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BREAKING: Badger grapplers save best for last



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January 27, 2011 | 10:17 PM
It came down to the last match Thursday night.

With the Badger wrestling squad trailing 30-25 at home to Elkhorn, all senior Dylan Peter had to do was pin Rory Johnson for the win. Not exactly an easy task.

But Peter rose to the occasion, pinning Johnson in 3:10 to lift the Badgers to a 31-30 victory against their Southern Lakes rival. Badger improved to 4-2 in the SLC with the win, jumping into a tie with Elkhorn.

Peter, who normally competes at 160, had to move up a weight class to 171 against the Elks. He knew what was at stake.

"Coach said I needed a pin, and I went out and did it," an elated Peter said after the meet. "I heard the crowd going crazy, and I had to pin him when I had him down. I used my speed since Johnson is heavier. It was the greatest pin of my life."

With Badger down 21-19, John Leibforth pulled off a last-second takedown at 140 to knock off Kyle Mountford, 5-3. Then, at 145, Mike Ezelle grabbed a 10-6 win to give the Badgers a solid 25-21 cushion. But a 5-2 loss by Rory Shine at 152 and an Elkhorn pin of Andy Cychner at 160 put Badger in a 30-25 hole. The late victory that has eluded Badger all season felt good for coach Shane Koehl.

"We've been on the other side so much this year," Koehl said about the win. "It was great for the kids and their confidence. I didn't expect a pin from Peter. Johnson, his opponent, is pretty good. Also, Ed Ruzga's pin was big, and Adam Moore's win by major decision gave us an extra team point. The SLC is wide open now. There are five teams that can win it."

Senior Brad Nugent, who picked up a 7-3 victory over Connor Selvey at 285, said it was a huge win for the team.

"If we beat Delavan, we're in the driver's seat in conference," Nugent said. "Peter's a pinner. He knew what he had to do for the team."

At 112, Badger's Michael Coyne made quick work of Nick Billings, pinning him in :49.

Badger will host Delavan-Darien Thursday, Feb. 3. With a win, the Badgers will put themselves in good position to contend for the conference title, which will be determined at the SLC meet Saturday, Feb. 5 at Delavan-Darien High School.

Check Wednesday's Regional News for a complete story.

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