Cychner (click for larger version)
Johnson (click for larger version)
January 22, 2013 | 05:54 PMWAUWATOSA — Badger wrestling coach Shane Koehl has always stressed to his junior varsity wrestlers to stay ready in case they are needed on varsity.
With undefeated wrestler Randy Shine out of Saturday's lineup at the Wauwatosa West Invite, Koehl needed his young guys more than ever.
The Badgers responded with four dual victories, including a 35-22 victory over West Allis Hale in the championship of the Wauwatosa Invite. It was Badger's third straight invite title. The local boys improved to 19-3 overall in dual meets this season.
Shine, who is 27-0 and ranked second in the state at 145 pounds, sustained an injury in practice and missed the tournament. Koehl said others filled in nicely.
"It was a good tournament," he said. "All four duals were against teams that had full lineups, some very good wrestling from all teams. So without one of our leaders in the lineup, the team responded. They all knew that they had to do even more to help the team. Tony Howard filled in for Randy at 145 and did a very nice job. This team has had to deal with injuries as do most wrestling teams during a season. I always tell our JV wrestlers that you never know when you are going to be called upon to wrestle at the varsity level, you need to be ready."
In the championship against Hale, Andy Cychner and Robert Johnson notched pins, and Howard picked up a victory to help the seal the deal.
Badger also pinned down victories over Wauwatosa East/Hale, 42-21, Oconomowoc, 52-18, and South Milwaukee, 34-21.
Oconomowoc was 14-1 in duals before losing to the Badgers. Also, Badger jumped out to a 42-0 and cruised against Wauwatosa.
"I thought all the way through the lineup Saturday every weight class contributed and that is what we need to keep improving," Koehl said.
After tournament victories at Verona, Badger and Wauwatosa, Badger is flying high and still ranked as an honorable mention selection in Division 1 in the state. However, Southern Lakes rivals Burlington and Elkhorn are also excelling and in honorable mention spots. Both the Demons and Elks won tournaments last weekend against solid competition.
"Elkhorn, Burlington and us are all capable of winning the conference meet," Koehl said. "It all comes down to who puts it all together that Saturday. All three teams are talented and have wrestlers that score big points in tourneys."
Badger's toughness will be put to the test Thursday at home against Elkhorn. After losing earlier in the season to Burlington, Badger must beat Elkhorn to keep pace in the SLC.
"We need to be physical and aggressive and push the pace for the entire match," Koehl said. "Our conditioning needs to be superior to theirs, and we must win matches in the third period. There is no love loss between the two teams and we have to protect our home mat. We match up pretty well. Where they have good kids so do we. We need to get some big pin points at certain weights and not get pinned. I see about four matches that are pretty even, and whoever wins those will win the dual. It is a dual we have to have to stay in contention for the SLC crown."