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Stoughton junior Cade Spilde figured he had enough second-place wrestling awards at home. He wanted something more lustrous than silver.

Spilde mined for gold at Saturday’s 45th Badger State Invitational wrestling tournament and came away with first place at 160 pounds. Spilde (20-1) earned a 9-5 decision over Kenosha Bradford’s Tony Martin in the final, Spilde’s fourth match of the all-day, 23-team tournament in Exhibition Hall D at the Alliant Energy Center.

“It meant quite a bit,” Spilde said. “It is the first high school tournament I have won. I have been fighting for that for quite a bit.”

Spilde and teammates Hunter Lewis (120 pounds) and Tyler Dow (170) also won championships for the host Vikings, who defended their team title with 243 points. Kenosha Bradford (209½) was second and River Valley (161½), with individual champions Zach Licht (132) and Shane Liegel (182), took third. Waunakee (149½) was fifth.

In an effort to grow the sport, the tournament also featured a girls division for the first time. Thirty-six girls representing 26 teams competed in nine weight classes.

Dow (21-0), a University of Wisconsin commit, was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler for the second consecutive year after he pinned his first three opponents and defeated Iowa-Grant/Highland senior Max Maylor 4-1 in the title bout. A senior who is top-ranked in Division 1 by, Dow said he was glad Maylor tested him.

“I knew the finals match would be a hard-fought match,” Dow said. “He’s a good athlete. He’s quick, he’s strong, he’s fast and he knows how to wrestle. It was a tough match. I knew it would be close.”

Lewis (21-0) pinned his first three foes, then topped Hartford sophomore Jalen Spuhler 13-4 for the title. The junior wasn’t satisfied with his performance.

“I was pretty pleased with the beginning of the day,” said Lewis, ranked second in Division 1. “It kind of (stinks) that I was giving up easy points (in the final). I was getting lazy on top and I gave up a reversal. Otherwise, it was a good day. It’s still great (to win the title).”

Licht (22-0) pinned West Salem/Bangor junior Dalton Schams in 3 minutes, 44 seconds for the crown. Licht, a senior, said he and Schams have wrestled several times and knew how to counter each other.

“The finals match was a little scary, but I pulled through,” said Licht, ranked second in Division 2. “I’m getting better every day — 1 percent better every day.”

Liegel (22-0), a junior ranked No. 1 in Division 2, recorded three pins before defeating Iowa-Grant/Highland senior Brady Peat 5-0 in the final.

Evansville/Albany junior Branden Lange (20-1) had two pins, then claimed a 6-1 decision over Waunakee senior Alan Olkowski in the 285 title match.

Mineral Point junior Danny Pittz finished as runner-up at 126, falling to Elkhorn’s Grant Truesdale 9-4. Evansville/Albany senior Nolan Kicmol (145) finished second, as Viroqua senior Ryan Hannah rallied in the final seconds for a 6-5 victory.

In the girls tournament, area winners included Poynette’s Gwen Golueke (106); Stoughton’s Rose Ann Marshall (113); Monona Grove/McFarland’s Katelynn Gunderson (126); Wisconsin Dells’ Jade Herzer (145); and Madison La Follette’s Alexa Flores (160).

Whitewater’s Brianna Staebler finished first at 182 while La Follette’s Lexus Browning was third.

Flores and Marshall were in bracketed weight classes (the others were round-robin competition) and won their title matches by pin.

“I knew it would be a tough match (in the final against Cudahy’s Sara Jankowski),” said Marshall, a freshman. “The coaches told me, ‘Just get the job done.’ ”


Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.