Prep wrestling: Hunter Lewis perseveres as Stoughton boys win Badger State Invitational
In his 138-pound semifinal at the Badger State Invitational wrestling tournament Saturday, Stoughton senior Hunter Lewis sustained a gash to the top of his head.
“I think it was a tooth, elbow or chin,” Lewis said. “I’m not sure.”
A bandage was wrapped around Lewis’ head and he persevered, though he said a trip to the emergency room for stitches was scheduled after the tournament ended in the evening.
Then, in the championship match, Lewis endured a bloody nose, which he shrugged off as a common occurrence in practice and at meets.
“You just keep wrestling and keep fighting,” Lewis said. “There’s been a few times where I’ve been injured. I just keep trying to wrestle through. It’s just a part of the sport.”
Nothing, however, stopped North Carolina State commit, who defeated Brookfield East sophomore Connor Thorpe 15-2 in the 138-pound title match. It was Lewis’ third consecutive title and first at 138 at the Badger State Invitational, which was held at Exhibition Halls C and D at the Alliant Energy Center.
“It’s exciting, as always,” Lewis said.
Lewis, who was the 120-pound champion in Division 1 at the WIAA state tournament last season, is ranked No. 1 in Division 1 at 138 by WiWrestling.com — the weight at which he plans to compete this season, he said.
Host Stoughton, top-ranked in Division 1 in the WiWrestling.com state poll, had four weight-class winners and defended its title at the day-long tournament. In addition to Lewis, Stoughton’s champions included freshman Nicolar Rivera (113), junior Gavin Model (152) and senior Cade Spilde (160).
The Vikings finished first with 262 points in the 25-team tournament, ahead of runner-up Fennimore (218).
Waunakee, led by 120-pound champion Sam Lorenz, finished third with 194.5. Mineral Point was fifth (137.5) and River Valley, led by 182-pound winner Shane Liegel, earned sixth (113.5).
Rivera (18-0) was Stoughton’s first winner, defeating Viroqua junior Josh Frye via technical fall (15-0, 2 minutes, 34 seconds) in the final at 113.
“When I wrestle, I kind of like to be funky,” said Rivera, ranked second in Division 1 at 113. “I do things that people don’t really expect. They think I have a really weird style.”
Rivera — coming off a Cadet freestyle nationals title at 106 this summer in Fargo, North Dakota — said he anticipated “winning pretty easily” in his matches Saturday after competing in that much larger national competition, which had a bracket featuring about 120 wrestlers.
He said he expects to wrestle at 106 in postseason and his goal is to win a state title — with his focus along the way on training, conditioning and maintaining a proper diet.
Model (17-1) defeated Mineral Point senior Logan Schmitz with a 12-2 major decision in the 152-pound title match. Spilde (15-3) topped River Valley junior Cayden Robson via a 12-4 major decision and defended his 160-pound championship.
Lorenz (5-0), in his first action this season after dislocating his left shoulder during practice, earned an 8-4 decision over Weyauwega-Fremont junior Carter Greening in the 120-pound final.
“I wanted to prove myself coming off last year and coming off an injury,” Lorenz said.
He said he pushed through the title match after reinjuring his shoulder, which kept him from having that arm raised in victory.
“It’s pretty cool,” Lorenz said. “Coming off last year and coming up short here (third at this tournament). It’s a good start to the season.”
Liegel (17-0), top-ranked in Division 2 at 182, defeated Waunakee senior Zachary Marek on a 15-0 technical fall at 3:39 in the 182 title match. Liegel defended his title.
Aidan Medora, a junior from the Delafield St. John’s Northwestern Military Academy team, was voted the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. Medora (14-0) earned an 11-5 decision over previously undefeated Luke Mechler, a Stoughton sophomore, in the 145 final.
Other area wrestlers who finished second included Stoughton junior Braeden Whitehead (132), Waunakee junior Colton Grindle (170) and Waunakee senior Reed Ryan (220).
Area winners in the girls division included Johnson Creek’s Mateah Roehl at 113 pounds and Stoughton’s Rose Ann Marshall at 120. Poynette’s Gwen Golueke (113), Reedsburg’s Caylee Fry (120) and Cambridge’s Aevri Ciha (132) earned runner-up finishes.
Milwaukee Ronald Reagan was the girls team winner with 71 points. Wisconsin Dells placed fourth with 26.