Wrestling to the Top


Photo submitted by Claire Spilde

Stoughton Wrestlers warm up at the Cheese Head Invitationals.

The Badger State Invitational was an event the Stoughton Wrestling program hosted at the Alliant Energy Center this past Dec. 16. The Badger State Invitationals have been happening since the 1970s.
Jason Becker, the assistant coach of Stoughton’s wrestling team, has been coaching at SHS for four years. He explains what he thinks about this event throughout his years of coaching at Stoughton High School .
“It’s a great event that has been growing, especially with the addition of girls wrestling. […] It’s something we put on as a fundraiser, as well as a way to continue to grow the sport of wrestling,” Becker says.
Becker reflects on how Stoughton has improved during his time here.
“I think the biggest way that Stoughton has changed is that they have found ways to continue the success of the wrestling program,” Becker says. “Whether that’s been great individual performances or […] team dynamics, we’re able to continue to have the success we’ve had and send our teams to state which has been truly remarkable.”
The Stoughton wrestling team is led by co-head coaches Dan Spilde and Bob Empey, along with assistant coaches Becker, Matt Braund, and Calyn Hall. Overall, Stoughton’s top individual wrestlers are Griffin Empey (27-2), Chance Suddeth (28-3), Cole Sarbacker (20-6), and Beckett Spilde (26-5).
Claire Spilde is a senior at SHS and has been wrestling since she was five. She stopped after 8th grade but started back up again this year. This opportunity was her first time wrestling at the Badger State Invitationals.
“It’s super fun being able to go out there and push and do better every time. Wrestling is a very physical and mental sport. It’s just pushing myself to beat people that I haven’t beat before and doing the best that I can,” Spilde says.
The Stoughton Wrestling team does not host tryouts, so they will not cut anyone. Everyone is welcome to go to the wrestling room and try it out for two weeks.
“I think students are often scared about giving wrestling a try because they think it’s so demanding, they’re gonna get physically beat up on the mat, but I really welcome anybody and everybody that has ever thought about wrestling,” Becker says. “I think they would realize that it’s a super rewarding sport. I will find a place for you on the team. […] I think it’s a great sport that allows you to set and achieve both individual and team goals, which a lot of sports can’t say they do.”