Seth Niday has been one of several wrestlers spearheading Oregon’s youth movement this season, proving every week he could compete with some of the best 152-pounders in the conference and state.

The freshman paced the Panthers with a runner-up finish at 152 in the Badger Conference Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Watertown High School.

“This proves that the hard work pays off,” Niday said. “I do the extra work outside of practice and compete with different clubs at national tournaments. It really boosts my confidence to know I can compete with the best.”

Niday pinned Baraboo’s Frankie Van Houten in 1:53 and Reedsburg’s Jacob Schnickert in 3:28 and won a 17-2 technical fall over Watertown’s Kolten Blome to reach the championship round. He then lost a 7-3 decision to Monona Grove/McFarland’s Zachary Gunderson.

“I thought Seth wrestled masterfully, even in the championship match,” Oregon coach Ned Lease said. “He didn’t make any big mistakes. We look forward to seeing Gunderson again.”

The Panthers finished 11th out of 15 teams with 108 points. Stoughton won its sixth consecutive conference title and 41st overall with 326 points.

Brandon Liddle (126) went 3-2 and Nate Hall (195) went 2-2, as each finished fourth.

Liddle won a 15-4 major decision over Reedsburg’s Caylee Fry and beat Monroe’s Brady Schuh 5-2 to start his day, then bounced back from a loss to defending 106-pound state champion Nicolar Rivera of Stoughton with an 8-2 win over Monona Grove/McFarland’s Cole Weaver. He lost to Waunakee’s Nick Schweitzer 9-4 in the third-place match.

Hall beat Monroe’s Deion Hargrove 5-2 and Baraboo’s Ben Florencio 7-3 after losing his first match to Waunakee’s Jack Schweitzer. He lost to Sauk Prairie’s Nolan Vils 7-2 in the third-place bout.

Cooper King (160) beat teammate John Ruth for the spot at conference and ended up fifth with a 2-2 record. King pinned Watertown’s Brain Kronquist in 3:49 after losing in the first round and beat Baraboo’s Noah Langeberg 9-4 in the fifth-place match.

Karl Brooks (170) also placed fifth with a 2-2 record. He started his day by pinning Reedsburg’s Charlie Walker in 5:54 and pinned Walker at the 2:16 mark of the fifth-place match.

Owen Heiser (145) took seventh despite a 3-2 record. He started his day with a pin of Monroe’s Dakota Wickstrum in 1:09. After two losses, Heiser won a 17-2 technical fall over Fort Atkinson’s Vincent Healy and pinned Watertown’s Kasey Logan at the 2:22 mark of the seventh-place match.

Ryan Payne (106), Ramiro Ramos (113), Dakota Brown (120) and Tyler Wald (182) lost both of their matches. Thomas Lyon (132) lost all three of his matches.

Michael Schliem, who would have been seeded second at 138, was out with the flu.

The Panthers begin the postseason Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Division 1 Sun Prairie Regional. Competition is slated to start at 9:30 a.m.

“We have to be a little more disciplined with our decision-making,” Lease said. “Sometimes, we need to roll the dice. I still don’t think we’ve seen our best yet.”