Ta'Leah Van Sistine
UW-Eau Claire hosted this year’s WIAC Wrestling Championship on Feb. 8th where, on the mats in the McPhee Strength and Performance Center, Blugolds achieved fifth place overall and eight wrestlers specifically found themselves on the podium.
David Dudych placed second at 149 pounds, and Thomas Severson and Tyler Burt proceeded with fourth-place finishes — Severson at 133 pounds and Burt as a heavyweight. Ryan Hannah at 157 pounds, Toby Mosley at 174 pounds and Jordan Blanchard at 184 pounds all received fifth-place finishes and Jack Marley at 125 pounds and James Huntley at 197 pounds both finished with sixth place.
Severson, a first-year business administration student, said he was glad UW-Eau Claire hosted the WIAC Championship this year.
“I thought it was a really cool opportunity,” Severson said. “It was good for Eau Claire and it was good for our performances.”
In preparation for the championship, Tim Fader, head coach of the UW-Eau Claire wrestling team, said he implemented a plan he has used every year throughout his coaching career.
“We shorten the length of practices and we increase the number of reps that we’re trying to get in our practices, but we’re doing it in a shorter amount of time,” Fader said. “We had two strong days of strength training (and) with some of our guys we do film work, so we’ll watch matches of wrestlers they’re going to wrestle on the weekend.”
Fader explained this schedule tailors to each wrestler’s individual needs in terms of what they need to focus on, compared to the beginning of the season when the wrestlers are learning positions and techniques as a team.
“We do a lot of individual work with guys in specific areas that they find themselves … and we just try to perfect those situations for them,” Fader said. “It’s very individual based. … Earlier in the season our practices are a lot longer (and) we’re teaching more to a group, (so) the workload is a lot higher.”
As an example, he reminisced about second-year wrestler Toby Mosley’s performances at the championship and his application of the skills they worked on in practices leading up to it.
“It’s really gratifying to see,” Fader said. “(With) Toby Mosely, we worked on two different techniques for him this past weekend and (in) his last match, we saw him do both of them really well, so that’s exciting as a coach when you can see it happen right before your eyes.”
Although Fader revealed he was disappointed in how some of the performances at the meet went, he realizes the potential in the current group of wrestlers, since they are mostly made up of first- and second-year students.
“We have an extremely young group of men wrestling at Eau Claire … that will continue to get better if they stick together,” Fader said.
Looking to the future, Fader hopes to have as many wrestlers as possible succeed in the upcoming regional tournament and then qualify for the national tournament.
Chase Schmidt, a second-year environmental geography student and Blugold wrestler, said he also strives to make it into the national championship and someday have the title as a national champ.
As an entire wrestling team, Schmidt stresses they need to collectively have faith in what they have practiced and the performances they pursue.
“We just need to trust with what we’ve been through, what we’ve worked on (and) be confident with what we do in the match,” Schmidt said.
Following a weekend of rest, Blugolds will then participate in the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Upper Midwest Regional Championship on Feb. 22 and 23 hosted by UW-Eau Claire.
Van Sistine can be reached at [email protected]