Wrestling team finishes 24th at Wheaton Invitational

Story by Alex Zank, News Editor

The Blugolds ended up 24 out of 29 overall at the Wheaton Invitational, a tournament lasting Friday and Saturday.

Head Coach Jon Ames said the overall place does not reflect the team’s performance, as they were not playing with a full roster.

“We only sent six guys down and pretty much every other team had all ten of their competitors,” he said. “We wrestled one of the best tournaments of the season so far.”

A few of the wrestlers faced some tough matchups, but Ames said that did not stop them from competing.

“(The players) wrestled probably their best matches of the year,” he said.

Nathaniel Behnke, who placed sixth overall, said he was happy with the way the team finished against tough opponents.

“Besides me placing, (we had) three other guys that were going to place the match before, and I thought it was quite an accomplishment to get all those guys there,” he said. “Other tournaments they’ve been out right away.”

The UW-Eau Claire Open, the last meet before the WIAC Championship, will take place on Saturday Feb. 17.

Going into the Eau Claire Open, Behnke said the team could work on keeping the intensity going throughout their matches.

Being no exception, Behnke said that he could also be working to improve the intensity throughout his matches as well.

“The last two matches I lost (at Wheaton), I lost in the third period,” he said. “If I would have wrestled like I did in the first period, there could have been a different outcome.”

Behnke’s goal is to place in the top four at the Eau Claire Open, and said that other teammates should also be able to place as well.

“These guys were so close to placing last weekend,” Behnke said. “There’s no reason we shouldn’t have four guys at least placing (at Eau Claire).”

Sophomore Brandon Stradel was one of the Blugold wrestlers close to placing at Wheaton, and said to place on Saturday he has to keep the same attitude he did at the tournament.

Reflecting on the less-than-perfect season, Stradel said that in order to stay motivated he looks to the future rather than dwell on previous losses.

“You have to put everything behind you and just wrestle,” he said. “You can’t really dwell on the past and (you have to) keep moving forward.”

Behnke said that some of the opponents he lost to will be at the Eau Claire Open, and with a hard week of intense practice he hopes to be able to beat some of the guys he could not before on Saturday.

Ames encouraged students to attend the Eau Claire Open and support the Blugold wrestlers.

“For those students who haven’t really had much of a chance to watch college wrestling should come up to McPhee,” he said. “It would give our guys a boost of confidence and motivation.”

Check back for extended coverage or pick up Thursday’s edition of The Spectator.