Last Saturday, January 7, the Whitewater Wrestling team hosted a huge wrestling tournament at Whitewater High School called the WWCA JV Challenge Series Regional. This is a tournament sponsored by the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association and provides the junior varsity wrestlers an opportunity to compete for a state championship through the coaches’ association. It is a great opportunity for the JV wrestlers around the state to get some extremely great competition.
Whitewater was the host for 28 schools traveling from as far away as River Valley to Oconomowoc. The tournament is all one division, so students from division 3 to division 1 all descended into Whitewater on Saturday. These 28 schools brought 277 wrestlers to compete in this event with as many as 34-person brackets to work through in an attempt to place in the top 3 and earn the right to advance to the state finals in Wausau.
The Whitewater team did very well all weekend, from Friday evening with setting up 6 mats, Saturday competition, and then finally the cleanup of the entire area on Saturday evening. On the mat, Whitewater wrestlers did very well. There were not any disappointments as far as how the team competed. Sure, there were disappointments in not qualifying for the top 3, but there was outstanding competition to work through, and nearly everyone secured at least one win on the day. Whitewater placed 9 of their 14 wrestlers in the top 5 at their weights.
Highlights of the day included the Whippets having two bring home a Championship, one Runner-Up, and two 3rd place finishes, all qualifying for Wausau. There were two more members of the team who took 4th and were named alternates. Prior to writing this article Coach Schimming got a phone call from Wausau asking for those two students to also come, so Whitewater will have 7 students participating on Saturday, January 21, at Wausau West High School.
Bringing home championships for the Whippets were JJ Gonzalez at 160 and Jesus Barajas at 170 lbs. Both of these athletes wrestled very well throughout the day on their way to the championship.
Coming in runner up for the Whippets was Richi Kalra at 170. Richi wrestled very well all day before falling to teammate Barajas in the finals.
Two students won their final match of the day to come in 3rd place and earn their automatic bid. Curtis Rossmiller at 126 lbs and Nate Black at 152 both wrestled very well losing tough matches in the semi-finals before securing their spot at Wausau with their win at 3rd.
Reaching the semi-finals before suffering their first lost were Keenan Sheffield at 145 and Christian Minett at 152. Keenan lost his 3rd place match to finish in fourth. Christian defaulted his match to teammate Nate Black due to a recurring injury. Fortunately for each of them they will still qualify based on a competitor ahead of them not going.
Finishing in 5th place on the day with a record of 5-1 included Max Babcock and Avi Kalra. Each of them lost early in the day, and based on the design of the bracket the best they could do was 5th place. Each did the best they could after the early loss which was great to see.
Closing out placements was Kane Obregon who took 7th. Kane is in his first year ever wrestling and has done very well losing a couple of close matches over the course of the day.
As an entire program the coaches could not be prouder of the effort given by the team, wrestlers and managers, putting this event on. The group not competing had the daunting task of working tables, which can get to be a very long day for them. They did absolutely outstanding with their job, and when the tournament was over did an outstanding job with the cleanup of the 6 mats that were used and picking up garbage in the stands. The wrestlers and managers should be commended for giving up an entire Saturday so Junior Varsity wrestlers around our area had this opportunity.
Article Submitted by John Schimming
Whitewater High School Head Wrestling Coach
File Photo Courtesy of Bob Mischka