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Badger grapplers 3-1 at Tosa West Invite

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A FEARSOME FOURSOME - Four Badger wrestlers finished with perfect 4-0 marks Saturday at the Tom Janssen Invite, Randy Shine (135), John Leibforth (140), Dylan Peter (160) and Brad Nugent (285). Shine — def. Isaiah Lewis, South Milwaukee, 8-0; pinned Micho Gruichich, West Allis Hale, 1:50; def. Brandon Ruffalo, Manitowoc Lincoln, 11-4; pinned Logan Nygaard, Wisconsin Lutheran, 3:04. Leibforth — pinned Stuart Swanson, SM, 3:09; pinned Logan Mocco, WAH, 1:39; def. Ben Brixius, ML, 15-0; def. Ryan Whitehouse, WL, injury. Peter — pinned Zachary Borzick, SM, 3:17; def. Julius Dentici, WAH, 7-1; def. Nick Whitney, ML, 8-5; pinned Seth Schroeder, WL, 4:58. Nugent — def. Tom Wawrzyniak, SM, 10-2; pinned Dallas Wanta, WAH, 1:34; pinned Austin Bown, ML, 1:56; def. Ben Haferman, WL, 7-2.
January 26, 2011 | 08:40 AM
Wauwatosa — The Badger wrestling squad had a nearly perfect day Saturday at the Tom Janssen Invite.

The grapplers went 3-1 on the day, including three dominant victories over South Milwaukee, West Allis Hale and Wisconsin Lutheran.

Badger's one blunder was in the championship match, which was the second meet of the day because of the tournament's round robin style. Manitowoc Lincoln edged Badger, 25-23, in a battle that featured two tough double overtime losses by Badger.

Badger coach Shane Koehl wanted badly to beat Lincoln.

"We knew Lincoln was the toughest team," he said. "We were disappointed. We wanted to win the tournament. It was close the whole time, we were evenly matched. We just didn't take care of business. We had chances for bonus points but we couldn't get them."

Badger demolished their other three opponents, including Wisconsin Lutheran 61-9, West Allis Hale 50-13 and South Milwaukee 50-18.

"I'm happy with how we responded with two big wins after the loss," Koehl said. "It was an overall team effort. The kids were physical and aggressive, and I hope that carries over to the rest of the season."

Individually, four wrestlers, Randy Shine (135), John Leibforth (140), Dylan Peter (160) and Brad Nugent (285) were a perfect 4-0 Saturday. Koehl was impressed with the foursome.

"They were aggressive," he said. "They set the pace and made very few mistakes. Overall, we wrestled pretty well."

Also, Michael Coyne (112) and Mike Ezelle (145) each were 3-1 for the day.

Once again, Badger was without a full varsity lineup for the invite. Koehl said invites are key for giving his guys experience, and it's best to have a wrestler at every weight.

"Invites are all about getting mat time," he said. "Kids are guaranteed matches. We still have yet to put a full varsity lineup on the mat. We're so close, and it's getting frustrating."

Badger will be at full strength by SLC tournament time Feb. 5, Koehl hopes, with the return of Ed Ruzga at 215 and Tyler Kreplan at 125.

"It seems like when we get one guy back, we lose another guy," Koehl said. "Injuries are just a part of the wrestling season. To be a good team, you need good depth."

Koehl said his team, now 3-2 in the Southern Lakes, still has an outside shot at winning the conference. But the guys must beat Elkhorn (4-1), who they face this Thursday, and Delavan in February. The SLC tourney is Saturday at Badger.

"We want to keep pace with Burlington," Koehl said. "If we beat Elkhorn and Delavan, we're right in the mix to win conference."

For the season, Badger is 18-8 in dual meets. Koehl said there's plenty of time for his guys to reach their potential.

"We are never satisfied with our mark," he said. "There are three or four duals we should've won. We are far from peaking as a team."

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