DQ’d at conference, Halter wins right to compete for state title

Waterford sophomore Hayden Halter, the No. 1-ranked wrestler at 120 pounds, dominates Union Grove’s Cade Willis in the conference championship bout Feb. 2 at Elkhorn Area High School. Holding a 7-2 lead, Halter was DQ’d with seconds remaining in the match for using inappropriate language toward the referee and flexing after his victory. Halter and his father, Shawn, were forced to leave the premises before the event was over. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)


By Jason Arndt and Chris Bennett


Hayden Halter’s day in court will result in another day on the mat.

Halter, who wrestles at Waterford Union High School, and his father, Shawn, appeared Friday afternoon in court in front of Racine County Circuit Court judge Michael Piontek.

The Halters were the plaintiffs and the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Association (WIAA) and Waterford Union High School were the defendants.

Piontek’s ruling – an injunction – states that the WIAA and Waterford Union High School must allow Hayden to compete at Saturday’s Division 1 regional tournament in Pewaukee, and all subsequent competitions.

The ruling is effective immediately, and can only be lifted by order of the court.

Hayden Halter was disqualified at the Southern Lakes Conference Tournament Feb. 2 at Elkhorn with less than 30 seconds remaining in his match against Union Grove’s Cade Willis. Hayden Halter and Willis were wrestling for the conference title at 120.

Hayden Halter was given two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Hayden Halter allegedly used inappropriate language with the referee when questioning why he wasn’t awarded a point for an escape, and earned another unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he flexed while looking toward the crowd after his victory.

Hayden Halter was disqualified at the SLC tournament. WIAA rules state Halter must miss Waterford’s next match. The Wolverines’ next match – regionals – is the first of the postseason, and is an elimination match.

If Halter did not wrestle in the regional tournament it would end his season, as he would not be able to qualify for sectionals or state. The injunction granted by Piontek ensures Hayden Halter will now be able to wrestle through the postseason and defend his state title.

Hayden Halter, a Rochester native, is a sophomore, and is the defending WIAA Division 1 state champion at 106 pounds. He has wrestled at 120 pounds this season. He wrestled last season at Burlington.

Hayden Halter is ranked No. 1 in Division 1 at 120 in the latest Wisconsin Wrestling Online state poll.

Jeremy P. Levinson, an attorney representing Hayden and his father, Shawn, said Friday’s decision came after Piontek heard arguments for about 30 minutes.

“What was right and what was fair all pointed in favor of Hayden’s direction,” he said.

According to online court records, Piontek heard statements from Hayden and Shawn Halter, along with attorneys who represented the WIAA, and reviewed video of the match.

Levinson, who said official court transcripts will not be available for several days, indicated the decision was important for the Halters because of Hayden’s work ethic.

“This is an important case for a kid,” Levinson said. “He has worked incredibly hard for it. He is also a good student.”

As of Friday night, Southern Lakes Newspapers was unable to reach Piontek for additional insight into his decision.