December 10, 2013 | 04:07 PMThe Badger boys wrestling team kicked off its season last week with a loss to Elkhorn in a head-to-head match on Thursday, and a second place finish in the Waterford Early Bird Scramble Invitational.
The Badgers came out flat against Elkhorn and only won three of 13 matches.
Junior Tristian Steiner won 5-1 by decision in the 160 pound weight division. Junior Alex Martinez won by major decision 16-5 in the 113 pound weight division.
Senior heavyweight Andrew Nugent had the most impressive performance of the night, pinning Elkhorn’s Richard Heidemann in 3:24.
“Come on, Chunk! Get him, Chunk!” a Badger fan yelled during the match — a nickname for the 285-pound Nugent.
“We didn’t have much for strengths tonight,” Badger head coach Shane Koehl said. “We had no intensity, I mean, we didn’t deserve to win. You can’t win three matches and expect to win (the event). We lost several close matches with some of our key wrestlers.”
Koehl attributed the loss to mental mistakes and poor hand control.
“One thing I don’t take is excuses, so, we have to get better,” Shane said. “This is an embarrassing loss for us. We should have never lost to this team tonight.”
The Badgers gave up too many points with just a few seconds remaining in each period, Koehl said.
“We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot in that aspect,” Koehl said. “And we were coming from behind in the third period.”
Koehl said the Badgers are a young team that lacks experience — they lost a couple of wrestlers who graduated in June. He said the returning varsity players needed to make more of an impact on Thursday to take pressure off the less experienced wrestlers — something he didn’t see happen.
“Our conditioning isn’t where it’s going to be at the end of the year, but our (lack of) conditioning showed tonight,” Koehl said.
The Badgers were tired by the end of each match, which led to an increase in Elkhorn points in late-period situations.
But on Saturday, the Badgers bounced back and finished second in the 15-team Early Bird Scramble Invitational at Waterford High School. The Badgers compiled 408 points in the tournament, just 10 points behind tournament champion DC Everest.
Martinez and senior Andrew Cychner scored 58 and 59 points for Badger with first place finishes — Martinez took first in the 113 pound weight division and Cychner took first in the 182 pound weight division.
Freshman George Somerville and junior Zachary Leonard both placed third in their weight classes — Somerville in the 106 pound division, and Leonard in the 138 pound division. The rest of the team racked up points with several fourth and fifth-place finishes.
“We’re not changing anything,” Koehl said. “Towards the end of the season we’ll pick up our intensity level. Right now we’re focusing on technique and trying to get that squared away.”