Tags: Feature Sports Story
Johnson (click for larger version)
Hildebrandt (click for larger version)
February 14, 2012 | 05:32 PMIt came down to the final match, and Badger senior heavyweight Tom Cychner showed he can be a go-to closer when needed.
Saturday at the Badger Regional, the Badgers trailed Milton by three points and needed a pin from Cychner to win their first regional team title in 37 years. In a wrestle-back, second-place tilt, Cychner needed only 3:36 to pin Beloit Memorial's Casey Schreiber. Cychner improved to 35-7 with the win, and it gave Badger a two-point regional victory over Milton.
"It was nice to see Tom come through," Badger coach Shane Koehl said. "It was significant for the program. We have something special this year. It's great for the kids. We needed a win like that, and we need to learn to win big meets. It bodes well for the future."
It was only the second regional title ever for Badger wrestling, which started in 1962. The 1975 team was the last regional winner. The team advanced to team sectionals against Stoughton on Tuesday. Badger has never made it to team state. Check next week's Regional News to see if Badger advanced to team state March 2 and 3 in Madison.
Cychner joins eight Badgers who qualified for Saturday's Sun Prairie Sectional. Cychner (285), Randy Shine (138), Ed Ruzga (220), Robert Johnson (195), Zac Leonard (106), Mike Coyne (113), Andrew Cychner (160) and Taylor Hildebrandt (182) will all compete for the right to make it to individual state Feb. 23 to 25 in Madison.
Three Southern Lakes schools won regionals Saturday, including Badger, Burlington and Delavan-Darien.
Ruzga gained some revenge on Elkhorn's Dakota Johnson, who defeated Ruzga for the conference title. He took first place with an 11-6 decision in the finals.
"Eddy came in with a different attitude and mindset," Koehl said. "It was good to see him respond like that."
Ruzga won his first two matches by pinfall, one which came in 13 seconds.
In the finals, Shine was able to gain an early lead with a takedown on Milton's Kyle Hinners before riding it out for the 3-0 victory and a first-place finish.
"Randy has been pressing lately," Koehl said. "He hasn't looked like himself. But he started the day with a pin, and it took the pressure off. He made no mistakes in the finals and wrestled really well."
Shine received a bye in the first round before pinning Wilmot's Michael Lindeman in the second round.
Johnson also picked up a regional title Saturday. After a bye, Johnson earned a pin in the second round before facing Wilmot's Aaron Bonogfsky in the finals. Johnson won by an 8-5 decision.
"Robert wrestled well," Koehl said. "He is building confidence, and I hope it carries over."
Cychner and Hildebrandt each took second place. Hildebrandt won the wrestle-back match, 18-8, over Elkhorn's Dylan Linhart.
"Taylor lost to the two-time state champ, 6-1," Koehl said. "He has a great shot to make state."
Leonard, Coyne and Andrew Cychner all earned third place. Coyne won his third-place match, 6-4, over Kenosha Tremper's Jared Nichols. Koehl said Coyne had an "excellent day." Leonard and Andrew Cychner each lost second-place matches.
Overall, Koehl said it was a solid day for the team.
"We are still an unknown in the state," he said. "We talked about finishing strong in regionals. We had a good last round. Every point was crucial."
This Saturday, Koehl thinks multiple Badger wrestlers can make it to state.
"We can't have an off day," he said.