Wrestlers aiming high at state

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Middleton freshman Kevin Meicher (left) qualified for the state tournament last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

This has always been the plan for Kevin Meicher.

When Meicher began wrestling as a kindergartner, there were flashes of greatness. When he began competing in national tournaments as a sixth grader, his vast potential was evident.

Now, Meicher gets a chance to display his immense skill set on the state’s grandest stage.

Meicher, a freshman at Middleton High School, won the championship at 126 pounds at the WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional last Saturday and qualified for the state tournament. Meicher (39-3) will meet Union Grove’s Brett Kieslich (40-9) in a first round match Thursday at 3 p.m. at the UW Kohl Center.

“With Kevin, this has always been the expectation,” Middleton coach Kent Weiler said. “Coming in, we knew he was good. But he’s trained hard and had a great year.”

So has teammate Chris Rogers, a junior who will be making his second straight appearance at state.

Rogers finished second at sectionals at 132 pounds. Rogers (34-7) will also wrestle his first round match Thursday at 3 p.m. against New Richmond junior Bryce Younger (33-2).

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

“My goal is to win state or place,” Rogers said. “I've been here once and I want to do better than last year.”

This state tournament experience will be new for Meicher. But the bright lights and huge crowds shouldn’t be intimidating.

Wrestling runs in the family, and has been part of Meicher’s fabric since he was about 5. In fact Meicher’s father — also named Kevin — still holds the record at Middleton High School for career reversals.

Meicher remembers wrestling about two tournaments a season when he was in elementary school. The schedule and competition intensified as he hit middle school.

And this year, he’s had one of the best freshman seasons in school history.

“At the beginning of the year, I didn’t know what to expect,” Meicher said. “But I realized quickly I could compete with these guys. On days off of school, most people would lay on couch, but I’d work out. This is really important to me.”

And the results have been impressive.

At sectionals, Meicher opened the day by pinning Bobby Bemis of Tomah in 1:54 in the quarterfinals.

Meicher then defeated Jacob Obert of LaCrosse Central, 10-2. Then in the championship match, Meicher edged Sparta’s Christian Lamon, 6-5.

“Since he walked in the door, the goal has been to win the whole thing,” Weiler said.

That will certainly be difficult.

Meicher is ranked ninth in his weight class, and he’ll undoubtedly have to pull off a handful of upsets to win a title. But Meicher has proven during a brilliant freshman year that anything is possible.

“I haven’t wrestled any of the guys ahead of me, so I’m not sure what to expect there,” Meicher said. “I’m just really excited to see what’s going to happen.”

So is Rogers, who is thrilled to be heading to state for a second straight year.

A year ago, Weiler said Rogers didn’t wrestle his best. This year, the expectations are much higher.

“I hate to say it, but I think last year (Rogers) was happy to be there,” Weiler said. “This year, it’s a different expectation. It’s how high on the podium can we get?”

At sectionals, Rogers pinned Zach Gordon of Holmen in 2:34 in the quarterfinals. Rogers then lost to Jaden Van Maanen of La Crosse Central, 14-2, in the semifinals.

In the third place match, Rogers pinned Logan Lewerenz of Reedsburg in 39 seconds. Then in the second place match, Rogers defeated David Hayes of Sparta, 11-5.

“It's great to reach state again,” Rogers said. “I've made huge (strides) in wrestling since last year, so I knew I had what it takes to make it. I just had to wrestle my hardest.

“Overall my side of the bracket gives me a lot of promise. I just have to come to wrestle.”

Middleton had six other wrestlers at sectionals that fell short of state.

Joseph Hoffman (113), Colton Best (120), Max Mayhew (152), Caleb Cymbalak (160), Gavin Adler (195) and Matt Davey (220) all lost their first match, which ended their seasons.

“They all had to wrestle their best,” Weiler said. “Some wrestled really good matches, but not their best. That’s what the bright lights can do. You stop and stare a little bit. Some of our guys are freshmen and a little immature. That will change. It was a great experience for all of them.”

 

WIAA Division 1 Waunakee Sectional
113 - Joseph Hoffman (29-16) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.

Championship Bracket - Todd Werner (Lax Central) 27-13 won by decision over Joseph Hoffman (Middleton) 29-16 (Dec 2-0)

120 - Colton Best (17-14) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.

Championship Bracket - Tanner Schultz (Holmen) 41-7 won by fall over Colton Best (Middleton) 17-14 (Fall 2:29)

126 - Kevin Meicher (39-3) placed 1st and scored 21.00 team points. Championship Bracket - Kevin Meicher (Middleton) 39-3 won by fall over Bobby Bemis (Tomah) 29-15 (Fall 1:54)

Championship Bracket - Kevin Meicher (Middleton) 39-3 won by major decision over Jacob Obert (Lax Central) 32-10 (MD 10-2)

1st Place Match - Kevin Meicher (Middleton) 39-3 won by decision over Christian Lamon (Sparta) 23-10 (Dec 6-5)

132 - Chris Rogers (34-7) placed 2nd and scored 17.00 team points.
Championship Bracket - Chris Rogers (Middleton) 34-7 won by fall over Zach Gordon (Holmen) 22-16 (Fall 2:34)
Championship Bracket - Jaden Van Maanen (Lax Central) 42-1 won by major decision over Chris Rogers (Middleton) 34-7 (MD 14-2)
3rd Place Match - Chris Rogers (Middleton) 34-7 won by fall over Logan Lewerenz (Reedsburg) 30-17 (Fall 0:39)
2nd Place Match - Chris Rogers (Middleton) 34-7 won by decision over David Hayes (Sparta) 26-19 (Dec 11-5)

152 - Max Mayhew (26-11) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Championship Bracket - Hunter Kluender (Baraboo) 16-23 won by decision over Max Mayhew (Middleton) 26-11 (Dec 11-6)

160 - Caleb Cymbalak (26-13) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Championship Bracket - Zachary Raymond (Baraboo) 42-7 won by major decision over Caleb Cymbalak (Middleton) 26-13 (MD 13-3)

195 - Gavin Adler (22-9) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Championship Bracket - Austin Zwiefel (Sparta) 22-20 won by major decision over Gavin Adler (Middleton) 22-9 (MD 15-5)

220 - Matt Davey (19-19) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points.
Championship Bracket - Konrad Ernst (Onalaska) 35-1 won by fall over Matt Davey (Middleton) 19-19 (Fall 1:15)

 

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