Multiple times during his run to a second consecutive WIAA Division 1 state individual championship, Jackson Hemauer recalled the advice he received from University of Wisconsin coaching staffers:
“Wrestle like a Badger,” they told him.
The DeForest senior did just that, plowing his way through a talent-laden field to win the WIAA Division 1 182-pound title at the Kohl Center last month.
Compiling a sterling record of 49-1, Hemauer was a step above everyone else for most of the season. But he also managed to dig deep when it counted, rallying from behind in the final seconds of a match against Waterford junior Jared Krattiger to earn a state final berth.
As a result, Hemauer has been named the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com All-Area Wrestler of the Year for the 2016-2017 season.
Hemauer’s only loss this season came at the hands of 182-pound state runner-up and former 170-pound champion Billy Pitzner of Milton, who edged Hemauer 6-4 in overtime at the Badger Conference tournament.
But for Hemauer, the defeat just stoked the fire. He defeated Pitzner twice during the stretch run, including a 6-3 decision in the state final.
In the wake of the loss, the University of Wisconsin recruit proclaimed that no one could beat him if he wrestled to his potential. As it turned out, no one did.
Also considered for the award were Stoughton junior Tyler Dow and River Valley senior Dustin Hatfield. Dow, also a Wisconsin recruit, won the Division 1 state title at 160 pounds. Hatfield claimed the Division 2 crown at 126.
Coaches of the Year
Co-head coaches Dan Spilde and Bob Empey of Stoughton led the Vikings to the WIAA Division 1 team state championship match for the third consecutive season. As a result, they earned WSJ/WisconsinPrepZone.com Coach of the Year honors for the third consecutive season.
Stoughton compiled a perfect 23-0 regular-season dual-meet record en route to a third consecutive team state runner-up finish.