Putting the finishing touches on his prep wrestling career at the UW Field House this weekend, Garrett Model couldn’t have asked for anything more.
Except a better result.
“Coming into it, we all wanted to win and we all believed we could win,” the Stoughton senior and University of Wisconsin recruit said. “But we threw what we had at them, and they threw it back.”
Model wrestled up a weight class on Saturday, scrapping his way to a 9-5 sudden-victory decision over 152-pound state individual qualifier Zach Lee, but Stoughton fell to Kaukauna at the WIAA Division 1 team state tournament for the third consecutive year.
“Throughout the week, our head coaches were writing out different scenarios and different ways that we could throw our guys at them, and how they could throw their guys at us,” Model said after the 34-27 result gave Kaukauna its fourth straight team title.
“We gave them what we thought was our best lineup, and they obviously gave us a better one.”
Stoughton co-coaches Dan Spilde and Bob Empey opted to send Model, Cade Spilde and state individual champion Tyler Dow up in weight, and insert Kaleb Louis into the lineup at 126.
“He hasn’t wrestled in maybe over a month or so,” Model said of Louis, who battled multiple injuries this season. “Willing to gut it out his senior year, he didn’t get the victory, but he kept it close and he showed his toughness for the team.”
Louis dropped a 3-1 decision to Kaukauna’s Brandon Micksh, but Cade Spilde countered with a 9-7 victory over Jacob Canner at 145 pounds. Kaukauna coach Jeff Matczak didn’t send anyone out to face Dow at 170, giving the UW recruit a forfeit that tied the dual at 21 with five matches remaining.
It was virtually all Galloping Ghosts from there, though, as they recorded a major decision at 182 pounds, decision at 195, technical fall at 220 and a pin at 285.
“They’re really good up top,” Dan Spilde said “We expected them to be awfully tough on us in those top two to four weight classes. They closed the door. The kept it close, and then they got the job done up top.”
Stoughton sophomore Hunter Lewis closed things out with a victory at 106 pounds, but the result was academic by that point.
“We really can’t point fingers at any one individual, because I thought they all wrestled hard, and that’s the main thing,” Spilde said. “That’s all we can ask of them, is give it 100 percent and I certainly thought they wrestled hard.
“We just got beat in some situations,” Spilde said. “(Kaukauna) did a good job of strategy and keeping matches close that they had to. Hats off to them. They earned it.”
106: Lewis, S, pinned Campshure, 2:48. 113: Diener, K, tfall. Steinmetz, 21-6. 120: Jenny, S, dec. Kolosso, 20-13. 126: Micksh, K, dec. Louis, 3-1. 132: Stoughton received disqualification. 138: Leon, K, pinned L. Spilde, 3:07. 145: C. Spilde, S, dec. Canner, 9-7. 152: Gar. Model, S, dec. Lee, 9-5, sudden victory. 160: Hartman, K, dec. Helland, 2-1. 170: Stoughton received forfeit. 182: Alsteen, K, mdec. Neuenfeld, 16-6. 195: Heilman, K, dec. Miller, 9-3. 220: VanAsten, K, tfall. Dykstra, 16-0. 285: Kluever, K, pinned Marshall, 0:52.
Matczak painted a picture of a gritty group when he reflected on the accomplishments of the Galloping Ghosts seniors. “To get two in a row is hard. (This) is something special.”
“We didn’t have a lot of glossy records or anything like that,” the coach said. “
Matchups were unkind to Lodi in Division 2 as it dropped a 54-15 semifinal dual to eventual state champion Ellsworth.
“We didn’t really match up very well,” Lodi coach Chris Persike said. “They’re solid, man. Credit to them.”
Jacob Heyroth and J.P. Walterscheit got pins, but Garrett Moll was the only other Lodi wrestler to score points with a 9-5 decision over Ellsworth’s Matthew Peterson.
“I told our guys just to go out and wrestle as hard as they can and give what they have,” Persike said.
Unlike a Stoughton team laden with senior stars, Lodi returns all but three competitors next season. For Persike and Co., the state semifinal defeat was something to build on.
“It’s a great experience,” Persike said. “Nobody likes to lose, but just getting here and being able to experience, I told them prior to this (that) they’ll never forget it.
“Next year is next year. No matter what team we have, what’s coming back, it’s a new year next year. We’ll just have to get focused again and try the same goal – get back here and do what we can.”
Ellsworth beat Luxemburg-Casco 27-26 in the title match when Charlie Stuhl beat Lucas Joniaux 7-0 at 106 in the final bout.
106: C. Stuhl, E, pinned Heintz, 3:36. 113: Moll, L, dec. Peterson, 9-5. 120: Strom, E, dec. Nicolay, 5-3. 126: Matzel, E, pinned Soehle, 4:29. 132: S. Stuhl, E, pinned Errthum, 0:55. 138: Lansing, E, mdec. Obois, 13-0. 145: Skelton, E, dec. Grams, 7-6. 152: Melstrom, E, mdec. Helmbrecht, 15-3. 160: Lantz, E, mdec. Barreau, 14-3. 170: Heyroth, L, pinned George, 5:06. 182: Sigler, E, pinned Persike, 3:14. 195: Walterscheit, L, pinned Hines, 1:12. 220: Linder, E, pinned Benson, 1:40. 285: Freund, E, pinned Leonard, 1:34.
Stratford, which lost to Fennimore by one point in the state final last year, got its revenge with a 49-13 win in this year’s final.
Fennimore beat Spring Valley/Elmwood 54-18 in one semifinal, and Stratford downed Random Lake 52-13.