Meicher ends career second at state

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton's Kevin Meicher wrapped up his terrific career by finishing second at state at 152 pounds./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

Kevin Meicher didn’t get his storybook ending.

In general, though, the four-year novel he crafted couldn't have read much better.

Meicher, a senior at Middleton High School, reached the WIAA Division 1 state wrestling championship at 152 pounds inside the UW Kohl Center Saturday night. Meicher, who won a state title as a freshman, was trying to cap his career with bookend titles.

Instead, Nathan Fuller of River Falls defeated Meicher in the finals, 8-3.

“It would have been a great story, a bookend (championship),” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said of Meicher. “But I’m guessing there are bigger stories for him. He’s a great kid. He’s a great wrestler.”

Meicher finished his brilliant career with a state title at 126 pounds in 2016, second place finishes both this year and at 138 in 2017, and a fourth place showing at 152 in 2018.

“I was just going to try and leave it all on the mat, knowing it was going to be my last high school match,” said Meicher, who finished the year 34-1. “I tried to go out there and be relentless and empty the gas tank. He was a good wrestler on his feet. He really was good at defending everything I tried doing.”

It was another thrilling weekend at state for Meicher — even if he didn't get the ending he desired.

Meicher opened with a 14-6 win over Marshfield senior Nolan Hertel on Thursday. Then in Thursday’s quarterfinals, Meicher topped Appleton East senior Tyler Locke, 9-2.

“I knew both those kids were good,” Meicher said. “But I knew if I stuck to my stuff, I was the best and would win. It was like any other tournament. Just go in and wrestle my match and prepare for the next one.”

In the semifinals Friday night, Meicher pinned Oconomowoc senior Keagan Lazar in 4:58.

The match was tied, 0-0, after two periods and Meicher chose down and escaped for a point. Meicher then got a takedown which led to a pin 58 seconds into the third period.

“I knew I had to get on my horse right away,” Meicher said. “He gave me the escape right away, which was dumb by him because it gave me the momentum going in. I knew that he was trying to score on me, but I kept on offense. I got him on his back and wasn’t letting go.”

One night later, Meicher and Fuller took part in a grinder.

Meicher was one of nine Division 1 wrestlers who entered the 2019 tournament with undefeated records. But Meicher fell just short of an unbeaten season.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to just compete here,” Meicher said. “I was able to get through high school without any major injuries. I’m grateful for my family and friends and their support. That meant a lot.

“This is a stepping stone. I definitely learned from it. I will hopefully come back this summer and beat him. I will be in a bunch of tournaments. I look forward to coming back and proving myself. This was just one match.”

Meicher will wrestle at the University of Minnesota next year. And Weiler believes the best is yet to come.

“When he gets in the wrestling room at Minnesota with guys his caliber every day, and he has to grind though every day, that will make him a lot better,” Weiler said. “He knows what that is and he will have to grind it every day just to survive in that room.

“He’s going to get in a room with national champs, with coaches who are national champs at his weight, right around his weight, All-Americans and World team members, who are going to push the crap out of him. He’s going to rise to that level.”

Middleton’s Joseph Hoffman also competed at 145 pounds.

Hoffman lost by major decision to Burlington junior Cody Welker, 19-6, in the preliminary round Thursday.

Hoffman won by medical forfeit over Wyler Lubeck of Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln in consolation round one on Friday morning. Hoffman then lost by major decision to Mukwonago’s Nate Stokhaug, 14-4, in consolation round two on Friday afternoon.

He’s a good wrestler who reaped the rewards in the end,” Weiler said of Hoffman. “To reach the state tournament was a nice pinnacle. He wrestled exceptional at sectionals.

“Joe was fabulous to have on the team for four years with that group of seniors. I’m happy for him that he got to come here and experience this and etch his name in Middleton history. His name will go on the wall as a state qualifier, and that’s pretty darn cool.

“It was just him and Kevin left from the group that came up from second grade. That’s a wrestling coach’s dream to see kids come from the beginning to the end, when they stick it out like Joe did and get these rewards.”

 

Feb. 21-23

WIAA Division 1 Individual State Tournament

Championship Matches

106: Rivera (55-0 record), Stoughton, maj. dec. Verhagen (43-10), Kaukauna, 15-2.

113: Minor (44-1), Ashwaubenon, dec. Goebel (42-7), Mukwonago, 13-10.

120: Halter (41-6), Waterford, dec. Gille (36-6), Pulaski, 8-3.

126: Barnett (47-0), Hortonville, pinned Wilkowski (43-7), Watertown, 2:48.

132: Spuhler (47-2), Hartford, maj. dec. Stimac (41-11), Antigo, 11-1.

138: Lewis (52-1), Stoughton, dec. Stilling (44-4), Elkhorn/Williams Bay Faith Christian, 8-7.

145: O’Toole (25-0), Hartland Arrowhead, ma. dec. Mechler (52-4), Stoughton, 16-3.

152: Fuller (38-1), River Falls, dec. Kevin Meicher (34-1), Middleton, 8-3.

160: Johnson (40-0), Whitefish Bay co-op, dec. Schaaf (44-6), Sauk Prairie, 7-4.

170: Otto (42-1), Hartland Arrowhead, dec. Jahn (48-3), Holmen, 11-5.

182: Keckeisen (47-0), Glendale Nicolet, tech fall. Skillings (45-3), Menomonie, 19-4.

195: Mitchell (46-1), Marshfield, dec. B. Empey (51-7), Stoughton, 5-4.

220: Somlai (48-0), Brookfield Central, pinned Ryan (45-3), Waunakee, 3:56.

285: Meeuwsen (40-1), Bay Port, pinned Benton (42-2), Janesville Craig, 2:18.

 

Middleton individual results

145: Joseph Hoffman (26-14) did not place and scored 3.0 team points. Champ. Round 1 – lost by major dec. ti Cody Welker, Burlington, 19-6; Cons. Round 1 -- won by medical forfeit over Wyler Lubeck, Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln; Cons. Round 2 – lost by maj. dec. to Nate Stokhaug, Mukwonago, 14-4.

152: Kevin Meicher (34-1) placed 2nd and scored 21.0 team points. Champ. Round 1 – maj. dec. Nolan Hertel, Marshfield, 14-6; Quarterfinal – dec. Tyler Locke, Appleton East, 9-2; Semifinal – pinned Keagan Lazar, Oconomowoc, 4:58; 1st Place Match – lost by dec. to Nathan Fuller, River Falls, 8-3.

 

 

 

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