Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

Badger earns first state berth

by Mike Ramczyk

February 23, 2012

JANESVILLE — Badger junior Tayler Hildebrandt’s name will forever be etched in the school’s wrestling record books.

“Moose,” as his teammates affectionately call him, and the local wrestlers did something Feb. 14 they hadn’t done in the program’s 50-year history — win a team sectional.

Badger trailed, 31-28, heading into the last match, the 182-pound tilt. But Hildebrandt seized the moment, pinning Stoughton’s Mac Schumaker with 25 seconds left in the third period, giving Badger a 34-31 victory.

“We stayed off our backs,” Badger coach Shane Koehl said. “We got four pins and they got two, and that was the difference.”

Going into the 152-pound match, Badger was behind, 31-15, with four matches left. Rory Shine, who missed the previous month and a half with a hip injury which will require surgery after the season, made the ultimate sacrifice for his team and grappled through pain.

He punished Stoughton’s Isaac Keller, 12-4, earning four points for his team. Shine, a co-captain, could miss up to a year of wrestling after this season, according to Koehl.

“It was a big emotional lift for us,” Koehl said. “Rory helped turn it back around. He was definitely fired up to wrestle. It was so great for him because he put in so much time in the offseason.”

Shine’s win had a snowball effect on the next three matches. At 160, Andrew Cychner pinned Aaron Knudtson in 1:14. Then, at 170, Tyler Otero, who filled in for senior Eric Winger (shoulder), picked up a 9-4 decision.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Koehl said. “Everyone really came through at the end. We knew it would be close. We wanted to keep it close in the lightweights, and we did.”

Badger’s other pins came from Randy Shine (138) Eddie Ruzga (220).

Randy Shine and Ruzga made quick work of their opponents, registering pins in 1:34 and 1:24, respectively.

Michael Coyne (120) earned a 7-3 victory over Endre Krumholz.

Badger advances to team state at the UW Field House in Madison March 3 and 4.

The local boys will face Hartford in a Division 1 quarterfinal. According to Wisconsin Wrestling Online state rankings, Badger is ranked No. 8 in Division 1, while Hartford is honorable mention.

Koehl said Hartford is solid.

“They have five or six studs,” he said. “They had three guys in the state finals last year. We will have to knock off a couple of their best guys to have a shot.”

Check out www.lakegenevanews.net later this week to learn more about Badger wrestling’s big accomplishment. Also, pick up the Lake Geneva Regional News for more photos and stories, including the “Meet the Badgers” feature in the March 1 edition.

For exclusive access to Badger wrestling photos and stories, “like” our new Facebook page, “Regional News Sports Check.”