Three Stoughton wrestlers wrestled for championships at the 22nd annual Cheesehead Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 4, in Kaukauna.
Gavin Model went 6-1 in the 145-pound division, while Luke Mechler (152) and Brooks Empey (220) finished the tournament 5-1 and lost for the first time this season in the championship round.
Model (27-3) beat opponents from five different states on his way to a runner-up finish. He won by 16-0 technical fall over Platte County (MO)’s Jared Parsons, won a 15-1 major decision over Joliet Catholic (IL)’s Jack Finnegan, beat Kasson-Mantorville (MN)’s Tanner Paulson 13-6 and upset the ninth-ranked wrestler in the country, St. Paris Graham (OH)’s Alek Martin, 6-3 on Friday, Jan. 3.
Model pinned Mason City (IA)’s Colby Schriever in 1:50 and beat Mt. Carmel (IL)’s Connor Gaynor 5-4 in the semifinals, but lost a rematch against Martin 8-3 in the championship match.
Mechler (29-1) pinned Lyons Township (IL)’s Will Bettiga in 2:30 and Edwardsville (IL)’s Will Zupanci in 3:27, and beat Wisconsin Rapids’ Wyler Lubeck 5-1 on the first day of competition. He started Saturday with an 11-4 win over Arrowhead’s Noah Mulvaney for his 100th career win, and beat DeKalb (IL)’s Damien Lopez 5-1 in the semifinals.
Joliet Catholic’s Dean Hamiti Jr., a Wisconsin commit ranked 13th in the country, won a 13-3 major decision over Mechler in the championship bout.
Empey (29-1) pinned Kasson-Mantorville’s Owen Bradford in 21 seconds, Warren Township (IL)’s Ali Abdel-Jaber in 25 seconds and St. Paris Graham’s Nolan Neves in 4:13 on Friday. He won an 11-3 major decision over Mukwonago’s Caleb Willmann and beat Fennimore’s Aaron Ragels 2-0 to reach the finals, but lost a 10-1 major decision to Simley (MN)’s Bennett Tabor, ranked 14th in the country, in the championship.
Stoughton 182-pounder Brandt Spilde placed sixth with a 4-4 record. He pinned Platte County’s Gabe Harmon in 1:39 and Waterford’s Zach Kaminski in 4:45, then pinned Lyons Township’s Griffin King in 3:39 after losing by pin to Kasson-Mantorville’s Patrick Kennedy.
Spilde received a medical forfeit victory Saturday, but lost to Burlington’s Qwade Gehring twice and also fell 6-4 to Edwardsville’s Caleb Harrold.
Chance Suddeth (106) finished seventh with a 4-3 record. He pinned St. Charles East (IL)’s Alex Hadzima in 1:50 and won 6-4 in overtime against Hartford’s Tyler Klein before being pinned in the second period by DeKalb’s Ben Aranda. Suddeth won an 11-2 major decision over Smithville (MO)’s Kolby McClain, lost his first two matches Saturday, and received a medical forfeit victory in the seventh-place match.
Nicolar Rivera (126) had to forfeit his final four matches after suffering an injury and wound up eighth. He defeated Edwardsville’s Dylan Gvillo 18-11 and St. Paris Graham’s Nick Hart 8-4 before the injury.
Heavyweight Griffin Empey finished 10th with a 3-3 record. He lost his first two matches by pin, but bounced back to beat Joliet Catholic’s Josh Jones 4-0 and Freedom’s Hayden VanCamp 1-0 and pin Aurora Christian (IL)’s Mike Esquivel in 5:10. St. Charles East’s Brock Donati pinned Empey in the second period of the ninth-place match.
Trenton Dow (132) placed 18th with a 2-2 record. He bounced back from a 13-12 loss to Mason City’s Connor Wiemann with a 6-0 win over Joliet Catholic’s Owen O’Connor and a 5-3 win over Freedom’s Carsten McHugh. Dow lost to Edwardsville’s Austin Bauer 2-0 in the 17th-place match.
Ethan Peterson (120) lost his three matches.
The Vikings finished ninth out of 33 teams with 331.5 points, the fourth-best score among Wisconsin schools. Simley won the team title with 614.5 points.