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Eight grapplers march on to sectionals



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Badger wrestler Randy Shine manhandled an opponent at the recent Southern Lakes meet. (click for larger version)

NEXT ROUND, PLEASE - The Badger wrestling squad qualified eight individuals for Saturday's Janesville Craig Sectional. Here are the eight and their records from the Wilmot Regional: First place Brad Nugent (285) — 2-0 record, 35-3 overall; Dylan Peter (160) — 3-0, 31-7 overall. Second place John Leibforth (140) — 2-1, 29-3 overall; Rory Shine (152) — 3-1, 28-11 overall; Branden Allen (189) — 3-1, 25-10 overall. Third place Mike Ezelle (145) — 2-2, 16-8 overall. Fourth place Taylor Hildebrandt (171) — 2-2, 20-15 overall; Ed Ruzga (215) — 2-2, 15-3 overall.
February 16, 2011 | 08:48 AM
Wilmot — Badger wrestling coach Shane Koehl thought his squad was good enough Saturday at the Wilmot Regional to send 10 individuals to sectionals.

When all was said and done, he wasn't too far off.

The Badgers qualified eight of 11 grapplers for this Saturday's Janesville Craig Sectional, including two regional champions and four others in the top three.

Team-wise, Badger totaled 147.5 points, only 38 behind first-place Kenosha Tremper.

Dylan Peter (160) and Brad Nugent (285) won their brackets in style. Peter manhandled Milton's Avery Sweeney in the championship match, 12-3, and Nugent shut down Kenosha Bradford's Tony Nicolas, 6-0. Koehl wasn't surprised by the results.

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"I expected both Peter and Nugent to win," Koehl said. "They were both the best wrestlers in their weight classes, and they proved it on Saturday."

Koehl said Peter (31-7) wrestled mistake-free and settled down, gaining a 7-2 lead after the first period in his championship match.

"That's all you need to do when you build a lead," Koehl said about Peter. "He didn't push the pace and won big."

Nugent (35-3) earned a first-round bye before pinning Kenosha Tremper's Chris DeRose in 1:04 in the semifinals. Finally, Nugent blew past Nicolas in the final.

"Nugent was much better than Nicolas," Koehl said.

Second-place finishers included John Leibforth at 140, Rory Shine at 152 and Branden Allen at 189. Shine (28-11) and Allen (25-10) were both in third place and had to wrestle back to earn second place. Allen took out Wilmot's Austin Vanderhoof 7-1 in the second-place match, while Shine handled Kenosha Tremper's Justin Shepherd, 9-5, to take second.

"Both Rory and Branden rebounded from the SLC meet," Koehl said. "It was the best they've wrestled all year."

Leibforth (29-3) fell in the championship, 6-3, to Wilmot's Adam Neal. Koehl thought Leibforth would win the regional.

"I'm a little disappointed," he said. "It was a close match, and John had a couple of mental mistakes. He must open up his offense in the sectionals. John is very capable of winning the sectional."

Mike Ezelle grabbed third place at 145 for Badger with a 2-2 record on the day. Koehl said Ezelle had a nice day and overpowered the bracket's top two wrestlers. In the second-place match, Ezelle lost by major decision to Wilmot's Ryan Gartner, 20-9.

Taylor Hildebrandt (171) and Ed Ruzga (215) both earned fourth place with 2-2 records. Koehl said Hildebrandt had a solid day.

"It was good to see him bounce back after an awful SLC meet," he said. "The potential is there. Taylor is always in position, he just needs to finish his moves."

Koehl said Ruzga (15-3) lost a tough match in the semifinals against Tremper's Brian Stinebrink, who is rated sixth in the state. Koehl said Ruzga struggled partly because he has missed a lot of mat time this season.

At 112, Michael Coyne took fifth place but just missed sectionals. He registered a pin in the fifth-place match in 5:28 over Kenosha Bradford's Carlos Torres.

Badger was without Randy Shine at 135, who couldn't compete because of a concussion. Shine finished the season with a 32-5 record.

"I'm very disappointed Randy couldn't make it," Koehl said. "He had a good chance to make it to state. I feel bad for him."

Koehl added it was a great day for his team.

"Overall, we wrestled really well," he said. "We won some close matches we've been losing all year."

Koehl expects the success to carry over to sectionals Saturday.

"We are hoping to get two to five guys to state if we wrestle like we're capable," he said. "We must stay focused. Anything can happen."

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