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Martin earns one win in 2008 state meet

Somerset senior Tony Martin wrapped up his improbable wrestling season by earning one win in the 2008 WIAA State Wrestling Championships.

Martin, who entered the season with very little wrestling experience, became a voracious scholar of the sport. That led to a rapid improvement and eventually Martin's berth in the state tournament.

Martin took a 25-7 record into the state tournament. In his first round he faced Waupaca senior Dustin Stichman, who brought a 40-3 record into the state meet.

This was another case where Martin's hunger for knowledge led to his success. Martin and the Spartan coaches scoured the Internet and found film of four of Stichman's matches.

"That's the reason we were able to beat him," said Spartan coach Mike Kappers. "We had a good plan for him and Tony wrestled a smart match."

The first period of the match was scoreless. Stichman chose the down position for the second period and was able to get an escape to lead 1-0. Martin took the bottom position for the third period. The match was tied 30 seconds into the third period when Martin was awarded a penalty point after Stichman grabbed his headgear. Thirty seconds later Martin escaped to take a 2-1 lead.

Stichman tried to get a takedown to get the lead back, but Martin was able to hold him off and get the 2-1 victory.

That moved Martin into the second round against Cody Seibel of Kewaskum, a sectional champion. Seibel, who ended up taking fifth at state, was able to throw Martin several times and earn an 11-6 win.

That moved Martin to the wrestlebacks, where he faced Ben Ruechel of Oconto. This was an extremely tight match. The score was tied 2-2 with 14 seconds when Martin shot in on Ruechel. Ruechel was able to hook Martin's elbow, and in the ensuing scramble, Ruechel was able to get the takedown just before time ran out.

Martin finishes the season with a 26-9 record.

Kappers said he saw the possibility of Martin getting to state in December when the Spartans wrestled Spring Valley. Martin put up a tough fight against Trent Larrieu, who won a state championship in Division 3 for Spring Valley on Saturday.

"That night I said 'you keep learning at this pace and you could make it to state.' More than anything he's a competitor and he's very confident in his ability," Kappers said.

Dave Newman
Dave Newman has been the sports editor at the New Richmond News since 1988. He has covered the action in the Middle Border Conference, Dunn-St. Croix Conference and Big Rivers Conference for nearly 30 years.
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