Middleton's Meicher hoists gold

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton freshman Kevin Meicher (right) won the state wrestling title at 126 pounds Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

They call him “Ice.”

Calm. Composed. Cool. Collected.

You’d never know that Middleton wrestler Kevin Meicher was a freshman.

Meicher certainly didn’t act his age at last weekend’s WIAA Division 1 state tournament. Instead, the poised and unruffled Meicher acted several years older.

Meicher stunned the field and won a state championship at 126 pounds. Meicher defeated top-ranked and defending state champion Justin Folley of Wauwatosa West/East, 9-8, in Saturday’s finals at the UW Kohl Center.

On the state’s biggest stage, “Ice” refused to melt.

“I’m surprised,” said Meicher, who finished the season with a 43-3 record. “My goal has always been to win four state championships since I don’t even know when, kindergarten.

“When I came here and wrestled the older guys here, I just knew I wanted to be here one day and win as many as I could. Being my freshman year, it’s pretty good.”

Pretty good is a major understatement.

Middleton has had just one state champion in its lengthy history. That was Ben Brummel, who won a title at 171 pounds in 2009.

Meicher notched No. 2 in what became a remarkable freshman season.

“He said he wanted to be a four-time champ and you can’t do it if you don’t win the first one,” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said. “Good for him. He worked hard. He came from a young boy in eighth grade last year in the summer and you saw him turn into a man.”

It took a big time performance in the final for Meicher to capture gold.

Meicher entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed, while Folley was a prohibitive favorite in the finals. But Meicher surprised many by upending Folley.

“It feels great,” Meicher said. “To knock off the defending state champion feels pretty good.

“I didn’t think about him being a defending state champ. I just thought of him as another wrestler. It was just another match, the same as wrestling in the wrestling room. So I just focused on what I’m good at on the mat and controlled him throughout the whole match.”

Meicher had a memorable run during his first trip to state.

Meicher pinned Union Grove senior Brett Kieslich in 1:55 in a first round match Thursday afternoon. Meicher then edged Hortonville junior Jacob Barnett, 3-2, in a quarterfinal match Thursday night.

In Friday’s semifinals, Meicher edged Lake Geneva Badger senior Robby Mutimer, 8-6. Meicher was then at his best — and needed to be — to dethrone Folley.

“Even (Saturday), we practiced at Middleton High School at 3:30 (p.m.),” Weiler said. “We put him through a workout. We said you have to do this, this and this. You’re going to get into a scrap and you’ve got to catch him and he did. It was virtually what we talked about.

“I told his dad early in the year he would win the whole thing. I know how tough he is and we’ve got great coaches working with him. He had a good practice partner in Chris Rogers and other people, kids who came in and helped out. I’m ecstatic.”

So was Meicher.

Immediately after the match, Meicher gave Weiler a giant hug. Meicher then hugged his mother, Linette, who was crying in the Kohl Center stands.

“I went up to hug my mom and she was crying,” Meicher said. “She was pretty happy.”

Meicher lost a pair of matches early in the year to wrestlers that won state championships at 126 in Division 2 and 3. Meicher also lost a match when he couldn’t get his bleeding stopped in the allotted time and had to forfeit.

Aside from that, his freshman season went off without a hitch.

“He trained hard. He wanted to go to Fargo (N.D.), which is the Big Daddy (tournament) of them all in the summer,” Weiler said. “I said if you do that you’ll have to work out religiously, four days a week minimum. He said, ‘Let’s do it.’

“Then I said to him, ‘Look, we’re going to get to the high school season and you’re going to have to think like a senior, wrestle like a senior, act like a senior.’

“I also said the expectation is you win the whole thing. Period. That was it. That was the premise and the expectation right up to (Saturday) morning.”

And that extended through a memorable Saturday evening.

“I don’t try to be cocky or anything,” Meicher said. “I just go out there and try to be humble and stay composed and it works out well.”

Things didn't work out quite as well for Middleton junior Chris Rogers.

Rogers lost his first match at 132 pounds to New Richmond’s Bryce Younger, 13-6. When Younger lost his next match, Rogers wasn’t afforded a chance to wrestle in the consolation bracket.

A year ago, Rogers won his opening match at state, then lost his next two.

“He lost right away and didn’t get a wrestleback,” Weiler said. “He lost to a kid who placed fourth. That was a tough early draw, but he belonged here.”

 

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