers who would probably have 30+ win seasons on most varsity squads.  This should give Coaches Spilde and Empey additional flexibility to shuffle wrestlers around, making for a very difficult dual team to match up with.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team start the year with 8 ranked wrestlers and the possibility of adding a couple more by year end.

As good as a dual team they will be, they might be even better at individual tournaments.  This team has the horses to place many individuals; you just need to look to last year’s Cheesehead 7th place finish.  Stoughton returns 7 wrestlers that were ranked in WI last year, all with legitimate chances at State placements in 2017.

This Senior class of Garrett Model (State champ & recent Badger recruit), Brandon Klein (State champ), Tristan Jenny (2x State qualifier), Kaleb Louis (State place winner), along with Trevor Helland, Matt Curry, and  Josiah Nelson (who moved) when it’s all said and done, barring injuries these seniors will have around 750+ career wins combined.   In the past 3 years, this senior class has been part of 2x Badger State champs, 2x Midstate champs, 3x Regional champions, Zielinski dual champs, Dells Duals champs, Badger Conf champs, and this team has qualified for Team State all three years and finished as State Runner-up 2x during that run.

Over the past 40+ years, Stoughton has been blessed with some very talented individuals and teams to come through the school, which has included Olympians, Badger coaches, Big Ten Champions, etc., yet even with all those past accomplishments, you would have to rank this senior class up there as one of the top classes to come through the Stoughton wrestling room.

On a personal note, as my son’s HS wrestling comes to an end, I have been involved with Stoughton wrestling over the last eight years and it has been a blessing to myself, my son, and my family.   He has received some of the best coaching in the state, opportunities to compete at some of the top venues, and has had some of the finest practice partners anyone could wish for over that time.  This club / parent group is special and my family has created some lifelong friends through this great sport.

Waunakee – Key Returning / Wins:

Miller, Ty 20+
Andries, Claire
Webster, Harrison
Marek, Zachary 30+
Ryan, Reed 25+
Ellis, Jackson 10+
Hooker, Luke 25+
Olkowski, Alan 30+
Lorenz, Nate 35+
Joseph, Brody 5+
McFarlane, James

Key Losses:
  70 + wins between state qualifier Ripp and 6th place finisher Statz.

Incoming/Overlooked:  Rumor has it that Waunakee has a very large and strong incoming freshman class.  This should help with the depth issue that Waunakee has struggled with over the years.

Odds/Ends:   Waunakee returns 9 sectional qualifiers from last year, which should provide a very good base for their dual team.  Leading the way is senior and state qualifier Nate Lorenz.  Look for him to make another push to the podium this year.  Most of their returning varsity contributors will be sophomores and juniors this upcoming year.  The talented sophomore class of Miller, Ryan and Marek contributed over 75+ wins last year and their junior class of Ellis, Hooker, and Olkowski, contributed over 70+ wins last year.  It may be a long shot for them to knock the Eagles off their perch, but the warriors are definitely heading in the right direction.

By TomM November 13, 2016 18:05