Even during shortened seasons, preparatory sports returned to local high schools after a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even though some seasons were shortened and games in Dane County were banned last spring and most of the winter, there have been several accomplishments – from the wrestling mat to the golf course, to the hilly terrain. on the cross country courses at the swimming pools – which caught our attention. Here are the top five Stoughton sports stories of 2021.

Stoughton No.1 grapplers take silver

Stoughton’s wrestling team saw their three-year run of WIAA Division 1 State Championships halted.

First Kaukauna defeated third Stoughton 38-26 in a Division 1 State Championship game on Saturday, February 20 at Kaukauna High School.

Stoughton was making his eighth consecutive appearance in a state. It was the seventh consecutive year that Stoughton and Kaukauna have met at Team State. The Vikings had beaten the Galloping Ghosts three straight years in the semifinals during their three-year championship reign.

Stoughton clinched a 51-30 victory over Waterford in a Division 1 quarter-final match, then cut Slinger 39-34 in a semi-final match to set up a showdown with the Galloping Ghosts.

The Vikings wrestling quartet that finished the state tag team tournament undefeated were senior Luke Mechler at 160 pounds, senior Rudy Detweiler (195), Brooks Empey (220) and Griffin Empey (285).

“It’s hard to lose our final duel as a senior,” said Mechler. “We gave everything we could. We had a great race. “

In one of the tightest games, heavyweight Griffin Empey beat Kaukauna’s Alex Ashauer 3-2. Detweiler (195) defeated Trevor Stuyvenberg of Kaukauna 8-2. Brooks Empey won when Kaukauna’s Bryant Correa was disqualified for his fifth dropout.

Trenton Dow (145) defeated Judah Hammen of the Galloping Ghosts 10-3, and Mechler (160) defeated Clay Wendzicki of Kaukauna in a technical fall 17-2.

The Vikings also had two wins in lower weights, as Cole Sarbacker (113) beat Connor Smith 10-4 and Chance Suddeth (120) beat Bryan Winans 7-2 in overtime.

“The wrestlers on the mat gave us everything they had,” Stoughton co-coach Dan Spilde said. “The first two laps they did everything they could to put us in a position to win a state title. Kaukauna was just too deep. We just didn’t have the firepower to beat some of their strongest kids in the middleweight.

Brooks Empey, a four-time state medalist and two-time Division 1 state champion, set a career record 158-32. He set the single-season pin record in sophomore in 2019 with 43. He came within two pins of breaking Hunter Lewis’s career pin record (112).

Number 2 Kotlowski takes third place at state golf tournament

Caylie Kotlowski of Stoughton finished third at the WIAA Division 1 women’s fall golf meet on May 18 at Blackwolf Run’s Meadow Valleys in Kohler.

Kotlowski beat DePere’s Jolie Guyette for third place at the State Tournament after shooting a 5-on-par 77. Her two-day score of 11-on-par 155 was one shot away from forcing a playoff with Ellie Frisch from Middleton for a state runner- up to the finish. Frisch clinched second place with a 6-foot par putt on No.18. Kotlowski took third after edging Guyette in a score-breaker.

“I gave it my all,” Kotlowski said. “I played hard until the last two holes. There is nothing else I could have done. There is nothing I would like to go out and say that I would like to play this move differently. I just didn’t perform it perfectly or the way I wanted it to.

She missed several tight putts, including a 22-foot one that she narrowly missed for the birdie at No.10, she wished she could putt the putt with the flagstick drawn. Still, due to COVID-19 procedures, players had to putt with the flag. Kotlowski posted a birdie on the 428-yard No. 4 and pared 12 holes.

Kotlowski, a University of Wisconsin-Green Bay entry and a three-time state qualifier, was fourth in state in 2019 and 34th last season. Jo Baranczyk of Bay Port won the individual state championship with a score of 143 under par, 11 strokes ahead of runner-up Frisch. It marked the third state title for Baranczyk.

No.3 Zywicki shows up in two state meetings in one year

Stoughton senior Jayden Zywicki finished in the top 24 twice in the WIAA Division 1 boys’ cross country competition that same year. He raced for a 10th place finish in the alternate fall competition last spring at Blackhawk Golf Course in Janesville.

He then took 24th place at the Division 1 State meet this fall on October 30, clocking 16: 36.4 at the Ridges Golf Course in Wisconsin Rapids. Zywicki is only the third Stoughton athlete to become state-qualified three times. He joined an elite cross country company for the Vikings. The last runner to compete in four consecutive state competitions was Aaron Castleberg in 2000. His 10th place finish at the alternative state competition last spring was the second best finish by a Stoughton runner in program history.

Stoughton’s No.4 fight, football pipeline to Badgers continues

Stoughton continued his success by developing athletes to the next level at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Brooks Empey of Stoughton has signed his national letter of intent to fight for the Badgers. After a one-year hiatus, Stoughton’s Barrett Nelson returned to Stoughton and signed his national letter of intent to play football for UW, joining his older brother Jack Nelson. Barrett played a year of football for Rio / Fall River and returned to the Vikings this fall.

The Wisconsin wrestling team includes four SHS graduates – Tyler Dow (2018), Brooks Empey (2021), Garrett Model (2017) and Gavin Model (2020).

SHS graduates playing football for the Badgers are Brady Schipper (2018), Jordan DiBenedetto (2018) and Jack Nelson, who graduated in early December 2019. He then played at the US Army All-American Bowl on January 4. 2020, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. He started taking classes at UW on Jan.21, 2020, to get off to a good start in the classroom, weight room and training ground.

Barrett and Jack follow in the footsteps of others who have become legendary linemen for the Badgers, including their father, Todd, who was an offensive lineman at UW in the late 1980s.

# 5 Vikings swim up to 200 free school records in the state

The Stoughton women’s swim team set a school record in the 200-yard freestyle during the WIAA Division 2 State meet on April 6 at the Waukesha South Natatorium.

The Vikings quartet of Sofia Bormett, Savy Borroughs, Melanie Regan and Cora Borroughs finished ninth in the 200 freestyle relay with a time of 1 minute 40.45 seconds. The quartet broke the previous school record by 1.24 seconds.

“It was very questionable if we would have a season and that’s why I pushed myself to make it happen,” said Cora Borroughs.

Bormett, who battled an illness unrelated to COVID-19 during the alternate fall season last spring, was seventh in the 200 freestyle (1: 57.11), just 0.20 of a second d ‘a sixth place medal that went to Sun Prairie. Kristin Haas. She added an 11th place in the 100 freestyle (53.35).

This fall, Regan competed in three events at the Division 2 State Girls’ Swimming Competition on November 12 at the Waukesha South Natatorium.

Regan was 11th in the 500 freestyle with a time of 5: 25.75. She also competed in the 200-yard free, 500-yard free and was joined by senior Cora Borroughs and juniors Lillian Talbert and Alyson Schaefer in the 200 free relay.

Regan was also 15th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 2: 03.88.

In the 200 free relay, Regan, Borroughs, Talbert and Schaefer clocked 1: 44.19. This was a good time for the 15th.