Wrestling team gains confidence with new head coach

    After coaching at Whitewater, La Crosse and Wheaton, Tim Fader is the wrestling team’s new leader

    More stories from Elizabeth Gosling


    Photo by Elizabeth Gosling

    Alex Klienschmidt and Roy Munroe practice wrestling in the neutral position. The wrestlers have been practicing since Oct. 10.

    Brisk energy is in the air as slightly sweaty Blugold wrestlers jog around the wrestling room before practice on a weekday afternoon in McPhee Physical Education Center.

    Their season started a month ago, and since then the UW-Eau Claire wrestling team’s roster has grown from 12 to 18 wrestlers.

    Tim Fader, newly appointed Wrestling head coach said he is pleased that he can now enter in all of the weight classes because of the roster increase.

    Fader said it is a positive change to have more wrestlers on the team, and they still are hoping to attract more.

    Over the past four years, there have been four different coaches, all who come with different wrestling styles. Fader said he appreciates the athletes who have stuck with wrestling, especially through the turmoil of change

    With each coach comes new philosophies, approaches and expectations for the players, regardless of the sport, Fader said.

    Fader said he appreciates his team’s persistence, and their enjoyment of wrestling and the training. This is something Fader is used too as he has coached in the WIAC for 19 years, spending time at UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse.

    “They have really good attitudes,” Fader said.

    However, he said there’s a long way to go and the wrestlers are eager to learn and get better. Fader said their work ethic is high, and he is impressed with their academics.

    Most of the team has GPAs above 3.0 and he hopes that they will receive Academic All- American awards Fader said.

    An athlete is eligible to become an All-American if they receive first place through eighth place at the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships. In order to go to the national tournament, an athlete would have to place in the top three in the WIAC. To become an Academic All American, you need to be an All-American with at least a 3.2 GPA.

    Fader said there are around 2,000 wrestlers, and out of those, only 125 of them receive the academic All-American award in collegiate wrestling.

    The Blugolds have competed in five matches this season, which includes losses to Concordia College and Luther College (Iowa). However, Fader and the Blugolds won their first match against St. Olaf College (Minn.) last month.

    Fader said he would like to finish the season strong, make the national stage and show improvement throughout the season. Because of the length of the season, athletes sometimes struggle to keep up the motivation he said.

    Zack Sirny, a sophomore wrestler said, during his college career, he has only participated in sports for two years and will continue to next year, as a fifth year student.

    Wrestling since the second grade, Sirny is a part of the 125-pound weight class making him the lightest Blugold wrestler. This season, his goal is to qualify for the national tournament, and become an All-American he said.

    “He has a lot of promise,” Fader said.

    Sirny said that Fader has a lot of motivation which stems from his extensive wrestling knowledge.

    “He knows what it takes to be successful,” Sirny said.

    Nathaniel Behnke, a senior wrestler became an All-American during his freshman year, and aims to reach the national stage again. In order to do this, he said it is important to continue pushing himself.

    “I don’t think there is anything else that is harder than what I go through in this wrestling room,” Behnke said. “This has really helped me push through any hard trial.”

    The Blugolds next match will be held on Saturday in La Crosse, competing against Augsburg College (Minn.), Concordia college-Moorhead (Minn.) and Southwest Minnesota State.