Stoughton entered the 2018-19 season as the defending team state champions, having finally toppled Kaukauna from the top of the Division 1 heap.
Instead of cowering in the face of pressure, the Vikings embraced the target on their backs en route to a second straight D1 crown.
Stoughton won its fair share of tournaments and duals during the regular season, and per usual, hit its stride with the state series on the horizon. The Vikings won the Badger Conference meet with a record 383 points, more than 100 better than runner-up Waunakee and 105 clear of Badger South rival Milton.
Several wrestlers set themselves up for deep runs in the individual state tournament, and two delivered with gold medals Feb. 23 at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Nicolar Rivera became the program’s 16th undefeated state champion, earning a 15-2 major decision over Kaukauna’s Jaden Verhagen in the 106-pound final. Rivera finished the season 58-0 and ranked sixth in the nation according to IntermatWrestle.com.
Hunter Lewis capped his Stoughton career with a second straight individual title, defeating Elkhorn’s Daniel Stilling 8-7 in the 138-pound championship match. Lewis ended the season 55-1 and is now competing at North Carolina State.
Rivera’s and Lewis’ titles gave Stoughton its 50th and 51st individual state winners, one ahead of Mineral Point for the most in state history.
Luke Mechler (160 pounds) and Brooks Empey (195) placed second in their respective weight classes. Mechler finished the season 57-5, and Empey was 56-8. Cade Spilde capped his career with a fourth-place finish at 160 pounds.
Stoughton then turned its attention to team state. The Vikings came in as the top seed, and immediately backed it up in wins over Arrowhead (50-21) and Kaukauna (45-18) on March 2 to set up a showdown with Mukwonago.
The Indians proved no match for Stoughton, as the Vikings celebrated its second straight title with a 42-24 victory on March 3 at the UW Field House in Madison.
Stoughton finished the season 21-0 in dual competition and ranked 48th in the country.