After running roughshod through the Badger South in dual competition, Stoughton flexed its muscles against opponents from both sides of the conference.
The Vikings crowned five individual champions en route to their sixth consecutive Badger Conference title and 41st overall on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Watertown High School.
Stoughton racked up 326 points, well ahead of runner-up Milton (240).
“The guys performed at a high level all day,” Vikings coach Dan Spilde said. “We won 10 of 13 place matches, so it’s nice that we finished strong. Placing all 13 wrestlers we entered in the top eight is great, too.”
Nicolar Rivera, the defending state champion at 106 pounds, remained undefeated in his high school career by winning the conference title at 126. He improved to 34-0, as he pinned Milton’s Hunter Kieliszewski in 1:44 and Oregon’s Brandon Liddle in 3:35 before winning a 15-10 decision over Watertown’s Edward Wilkowski in the championship.
Rivera used duck-unders to beat Wilkowski 10-8 in a dual earlier this season in Stoughton and utilized a similar strategy in Watertown.
“It’s my slickest move,” Rivera said. “I wanted quick, easy takedowns. I got a little nervous at the end because I was gassed.”
Luke Mechler (160) and Brooks Empey (220) each improved to 42-1 on the season by dominating their opponents.
Mechler pinned Fort Atkinson’s Ryan Heidel in 2:23 and Milton’s Kade Desormeau in 2:25 before earning a 14-3 major decision over Monroe’s Patrick Rielly in the championship.
“I expect nothing other than to dominate,” Mechler said. “I’m looking to stay with my offense the whole time.”
Empey pinned Monona Grove/McFarland’s Guenther Switzer in 24 seconds, Baraboo’s Tyson Fry in 57 seconds and Sauk Prairie’s Simon Patterson in 1:01.
“I needed to keep my energy up and be sharp,” Empey said. “I got a little sloppy in my semifinal match.”
Rudy Detweiler (195) pushed his record to 20-3 by staying in control of all three of his matches.
He pinned Portage’s Shane Steines in 2:23, then beat Baraboo’s Ben Florencio 11-5 and Fort Atkinson’s Jacob Horvatin 8-2 in the championship.
Detweiler dislocated his left kneecap against Horvatin in a dual Dec. 19.
“I’ll probably see him again at the regional or sectional,” Detweiler said of Horvatin. “I have a good feel for what he does. I got the headlock in the first period and got in a few good shots to beat him by a good amount.”
Gavin Model pushed his record to 39-4 with a title at 145. He pinned Watertown’s Kasey Logan in 3:15, won a 13-1 major decision over Baraboo’s Eli Davidson and beat Portage’s Lowell Arnold 7-1.
“I tried to stay on my attacks and get to my offense,” Model said. “I didn’t want my opponents to control the match.”
Alex Wicks (120) finished 4-1 and Chance Suddeth (106) went 3-1, as each ended up third.
Wicks pinned Monroe’s Kyle Haldiman in 2:20 before falling in the quarterfinals to Milton’s Royce Nilo. He bounced back with a 16-6 major decision over Reedsburg’s Ryan Schneider, then pinned Fort Atkinson’s Sawyer Brandenburg in 2:13 and Sauk Prairie’s Dawson Enge in 1:25 to end his day.
Suddeth pinned Sauk Prairie’s Colton Uselman in 1:23 before losing to Milton’s Riley Nilo 3-1 in the semifinals. He bounced back to beat Monroe’s Jack Dubach 6-1 and Mount Horeb’s Jaxon Pernot by 10-0 major decision.
Heavyweight Griffin Empey placed fourth with a 2-2 record. He beat Monona Grove/McFarland’s Kristian Schlicht 5-2, lost to Monroe’s Bodie Minder, pinned Fort Atkinson’s Dorian Burhans in 1:36 and closed with a 1-0 loss to Schlicht in the third-place match.
Trent Carpenter (152) and Brandt Spilde (182) each finished fifth with a 3-2 record.
Carpenter won by 13-1 major decision over Portage’s Spencer Andrews and pinned Waunakee’s Kyle Wilcox in 5:17 to start his day, and pinned Milton’s Justin Sanchez at the 2:20 mark of the fifth-place match.
Brandt Spilde won his first, third and fifth matches. He pinned Milton’s Charlie Eckert in 5:01 and Reedsburg’s Nate Schreiner in 47 seconds, then beat Waunakee’s Daniel Ford 6-0 for fifth.
Trenton Dow (138) also took fifth with a 2-2 record. He started his day with a 7-3 win over Fort Atkinson’s Tristin Trevino and finished it with an 8-2 win over Waunakee’s Braysen Ellis.
Coltin Suddeth (132) placed sixth with a 2-3 record. He pinned Monona Grove/McFarland’s Cade Rux in 3:05 to start his day and bounced back from a quarterfinal loss to Watertown’s Walker Wichman with a 9-4 win over Portage’s Seth Williams, but lost his final two matches.
Rose Ann Marshall (113) finished eighth with a 2-3 record. She won a 13-0 major decision over Sauk Prairie’s Riley Minette to start her day and pinned Waunakee’s Coltan Nechvatal at the 3:54 mark of her fourth match.
The Vikings begin the postseason Saturday, Feb. 15, at the Division 1 Sun Prairie Regional. Competition is slated to start at 9:30 a.m.