2008 Team State Wausau West Wins


By Joe Shinners


Madison – It was only fitting to see the fate of the Wausau West Warriors wrestling team’s bid for perfection and a championship resting in the hands of a member of the Hein family.


West junior Jackson Hein made sure everything went according to plan with one big headthrow.


Hein tossed and pinned Kaukauna junior Marcus Driessen in the decisive 171-pound match to seal West’s 33-27 victory over the Kaukauna Ghosts in the Division 1 final of the state team wrestling tournament Saturday night at the UW-Fieldhouse. All semifinals and finals began at 215 pounds.


West led Kaukauna, 27-21, heading into the 171 match after the Ghosts had won three consecutive matches from 145 to 160 pounds. At 160, Kaukauna sophomore Noah Budi defeated Marcus Casillas by a 6-0 decision, but Budi could not score near fall points in the third period to earn extra points for the Ghosts.


That set the stage for Hein, whose father, Dan Hein, is the head coach and whose brother Joshua is the team’s starting 152-pounder.

“It was big,” said Jackson. “I got him in a Saturday night ride and I knew I had him. To do it for a team title, it’s pretty huge.”


West finished the season with a 22-0 record and won all nine tournaments the Warriors entered. Kaukauna finished at 21-3.

The Warriors also received important victories from senior Phil Larkin at 215 pounds and junior Jason Kyle at 119 pounds. Larkin defeated Kaukauna junior Matt Wallace by a 3-1 decision on a takedown with 29 seconds left.


Kyle trailed 8-6 when he reversed and pinned Ghosts junior Matt Kilgas in 3:20.


“It’s an awesome finish to a perfect season,” said Dan Hein. “I told the kids that a perfect season would win the state tournament and it did.”


But it was tight throughout. Both teams won seven matches and picked up two pins. West, however, picked up two technical falls and two major decisions for the points needed to pull out the school’s first wrestling team title.


“We were just never able to take the lead,” said Kaukauna coach Jeff Matczak, whose team lost the Division 1 final for the third time. “We were one win short the first half of the dual.”  


        Kaukauna advanced to the final by defeating Arrowhead, 37-21, in the semifinals. Arrowhead (13-2) led by 21-14 after nine matches, but the Ghosts won the two critical matches early and closed out the dual with five consecutive victories to end Arrowhead’s season.


Ghosts sophomore Steven VanWychen defeated Arrowhead sophomore Matt Hoffman by a 6-5 decision at 103 pounds. At 215, Ghosts junior Matt Wallace defeated Arrowhead senior Eric Herbert, 4-0.


        The two early matches were key because of Kaukauna’s strength between 145 and 189, where the Ghosts swept all the weight classes. Both of the Ghosts state champions – seniors Kaukauna seniors Dillon Bera (145) and Joe Budi (189) –posted victories. Bera finally forced a disqualification of Arrowhead senior Al Ydy at 145.


        Lodi 36, Ellsworth 22: The Blue Devils (25-3) trailed the Panthers (16-7), 22-15, after eight matches but won the final six to win the Division 2 title for the third time. 


        It was a hard-fought title as Lodi won five consecutive matches by a decision. The biggest was junior Kyle McKearn’s 6-5 victory over Ellsworth junior Jordan Borst in double overtime at 171 pounds that sealed the victory for Lodi.


        Lodi defeated Pewaukee, 31-22, in the semfinals. Pewaukee (12-3) trailed, 21-18, with four matches to go after junior David Phillips defeated Lodi sophomore Dakota Cable, 7-5, at 145. Lodi, however, won three of the next four matches and eight of the 14 overall to seal the victory.


Mineral Point 47, Coleman 19: Mineral Point coach Scott Schmitz carried a reminder of the Pointers’ heart-breaking tie – the only tie in state team tournament finals history --in the final a year ago. It was a copy of a newspaper article that described the heartbreak of his team.

Mineral Point was announced the loser at the time on criteria. But the WIAA did not use criteria until this year. Later, the dual and title was declared a tie.


That motivational tool paid big dividends as the Pointers (19-0) posted six pins, posted two major decisions and won nine of the 14 matches against the Cougars (16-2). It was Mineral Point’s ninth Division 3 title and third since the team tournament started.


“I told the kids, ‘If this isn’t enough to get you motivated I don’t know what is,’” said Schmitz. They didn’t want what happened last year to happen again.”