Maule, Logan, Wilkowski bring home state wrestling medals
MADISON — One of the biggest highlights to closing out the season for wrestlers is taking a break from weight restrictions and chowing down. When wrestlers end their season at the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament, dining options in the state capital are endless.
“There’s about 14 different restaurants they want to eat at when we leave,” Watertown wrestling coach Bob Logan said. “I told them I don’t think we can hit them all, but they said, ‘We can try.’”
Logan’s wrestlers ate pretty well in terms of their performance, too.
Senior Stephen Maule won four of six matches and placed fifth at 195 pounds in his second go-around at state. Junior Nick Logan went 3-2 and placed fifth at 138 in his first trip to state. Sophomore Edward Wilkowski finished 2-3 at 120 and placed sixth in his second state appearance. Junior Matt Brewster won his first match and finished 1-2 at 220 in his state tournament debut.
“I am proud of all four guys,” coach Logan said. “We had a good end of the year, and we’re positioned good for next year.”
Maule (34-3) split two matches on the final day of competition on Saturday. He lost a 6-1 decision to Kimberly’s Alex Mischka (22-4) in the consolation semifinals, then closed out his career with a 3-2 win over South Milwaukee’s Adam Jones (43-6).
“It was a long day,” Maule said. “In the first match, I got in on shots, made mistakes and didn’t finish any of them. Then I got caught at the end, and he rolled me through. I was like, hey, who cares, you’ve got another match. Why waste your time thinking about that one.”
Maule outshot Mischka 11-1, according to coach Logan.
“We couldn’t get a stall call,” he said. “We couldn’t get any help at all (from the ref). The kid was in constant reverse mode, but that’s going to happen, if that’s the way the ref sees it. Stephen almost had him on that last takedown, but the kid had good hips and just (rolled him through for the near fall). If Stephen had dropped his hips out and stayed on top, maybe its a different match.”
Maule broke a 1-1 tie with Jones with a takedown with 30 seconds left. A stalling point was awarded just ahead of the buzzer.
“The last match, he came out and wrestled tough and stayed in good position,” coach Logan said. “There was a lot of extra curricular stuff going into that match, just like there was in Jones’ previous match. The kid’s a character. It ended the way it should have. Not many kids get to end their season on a win. Most kids end it in a loss.”
Maule handled the rough stuff like a seasoned veteran and stayed patient.
“I knew this kid (Jones) was a little chippy,” Maule said. “I knew it was going to be hard to get in on shots. I knew I was going to be able to win the match, it was just going to be when I was going to be able to get that takedown,” Maule said. “It was a hard fought match. He fought well and it was fun. I got that takedown and thank God I was able to wrestle today. It was a fun day. We got three place winners, which is amazing.”
After he left the mat, Maule hugged his wrestling partner, Brewster, and let a few tears out. It’s common for wrestlers who lose the last match of their career to show emotion, but it happens to those that win that last one, too.
“It’s been a lot of work, a long time, a lot of waiting,” Maule said. “There’s been a lot. It’s definitely been worth it. I’m looking to do it in college, for sure.”
Nick Logan (43-8) went 1-1 on Saturday. He lost a 3-1 decision to Wisconsin Rapids’ Wyler Lubeck to fall into the fifth place match, where he received an injury forfeit from Oak Creek’s Veliko Kochiu (36-4).
“Nick had a good first round today, but came up a little short,” coach Logan said. “I think if we had another 30 seconds or so, we might have switched that around. He came close at the end there to scoring. The kid had really good leg defense. If we see him again, we know how to beat him, but we won’t see him again this year.”
Nick Logan was satisfied with his season.
“My first match was a close one,” he said. “I knew I could beat him, and I knew it was going to be a tough one, but I went out there and gave it my best and came up a little short. I was a little angry. I wanted to do a little better, but I was ready for my last match and I ended up getting a forfeit. I would have liked to wrestle. I was ready to go, to end my season on a good note. I am proud of how my season went, how our team’s season went, the way we’ve been growing. It’s just been a fun ride. I am ready to come back next year.”
Being the first state qualifier and medalist from this particular family was also gratifying for him.
“My whole life, I have been surrounded by wrestling, so it’s been a big part of my life,” Nick Logan said. “It’s pretty special to go from not even qualifying last year to placing this year. Good experience overall, a cool experience. I really liked it. I enjoyed the whole weekend, enjoyed it all.”
Wilkowski lost his opening match Thursday, posted two dominating wins on Friday and finished up with two tough losses on Saturday.
In the consolation semifinals, he lost a 16-5 major decision to Hartford sophomore Jalen Spuhler (47-4). In the fifth place match, he lost a 12-6 decision to Portage sophomore Jessie Tijerina (42-13).
“It didn’t really go well for me,” Wilkowski said. “I wasn’t getting too much of my stuff. I’m content that I went out there and gave it my all. All I can do is train to get better, and get ready for next year.”
Wilkowski developed bursitis in his shoulder and was forced to sit out the Badger Conference tournament in order to rest up for the postseason. He’s not one for excuses, though.
“Everybody’s dealing with injuries at the end of the season,” Wilkowski said. “It’s just something you’ve got to deal with. I just have to do different exercises to strengthen it.”
Coach Logan felt bad for his sophomore, but not about his medal-winning effort.
“He had a couple disappointing matches,” coach Logan said. “We’ve wrestled Spuhler before. He was ready, but he didn’t quite respond like we’d like to. The Portage kid took third at our conference tournament, so he’s no slouch at all, behind Hunter Lewis from Stoughton.
“We took some lumps that round, but they came back and wrestled tough. None of the kids backed down. They gave it everything they had. We ended up where we ended up.”
Watertown junior Matt Brewster (40-6) lost to Slinger junior Bennett Connolly (39-7) by an 8-0 major decision in his first consolation bracket match on Friday at 220 pounds to finish his first state tournament with a 1-2 record.
“Matt came up a little bit short, but he wrestled his heart out,” coach Logan said. “He’s had that shoulder problem all year. He tweaked it in that second period and had a hard time getting his head back into it. Bennett’s a good wrestler, but honestly, I think we were in his head a little in that first period. Matt got that quick pass by, but he didn’t manage to score on it. He didn’t come back with the offense he needed to finish it off. But awesome season. This was a good experience under his belt. We’ll have three state qualifiers back for next year to set us up for the future.”
Brewster wrestled with a torn labrum the last month of the season, yet still won a sectional title and won a match at state.
“I proved I belonged when I won the sectional tournament,” Brewster said. “Just being here makes me want it that much more next year. It was insane looking up (at the Kohl Center crowd). Everyone’s there to watch you. It’s awesome.”
He grew from being a young upper weight guy who wrestled well at heavyweight half the time as a sophomore to becoming a true force exclusively at 220 this season.
“It was definitely a learning experience,” Brewster said. “I feel like I came into my own. I started to trust my shots more. I was able to move forward in my wrestling, I was able to progress from last year.”
He’ll have to find a new training partner with Maule graduating.
“I’m going to miss him next year,” Brewster said. “He definitely pushed me in the practice room.”