Milton stumbles in team wrestling sectional
STOUGHTON--Milton’s wrestlers sat on their bench Tuesday night watching Stoughton celebrate.
Red Hawks coach Pat Jauch wanted his young team to remember the feeling going forward.
Stoughton jumped all over Milton in a WIAA team wrestling sectional final and held on for a 29-25 victory at its own gym. The Red Hawks were hoping to go back to team state for the first time since 2010. Instead, the Vikings avenged a regular-season dual-meet loss to snare the state trip away.
“I told our guys before the match that the team that wants it the most is going to win, and (Stoughton) wanted it the most,” Jauch said. “I don’t think we were overconfident. We had some guys that didn’t get down to the weights they said they would.
“That will cost you. This is team wrestling, and their team came prepared for weigh-ins. Their team came prepared to wrestle. Their team came prepared to win.”
That tone was set in the third match of the night.
With the meet tied 3-3, defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Nolan Shea took to the mat. The champion at 106 pounds last year, Shea is ranked No. 1 in the state at 113 pounds, but wrestled Tuesday at 120.
His opponent was Zach Hasselberger, who wrestled at 126 when the teams met in a Badger Conference dual earlier this year. He is now ranked No. 2 in the state at 120.
Hasselberger energized the Stoughton bench and crowd with a dominating 14-4 major decision.
“A lot of these guys dropped a weight class for regionals, and to maintain that and still be competitive (was big),” Stoughton co-head coach Dan Spilde said. “I can’t say enough about Zach going down. He asked what we needed him to do, and he did it.
“That was the turning point in the match. You major a state champion, that’s going to spark your team.”
Stoughton went on to win at 126 and 132 pounds, building a 14-3 lead.
“I’m not going to force a kid to cut any weight; that’s not going to happen,” Jauch said. “But when it came down to it, the team’s got to be more important. We have to put the team stuff first sometimes. That’s what this night’s about, and (Stoughton) got it done.”
Milton did get victories from Billy Pitzner (152), Bowen Wileman (a pin at 170) and John McCarthy (195) to get back within 26-19 with two matches left.
But Brian Wagner sealed the deal for Stoughton at 220 pounds with a 5-1 decision.
State team wrestling begins March 7 at the University of Wisconsin Fieldhouse in Madison.