MADISON — “It’s amazing. It’s worth everything I’ve worked for,” Costello said. “It’s the best feeling ever.”
After his arm was raised for the win, Costello trotted across the Kohl Center floor, up into the stands to the Campbellsport cheering section, giving his mom a big embrace.
Costello had 161 career victories entering the match, and No. 162 gave his legacy the proper exclamation point it deserved.
“It was the only thing really left to do,” Campbellsport coach Ryan Peterson said. “It would have been a disappointment not to win it.”
Costello (41-1) and Opelt (47-2) — ranked first and second in the state — had a scoreless first period, handfighting throughout as they tried to get a feel for each other.
Costello elected to start the second period on top, which turned out to be a great decision. Early in the period, he stretched Opelt out using a half-nelson and turned him enough to get three nearfall points and take control of the match.
“Our plan was to choose top in the second period because Ryan’s a hell of a rider,” Peterson said. “He kept working that cradle, that kid stopped it, and then we used what is called a ‘surfboard’ move, keeping that power half going and he stretched him out with his legs and got 3. That really took the pressure of Ryan.”
“I crossfaced him over to his back and put a power half in. It’s one of my top moves,” Costello said. “I ran it and got the nearfall.”
Costello controlled Opelt the rest of the second period to keep a 3-0 lead, and then started the third period from the down position. Costello eventually got to his feet for an escape and turned it into a takedown, picking up three more points for a 6-0 lead with under 30 seconds left. He gave up a meaningless takedown in the final seconds before the buzzer sounded for a 6-2 victory.
Like he has all season, Costello sported pink wrestling shoes to honor Katie Berg, Sabrinia Stahl and Caitlin Scannell — the three Campbellsport teenagers who lost their lives in a tragic car accident last February. Costello has a tattoo of a cross between his shoulder blades honoring them as well. He said earlier this season that he was dedicating part of his season toward them.
“He was kind of on a mission for the girls,” Peterson said. “He was real close to all three of them. He’s had that on his mind.”
“It’s a good feeling,” Costello said about honoring them with a state championship. “They were out there with me.”