Wrestling team takes second place in the championships

UW-Eau Claire takes home two conference titles

Liz Curtin

More stories from Liz Curtin


Wrestling team looks forward to Upper Midwest Regional.

The UW-Eau Claire wrestling team took part in the 2023 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) Wrestling Championship at Stevens Point on Saturday. UW-Eau Claire tied for second place along with UW-Whitewater with 125 points. 

During the championship, UW-Platteville took fourth, UW-Oshkosh took fifth and UW-Stevens Point took sixth. UW-La Crosse took first place with a total of 161 points. Out of the 14 wrestlers who competed as a part of UW-Eau Claire’s team, 12 placed. 

Wrestling team Coach Fader mentioned that the fact that UW-Eau Claire didn’t take first place in the championships all came down to one round. 

“We had a semifinal round where we didn’t wrestle our best and unfortunately that was probably the most important round of the tournament,” Fader said. 

Last year, Eau Claire was able to take home two conference titles and this year was no different.  

At the tournament, UW-Eau Claire students, Jared Stricker, a second year student, and Chase Melton, a fourth year student, took home the conference titles for their weight classes. 

Stricker won his first conference title at last year’s championship as a freshman. Fader expressed his confidence in Stricker’s abilities. 

“He’s really setting himself up to be in the elite group in our program’s history,” Fader said. 

Fader expressed that Eau Claire wrestling has been able to win four conference titles in the past two years despite not having received one for about 15 years. 

Stricker’s teammate Melton was able to take home his first conference title after placing during prior championships. 

“It’s a lot easier said than done,” Melton said. 

Melton is a senior who will be graduating at the end of the semester and is sometimes supported at his wrestling matches by his wife and three month old son. 

Coach Fader shared that he used to coach Melton’s father years ago and has watched both him and his son gain a conference title. Melton expressed his excitement and gratitude for receiving his first title.

“It was definitely a huge blessing from the lord,” Melton said. 

Eau Claire students, Tyler Fleetwood and Niall Schoenfelder were also runner ups for conference titles. 

Fader says he prepares his team members by conducting a winter training camp over the holiday break where the team has two practices a day and travels for tournaments. Fader also stated that another way wrestlers can stay prepared is by monitoring their eating over break. 

“We want our guys to go home and have a break … but when we come back we really focus on our last month and a half of our season,” Fader said. 

During the break, the team traveled through several states and took part in two competitions. Fader expressed that despite the full schedule, the team still has plenty of time for rest. 

Coach Fader said the team is now preparing for the NCAA Division III Upper Midwest Regional on Feb. 24 in Mequon. 

Any athletes who rank in the top three for their weight class will then go on to the NCAA National Championship where five Eau Claire wrestlers were able to go last year.

Curtin can be reached at [email protected].