By Al Zipsie

Longtime Lena-Winslow/Stockton wrestling coach Kevin Milder was treated to a nice birthday present Thursday.

In front of a packed house at Dakota high school, the Panther/Hawks (25-1) clinched the NUIC by dominating arch-rival Dakota 46-20. LW/S won ten of the 14 matches on the night. Milder has led the Panther-Hawks to a state championship and a runner-up finish. Last year they fell to the eventual state champion Aurora Christian in the Sectional.

After both teams beat West Carroll in duals the lights lowered and the spotlight came on to one middle mat featuring the 1A second-ranked Lena-Winslow and third-ranked Dakota.

Dakota had been hot winning the tough PIT Invitational and rolling over two other ranked teams in Rock Falls and Byron and then West Carroll before running into the Panther/Hawks who had finished a strong second in the 55 team Abe's Rumble.

The first night of the match was the most exciting setting the tone as Lena-Winslow/Stockton's Winston McPeek won a 7-6 thriller over Dakota's Kade Wales. The Indians Caleb Alber then gave Dakota's it's only short-lived lead of the night with a fall at 138 and a 6-3 lead.

Then it was the Panther/Hawks who never looked back. Andrew Haas got a pin at 145 to give LW/S the lead for good. Jason Hermann followed with a 6-2 decision and at 152 and Case Harmston with a late third period fall at 160 to build an 18-6 cushion. Dakota's Andrew Wenzel's pin at 170 cutting deficit to 18-12. However, the momentum went back to the Panther-Hawks with a Colin Dvorak 13-4 major at 182. Martin Snyder for Dakota had a 2-0 decision over Brady Stich at 195. Then LW/S had first period pins from Jennings Dunker at 220 and defending state champion and top-ranked Ian Kuehl at 285. The Panther-Hawks led 34-15 but with four matches yet it wasn't sealed.

Dakota's Maddux Blakely who won the PIT had a tech fall for Dakota at 106 in 5:07. The Panther-Hawks then put it away with wins in the last three matches, decisions by Jaden Rice at 113, Simon Rillie at 120 and a forfeit for Marey Roby at 126.

The West Carroll Individual Regional February 2nd features state ranked Lena-Winslow/Stockton, Dakota, Rock Falls, and Byron. Along with Oregon, Sterling Newman, West Carroll, Polo, and Durand. Only the school with the most points wins the team title and advances to the Sectional duals.

Dakota (18-6) showed they are not afraid to face the best in the state. After the loss to the Panther-Hawks, they fell Friday to the State's top-ranked 3A team Montini 51-18 and Saturday to the No 1 ranked 1A team Aurora Christian 43-27. They did beat Hononegah 39-21. Earlier this year in a dual they knocked off Washington the No 1 2A team.

Last year Dakota won the dual and Lena-Winslow/Stockton the regional. This year LW/S won the dual and the Regional will be a battle. Dakota is hoping to have four of their better wrestlers back for Regionals. Lucas Sutherland at 120, Tyler Simmer 126, Evan Riggle at 152 and Aiden Nardin at 160 all were injured and did not wrestle in the dual with the Panther-Hawks. At regional it will be a scramble for team points and maybe some key head to head matches with the NUIC rivals.

Stateline Sports Hub. NUIC Basketball Rankings.

Boys

East Dubuque ranked third in the state in 1A and still unbeaten is at the top.

  1. East Dubuque 16-0
  2. River Ridge 15-3
  3. Polo 18-3
  4. Forreston 10-2
  5. Lena-Winslow 13-5
  6. Pearl City 8-3
  7. Milledgeville 10-6
  8. Eastland 6-5
  9. Aquin 9-7
  10. Galena 8-8

Girls

So many good teams in the NUIC will make for a very interesting Regional and Sectional. A little shake up after Saturday when Stockton lost to undefeated Blackhawk WI 60-32 and Eastland beat Dakota 44-25 ending their 12 game winning streak. The top nine teams are all very close to each other. Eastland is our new number one.

  1. Eastland 21-4
  2. Amboy 20-1
  3. Stockton 18-3
  4. Dakota 17-3
  5. Ashton/Franklin Center 18-2
  6. Aquin 17-4
  7. East Dubuque 16-3
  8. Galena 14-5
  9. River Ridge/Scales Mound 15-6
  10. Lena-Winslow 10-10