stoughton wrestling

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Stoughton Wrestling started in 1955 under the direction of Howie Mathias. It first started as a club sport when boxing was cancelled as a WIAA sport. Under his direction, he established the club team to become part of the WIAA in 1956. In 1957, Bob Spicuzza had a one year stay in Stoughton and produced the first Badger Conference Championship team and sent eight gentlemen to the WIAA State tournament. That same year Duane Quale captured Stoughton's very first individual state championship. Fred Anderson guided the Vikings for the next five years until his departure in 1962.

In 1962, National Wrestling Hall of Fame inductee, LaVerne Pieper became the head coach and with his guidance started Stoughton's rich wrestling success. Under Coach Pieper's leadership the Vikings captured seven State Championships, 28 individual state champions, 15 individual state runners-up, and 36 state place winning medalists. In 1988, his team scored a record 140 points in the WIAA State Tournament, the highest point total ever in WIAA history. Two of his wrestlers went on and became Olympic silver medalists. They were Andy Rein and Russ Hellickson, who both served as head coach at the University of Wisconsin.

In 1994, after 32 years of coaching, Vern stepped down and turned the program over to Dan Spilde. Under Coach Spilde's direction, the Vikings have claimed three conference championships and with the addition of Bob Empey as Co-Head Coach in 1999 have captured another fifteen conference championships. In 2000, the Vikings made school history by qualifying for their first trip to the WIAA State Team Tournament in West Allis. The Vikings have since been at the State Team Tournament in 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Vikings have finished as WIAA Division 1 Team State Runner-up in 2001, 2004, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2021.  In 2018, the Vikings captured it's first State Team Championship in 30 years to finish as 2018 Division 1 State Team Champions.  The Vikings made it three peat with State Team Championships by winning the titles again in 2019 with a perfect 21-0 record and in exciting fashion in 2020.   In addition, the Vikings lead all WIAA Divisions (1, 2, and 3) with the most Individual State Champions from one school with 54!

Highlights and Awards

  • 286 State Individual Participants
  • 166 State Place-Winners
  • 54 Individual State Champions
  • 10 WIAA State Team Championships
  • 11 WIAA State Team Runner-up Finishes
  • 34 WIAA Sectional Team Championships
  • 45 WIAA Regional Championships
  • 41 Badger Conference Championships

Post High School Highlights

  • Olympians:Silver Medalists Andy Rein (1976) and Russ Hellickson (1984)
  • National Wrestling Hall of Fame: Russ Hellickson
  • National Wrestling Hall of Fame---Wisconsin Chapter: Bob Spicuzza, Duane Kleven, LaVerne Pieper, Dan Spilde
  • Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association---George Martin Hall of Fame: (Coach or Athlete) Russ Hellickson, Nancy Hellickson, Andy Rein, LaVerne Pieper, Gordy Marchionda, Duane Kleven, Howie Matthias, Bob Spicuzza, Duane Quale, Don Moe, Bob Empey, Dan Spilde


Bob Empey
Co-Head Coach
(608) 877-5754

Dan Spilde
Co-Head Coach
(608) 335-9288

Sam Nauer
Athletic Trainer