The dynasty resumes
Cougars win state team wrestling title
Sunday, March 09, 2014 7:00 PM
MADISON - Make that four out of five state titles, with no end in sight for the Coleman Cougar wrestling dynasty.
The Coleman Cougar wrestling team celebrates with the state championship trophy Saturday at the UW Field House.
Coleman won the Division 3 State Team Wrestling Tournament with a 39-22 win over Spring Valley/Elmwood Saturday afternoon at the UW Field House.
On Saturday morning, Coleman advanced to the finals with a heart-stopping tiebreaker win over Random Lake.
Here's the ultimate compliment for the state champion Cougars: they perform better as a team than they do for themselves.
Disappointed with its performance at the previous weekend's State Individual Tournament, Coleman thrived in the team concept to win its 10th state team title in school history and first since 2012.
"It was just a total team effort, and that's why they call this the team state," Coleman coach Kevin Casper said. "And then the (fan) support we had here was bar none."
Spring Valley/Elmwood was ranked No. 1 in the state much of the season, and Random Lake had more decorated individuals. But the Cougars won with an "I've got your back" mentality.
"Like a dream come true," senior 138-pounder Jackson Margis said. ""Coming here four years in a row and winning three of them is a huge accomplishment. We just came together at the right time."
After SVE won a decision at 132 pounds to open the title match, Margis pinned Ryan Berg in 2:53.
"Momentum is huge, and I think I got it swinging in the right direction," Margis said.
Casper switched six of his next eight wrestlers in an attempt to get favorable matchups. At 145, Kevin Lansin lost a 3-2 decision to Zach Newton (35-7), but Trevor Seewald won 5-3 over Jed Schlegel (34-5) in the 152-pound bout.
Alex Stodola then beat Trent Miller (32-10) 6-3 at 160.
Karban wrestled up at 170 and gained his 100th career win with a 2:29 pin against Kevin Fesenmaier (35-8).
"It's quite a feeling," Karban said after hoisting the state championship trophy. "Ended it with my 100th win in the state team finals, looking up at the fans, you can't beat it."
Hunter Stodola forever stamped his name in Cougar wrestling folklore with a pair of spectacular wins on Saturday. He beat SVE's Chris Craft 8-5.
Abe Nowak lost a decision to Ethan Hofacker (40-3 at 195, but freshman Donovan Salewski brought down the house with a 3:10 pin against senior Mike Roesler (23-15).
"My gosh, a freshman in the state finals, to do what he did, he wore him down and got him out of position," Casper said. "That right there was probably the nail in the coffin."
C.J. Pillath kept the momentum going with a 2:22 pin against D.J. Wheeler (28-13).
Derick Teteak was pinned at 106 but Jordan Blanchard won a decision at 113 and Jensyn Schaal put icing on the cake with a 7-4 decision over last week's 126-pound third-place finisher, Tyler Berg.
"The thing about Coleman is they get after you," SVE coach Carter Turner said. "And we haven't found out how to win the state championship yet. Hopefully we'll get there."
The semifinal win over Random Lake was one for the ages. The teams tied 28-28, but Coleman won on the first tiebreaker, matches won. Coleman won eight of the 14 bouts.
"This morning we were a little flat, I'll be honest," Alex Stodola said. "But we did what we had to do to win."
The match started with Schaal's 7-3 win over Jon Mudlaff at 126. But Random Lake won two of the first five bouts and got pins at 195, 285 and 120.
While seniors Margis, Seewald and Karban delivered decisions, the fate of the match rested on Blanchard (35-6), a freshman. He needed to pin Levi Kohn (25-5), and did so at the 4:28 mark.
"That was unbelievable," Casper said. "I honestly didn't know if we could get it. But I tell you what, it just goes to show the guts, the determination that kid has."
There were plenty of other pivotal moments for the Cougars. Alex Stodola beat Helton Vandenbush (25-10) 4-0 at 160. Hunter Stodola (27-14) delivered a 9-5 win over senior Jesse Verbanac (34-10).
"Coming out of (individual) sectionals and not making it to state, I had a mission not to lose," Hunter Stodola said. "I wanted to help this team as much as possible."
At 220, Pillath scored a three-point near fall in the final seconds of his 8-0 win over Chris Lewis. That gave Coleman a crucial extra team point.
At 106, Teteak fought off his back to avoid getting pinned by Josh Depies (36-7).
"He gets pinned, we lose," Casper said. "I'll give Random Lake credit. They were very well coached to keep us from getting bonus points."
It was a particularly gut-wrenching loss for the Rams, who have 12 seniors. Coach John Hatfield said if his team wrestled Coleman 10 times, each would win four and the other two matches would end in a tie.
"A great program, nothing but respect for them," Hatfield said. "We really felt it was our year. We were on a mission."