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Cheese claims Invite title
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt Monroe junior Dylan Schwitz, who is ranked 10th at 145 pounds in the Crossface Division 2 poll, looks to turn Whitewater senior Ethan Miles. Schwitz pinned Miles to win the title. Schwitz was one of three champions for Monroe; the Cheesemakers won the Monroe Invite for the first time since 2000.
MONROE - The last time the Cheesemaker wrestling team won the Monroe Invitational, most of this year's varsity wrestlers were taking center stage and making a name for themselves with the Mat Rats.

Monroe had six wrestlers advance to championship matches and three won titles including junior Dylan Schwitz (145 pounds), senior Mason Goff (152) and junior heavyweight Nick Walker. The Cheesemakers outdistanced Clinton 178.5-155 to capture the Monroe Invite title Saturday for the first time since 2000.

"I felt like we could win it," Monroe coach Jeriamy Jackson said. "I didn't think we would win it in the fashion we did. It was a complete team effort."

Walker (26-7) went 3-0 at the invitational and defeated Darlington senior Mark Brugger for the second time this year, 5-2, to win the championship. Walker scored on an escape with 1 minute, 26 seconds left in the third period to take a 3-2 lead. Walker put an exclamation point on the victory by picking up Brugger, a Division 3 state qualifier last year, and scoring on a takedown before the period ended.

"I knew in the final match with Brugger, I would have a tough match," Walker said. "Their coaches felt it was a slam. I brought him down with relative control. The ref, I know, called it with control."

After a first round match by Brugger (23-8), Darlington coach Tom Mathias knows that his heavyweight has the drive to return to state.

"He has shown some moments of being a state-qualifying wrestler and at other times he has looked like a JV wrestler," Mathias said. "He needs to consistently wrestle at the state qualifying level."

Schwitz, 25-9 and ranked 10th in the Crossface Division 2 poll at 145, went 3-0 at the tournament and pinned Whitewater senior Ethan Miles in 1:50 for the title. Schwitz had two pins during the tournament including a pin of Clinton junior Jon Spears in the semifinals.

"It was in the back of our minds to win this," Schwitz said. "We knew we could wrestle with these teams. Hopefully, I can carry that into the regional."

Goff (23-5) at 152 went 3-0 on the day and won the championship after Whitewater senior Alex Loofboro, the No. 1 seed, had to injury default in the title match due to a shoulder injury. Goff beat Big Foot's Joe Toldedo in a technical fall, 15-0 in the first round. He followed that up by pinning Poynette sophomore Trevor Doherty in 3:53.

"I was looking forward to wrestling the No. 1 seed," Goff said. "I personally think I stood a good chance. Unfortunately, it's not the way I ideally would have it."

Monroe freshman Aaron Hesgard (103), senior Dillon Weckerly (171) and senior Cory Kundert (215) each finished in second place.

Hesgard (19-10) finished in second and went 3-1 at the invite. Hesgard received a first- round bye and then defeated Belmont-Platteville's Adam Niehaus 6-2 to earn a title shot. In the finals, Hesgard was pinned by Orfordville Parkview freshman Alex Hauri (23-4), who was the top seed.

Weckerly (24-7) finished 2-1 at the invite and pinned Darlington's Mitchell Langkamp in 1:23 in the first round. He pinned Big Foot's Ian Vara in the semifinals in 1:29 to get a chance at a championship. In the title match, Weckerly lost to Belmont-Platteville senior Josh Eastlick, 3-0. Eastlick (26-2) is ranked sixth in the Crossface Division 2 poll and was the No. 1 seed.

At 215, Kundert finished 2-1 and beat the top seed in Darlington, junior Brandon Heins, in the semifinals, 6-4. Kundert lost the championship to Belmont-Platteville sophomore David Stoney, 8-4.

Monroe freshman Kevin Klopfenstein (119) and senior Josh Mayer (189) each finished third. In an improbable comeback, Mayer stormed back from a 9-0 deficit to Darlington senior Tanner Andrews and pinned him in 5:31 to take third place. Mayer (23-8) avenged two earlier season losses to Andrews (28-4), who was the No. 1 seed. Monroe sophomore Cody Stamm avenged an earlier loss in the invite and won a fifth-place match by pinning Whitewater sophomore Jose Ramirez in 4:58.

"This tournament is won or lost is where those guys who are not highly ranked or seeded pick up some points," Jackson said.

Darlington senior Devin Malott (28-2), who is ranked fifth in the Division 3 Crossface poll, was looking for some revenge after Cuba City-Southwestern's Bob Donar forfeited in a dual meet at Darlington Jan. 22.

Malott suffered a heartbreaker after Donar (21-2) scored on a takedown in the first 19 seconds of his title match. Malott banged his chin on Donar's head and both wrestlers came up woozy. Malott had to settle for second place due to an injury default since he couldn't return.

"He didn't want to wrestle me Friday," Malott said. "I was kind of disappointed getting a forfeit in my last home meet. He was knocked out just as good as I was. I will bounce back."

Malott had his sights set on wrestling Klopfenstein in the championship.

"I was hoping to wrestle Kevin because I have heard he is an up-and-coming wrestler in Monroe," Malott said.

Klopfenstein (29-6) lost to Donar in a tight semifinal match 3-2. Klopfenstein rebounded by defeating Janesville Craig junior Kyle Upmann, 3-0, for third place.

"They will see each other in a couple of weeks at the regional," Jackson said of Donar and Klopfenstein.

Darlington, who has been riddled with injuries, wrestled without Bruce King and Colton Hackett and still finished fifth. Darlington junior Matt McDaniel (140) finished second after he was pinned by Poynette senior Justin Mislivecek, who was the top seed. The Redbirds also received third-place finishes from sophomore Bo Brunkow (112) and senior Sean Cronin (145). Andrews and Darlington's Coty Lange (152) each finished fourth and Brady McDaniel took fifth.

Mathias said he may not wrestle again this season. Hackett just returned after a separated shoulder and he was wrestling at a junior varsity tournament in Riverdale to get back in action.

"I figure those two were worth at least 25 points between them," Mathias said. "My goal as a coach was a top four finish."