The penultimate match of Tristan Jenny’s prep wrestling career ended in disappointment. But even in the moment, the Stoughton senior was able to put the result in perspective.
“It doesn’t feel good,” Jenny said of losing a 9-8 decision to Menomonee Falls senior Matt Anderson in the marquee matchup of the teams’ WIAA Division 1 state semifinal dual Friday night at the UW Field House.
“But it’s kind of short-term memory. I’ll forget about it. I’ll wake up in the morning (and) it’ll be a new day.”
Today might be a new day for Jenny and the Vikings, but it will come with a familiar feeling. While Jenny came up short against Anderson, the narrow defeat was the clinching match in Stoughton’s 34-21 victory over the Indians and set up a championship showdown with Kaukauna for the third consecutive season.
“The big thing is just the confidence level,” Stoughton co-coach Dan Spilde said. “From the last day here last year, they walked out of here and said, ‘We’re going to make a run at it.’”
Stoughton’s day started with a 40-22 quarterfinal victory over Southern Lakes Conference runner-up Waterford, a dual that saw the Wolverines in control after the heavier weights.
Freshman Gavin Model sent his team through to the semifinals, pinning Waterford’s Nick Goldammer in 1 minute, 40 seconds in the clinching match.
The Vikings then capitalized on the quick turnaround, jumping out to a commanding 21-3 lead over the eighth-ranked Indians.
“To win a dual against them, it takes a lot,” Menomonee Falls coach Jim McMahon said. “You can’t have a weakness, a weak spot in your lineup, and I thought our kids battled really well tonight.”
Menomonee Falls scored major decisions at 195 and 220 pounds, but Stoughton junior Aodan Marshall pulled out a 5-1 win over Indians junior Logan Fallon to give the Vikings momentum heading into the lower weight classes.
“They’ve got five state finalists,” McMahon said. “We knew that, and we had the chance to get some more bonus points early in the match at some of those upper weights, and we weren’t able to do that.”
Those finalists performed in fine fashion, with Hunter Lewis (106 pounds) and University of Wisconsin recruits Garrett Model (145) and Tyler Dow (160) all recording semifinal falls.
Jenny’s loss to Anderson — who finished fourth at the state individual tournament last weekend — at 120 was the only blemish. Senior Brandon Klein sat out the semifinal.
“The starting lineup, there’s not a whole lot more we can say about them,” Spilde said. “A lot of great stuff. We hope they can keep it coming.”
A year removed from a heartbreaking 29-27 championship loss to Kaukauna, one thing has changed for the Vikings: their sense of urgency.
“Our seniors have been together since we’ve been four or five years old,” Jenny said. “We’ve been wrestling each other forever. It would just be awesome to go out with this, this year, as a group.”
The second-ranked Galloping Ghosts, 47-19 winners over Holmen in their own semifinal dual, pose a familiar problem for the top-ranked Vikings. And with both teams undefeated in dual-meet action this season, the finale figures to be pretty even.
“It’s going to come down to bonus points,” Jenny said. “I think we’re kind of split right now, 7-7, but it’s going to really come down to which team gets the most bonus points. I think that’s going to be a big thing tomorrow.”
Fitting of the prep wrestling season’s final day, Stoughton knows nothing will come easy.
“We know we’ve got a tall task in front of us,” Spilde said. “We just have to hope that we’ve got enough tomorrow.”
STOUGHTON 40, MENOMONEE FALLS 21
145: Gar. Model, S, pinned Heitman, 1:18. 152: Geister-Jones, S, def. Hansen, 6-2. 160: Dow, S, pinned Umbs, 0:57. 170: McMahon, MF, def. Helland, 10-5. 182: Miller, S, pinned Thomas, 1:51. 195: Schafer, MF, mdec. Neuenfeld, 9-1. 220: Eruchalu, MF, mdec. Dykstra, 10-2. 285: Marshall, S, def. Fallon, MF, 5-1. 106: Lewis, S, pinned Pogorzelski, 0:53. 113: Steinmetz, S, mdec. Lind, 11-2. 120: Anderson, MF, def. Jenny, 9-8. 126: Lasanske, MF, def. Gav. Model, S, 5-0. 132: Wunsch, MF, mdec. Gibson, 12-1. 138: Spilde, S, pinned Staron, 5:05.
STOUGHTON 40, WATERFORD 22
138: Spilde, S, dec. Christenson, 7-2. 145: Gar. Model, S, mdec. Thomas, 15-2. 152: Guardiola, W, dec. Geister-Jones, 5-1. 160: Helland, S, dec. Danowski, 7-3. 170: Dow, S, pinned Cadman, 2:51. 182: Krattiger, W, pinned Neuenfeld, :57. 195: Trautman III, W, dec. Miller, 6-3. 220: Biggs, W, mdec. Dykstra, 10-0. 285: Mastrocola, W, pinned Marshall, 3:59. 106: Rein, S, mdec. Deboth, 11-3. 113: Lewis, S, mdec. Welker, 8-0. 120: Jenny, S, mdec. Winski, 9-0. 126: Gav. Model, S, pinned Goldammer, 1:41. 132: Klein, S, pinned Kaminski, 3:39.