If it’s February, there’s just no stopping the Stoughton wrestling team.
The Vikings, winners of the past three WIAA state team titles and three runner-up finishes before that, carved themselves another path to the state tournament by winning Saturday’s Mukwonago sectional.
Stoughton scored 190.5 points, beating runner-up Waunakee’s 122. The runner-up finish, under this year's rules, also gives Waunakee its first-ever state team berth. Hartland Arrowhead was third and Mukwonago, the two-time state team runner-up, fourth.
But the Vikings set themselves up for more than team glory during the sectional — which combined WIAA team and individual sectionals into one meet due to COVID-19 concerns.
Four Stoughton wrestlers won their weight classes and two others advanced to state with runner-up finishes. The list of sectional champions includes Stoughton 132-pound junior Nicolar Rivera, the unbeaten champ at 120 last year; and senior Brooks Empey, who earned the chance to repeat as state champ at 220.
Rivera (9-0) won by decision over Cody Goebel of Mukwonago in the final. Empey (10-0) advanced with a 10-2 major decision over Pewaukee’s John Mohr.
Senior Luke Mechler (10-0), who took third at 152 last year, advanced at 160 with a 5-2 decision over previously unbeaten Jack Ganos of team runner-up Hartland Arrowhead.
Also winning sectional titles to earn return trips to individual state were senior Rudy Detweiler (10-0) at 195 pounds with a 17-3 major decision against Waunakee’s Daniel Ford and sophomore Griffin Empey (10-0) at 285 with a pin of Monona Grove/McFarland’s Kristian Schlicht in 1:46.
Stoughton also advanced Cole Sarbacker (7-3) at 113 pounds. He won a wrestleback to take second place.
Waunakee advanced four to state, including senior sectional champs and state returnees Kolby Heinz (8-2) at 126 and Sam Lorenz (10-0) at 138, and runners-up Kaden Hooker (junior, 7-3) at 182 and Daniel Ford (senior, 9-2) at 195.
Milton advanced two sectional runners-up to state: junior Riley Nilo (5-1) at 106 and freshman Aeoden Sinclair (11-2) at 152.
Also representing the area in the state individual tournament, set for Saturday at Kaukauna, will be Baraboo senior John Gunderson (12-0), the champ at 182. Advancing to state as sectional runners-up are sophomore Oscar Wilkowski (11-1) of Watertown at 120; junior Kyler Neuberger (14-1) of Beaver Dam/Wayland at 126; junior Brody Hemauer (11-1) of DeForest at 170; Jacob Horvatin (13-1) of Fort Atkinson at 220; and senior Kristian Schlicht of Monona Grove/McFarland at 285.
Team state will be Saturday, Feb. 20, also at Kaukauna.
Division 2 Richland Center sectional
Prairie du Chien won the team title, advancing seven to Saturday's Division 2 individual state meet at Adams-Friendship. Evansville finished second and Lodi third, with both advancing three to state. The Belleville co-op had two qualifiers and Monroe one.
Evansville’s qualifiers were sophomore Owen Heiser (10-2), the champ at 160; and senior Collin Roberts (11-1) at 195, the champ at 195. At 285, senior Waylon Klitzman (7-3) advanced with a runner-up finish.
Lodi junior Chandler Curtis (11-1) won at 126 and sophomore Zane Licht (9-1) won at 145. Junior Parker Heintz (5-1) advanced with a runner-up finish at 113. Curtis took third at 120 at state last year; Heintz was fourth at 106.
The Belleville co-op had two wrestlers win second-place wrestlebacks to earn state spots: freshman Mason Mau (13-1) at 120 and senior Joe Quaglia (12-2) at 132. Monroe junior Brady Schuh (11-1) took second at 138 to make state.
Division 3 Dodgeland sectional
In Juneau, Random Lake claimed the state team berth with 202 points and six state qualifiers. Poynette advanced junior Cash Stewart (7-0), the winner at 138 pounds and last year’s state champion at 120. Also earning a state repeat was sophomore Gunnar Hamre (13-1), the sectional runner-up at 145, who finished fourth at 138 last year.
Waterloo also had two qualifiers for Saturday’s state meet at Wausau West: senior Juan Alonso (16-3), the winner at 126, and freshman Trevor Firari (18-2), the runner-up at 152.