Braeden Whitehead spent eight months rehabbing after surgery to repair a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee, but made his return to competition in Stoughton’s first home dual of the season.

Whitehead was one of seven Vikings to earn pins in a 59-18 win over Watertown on Friday, Jan. 10. The senior pinned Kolten Blome at the 3:15 mark of their 152-pound match.

“I hadn’t been out there in almost a year, so I had normal first-match nerves,” he said. “I’ve had good practices against different partners in the wrestling room, so I felt comfortable. It felt really good.”

Stoughton pushed its dual record to 14-0 overall and 4-0 in Badger South Conference duals. The Goslings jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the dual that started at 113 pounds, but the Vikings rallied to win five straight contested bouts.

“Our guys were motivated to have Braeden in the lineup and excited to compete in front of the home crowd,” Stoughton coach Dan Spilde said. “We were excited to get back into the conference after our tournament in Virginia and the Cheesehead (Invitational).”

Trenton Dow (138) tied the dual with a pin of Owen Zingler in 36 seconds. Gavin Model, one of four Vikings ranked first in their weight class by coming into the dual, pinned Kasey Logan at the 1:26 mark of their 145-pound match.

Top-ranked Luke Mechler (160) followed Whitehead’s win with a pin of Diego Cortez in 1:29. Luke Spilde (170) recorded the first of his three takedowns just six seconds into his match and pinned Pedro Martinez in 30 seconds.

Top-ranked Brooks Empey (220) pinned Sait Hernandez in 1:29. Heavyweight Griffin Empey pinned Kaden Edwards in 3:20 after three takedown attempts took Edwards out of bounds.

Chance Suddeth (106) recorded a takedown with one second left in the first period to finish off a 17-2 technical fall of Noe Ugalde. Rose Ann Marshall (113) started the dual with an 11-4 decision over Emilio Hernandez.

Top-ranked Nicolar Rivera (126) competed in his first match since having to withdraw after the first day of the Cheesehead Invitational due to illness-related soreness. He remained undefeated in his high school career, using duck-unders for four crucial takedowns in a 10-8 win over fourth-ranked Edward Wilkowski.

Brandt Spilde (182) received a forfeit victory, while Bryce Bennett (120), Alex Wicks (132) and Ryan Lamers (195) lost by pin.

Lamers filled in for the injured Rudy Detweiler, who has not wrestled since Dec. 19 against Fort Atkinson. Dan Spilde said he is hopeful to have the the fifth-ranked Detweiler return to practice in the coming weeks.