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By Randy Ferrell, 07/31/17, 12:00PM CDT


Boys | Wisconsin at USA Wrestling Nationals | 2017

The 2017 USA Wrestling National Tournament in Fargo, North Dakota is always a site to be seen.  A total of 45 states were represented this year in the Fargo Dome on the campus of North Dakota State University.  Thousands of athletes competing on 24 mats, all looking to win a national title on the elevated center stage.  

Wisconsin sent nearly 200 athletes westward to strut their stuff in the largest tournament in the world.  Becoming an All-American is quite an accomplishment.  Brackets are huge and filled with the best talent this great nation has to offer.  Wrestlers must be in peak physical condition as the rest time between matches is limited to only 15 minutes.  An athlete can finish a grueling match and then be called upon to compete again in what feels like only moments. 

Cadet Boys Freestyle -
The Wisconsin Cadet Freestyle team showed up to compete!  Battling in each round to take home a 10th Place finish in the national tournament with 4 All-Americans.

126 Keegan O’Toole 4th Place
132 Aidan Medora 2nd Place
152 Joshua Otto 4th Place
285 Logan Zschernitz 5th Place

Junior Boys Freestyle –
Our Wisconsin Junior Freestyle team represented very well, finishing in 11th Place with 3 All-Americans.
Tyler Dow had the match to behold in the Semifinal round.  The time was running out in the second period; Tyler was down on points, something had to be done.  Our Wisconsin Coaches were calm and collected in the corner.  They threw the block to have the video reviewed.  Just like they thought, the points didn’t add up.  At the end of the review, Tyler was only down by a few points and addition time was placed on the clock.  With a pure Wisconsin work ethic, Tyler set forth to get his job done!  When the smoke cleared and the buzzer sounded; two monster throws by Dow were enough to move him into the national finals.

126 Aaron Schulist 6th Place
138 Jeremy Schoenherr 2nd Place
160 Tyler Dow 2nd Place

Greco | Wisconsin at USA Wrestling Nationals | 2017

Wisconsin has a fine tradition in Greco Roman wrestling.  The 2017 Wisconsin Cadet and Junior Teams continued to carry that torch as they moved through the National Tournament in Fargo, North Dakota.  The number you are looking for is 15!  This is the number of Greco All-Americans coming home to Wisconsin!

Greco Roman wrestling may take a back seat to Freestyle when it comes to popularity, but the spectators in the stands love to watch the high scoring matches.  The risk versus reward is so much higher in Greco.  When you watch the chess match that is Freestyle, the small details may be lost on the average fan.  Wrestlers compete for position and battle to scrape out a 3-2 match.  In Greco, you let it fly!  Our young men were very active to score big throws and lifts to receive big points.  Greco matches can go back and forth with a high scoring result of 18-14.  You risk the hold to be rewarded on the scoreboard.

Cadet Boys Greco –
The Wisconsin Cadet Greco Team battled to a 6th Place finish amongst the field with 7 All-Americans including a National Champion!

88 Payton Jacobson 4th Place 
94 Blaine Brenner 6th Place   
113 Hunter Lewis 1st Place    
120 Aiden Nutter 5th Place                 
152 Gage Coppock 8th Place              
170 Tyler Hannah 2nd Place
285 Logan Zschernitz 2nd Place

Junior Boys Greco-
The Wisconsin Junior Greco Team captured a 2nd Place finish with 8 All-Americans.

113 Eric Barnett 4th Place                  
120 Brady Koontz 2nd Place              
138 Alston Nutter 2nd Place
160 Tyler Dow 2nd Place                   
160 Hayden Krein 7th Place               
170 Jose Acosta 8th Place
195 Dalton Hahn 2nd Place                
220 Aric Bohn 3rd Place

These young men worked to put themselves amongst the best in the nation.  Pulling together to make sure that everyone shared the load.  The trait of a leader is one that climbs to the top and then turns around to help others achieve the same.  I would say that Wisconsin Greco is not shy about giving a hand up!

Wrestling in Fargo, North Dakota is like going to see the Great and Powerful Oz.  So many things hold your attention.  So many things to focus on.  So many shiny objects to draw your eye. The final product is a wondrous spectacle to behold.  How many people have ever looked behind the curtain?  How many people truly want to know the work that goes into making everything appear effortless?

This year was my first on staff with the Wisconsin National team.  I was brought on staff to work behind this magical curtain, to assist our State Coach Scott Kluever.  The amount of time and energy put in to make this event run smooth for our athletes and our coaches is absolutely amazing.  The organization it takes to keep all our buses, athletes and coaches running on time and back and forth from River Falls to Fargo is a bit of wizardry.  

A few of my duties to help the program were: our Junior Recruit portfolio, secure practice mats for our programs as they arrive in Fargo and for those wrestling both styles, mat assignments for all of our athletes and coaches, checking into the hotel for all athletes and coaches and a general schedule to insure we, as a state, remain on top of our game.  Not to mention, I got to coach a few matches! 

While in Fargo, I had the opportunity to attend several national meetings.   These meeting are run after the last match of the day has completed and may run late pending the topic.  Topics of the meetings I attended were: the general schedule of the National tournament, girls wrestling at national events and the spotlight on building state programs and the combination of all levels at a single location for the National Duals.  

Of the three topics, the schedule seemed to move along the quickest and have the most agreement amongst state representatives.  Most states were looking for a day of weigh in and an earlier finish to the final day.  As we all progress with weight issues amongst our wrestlers, states agreed a day of weigh in would eliminate the big cuts and make our sport healthier.  It was nice to see our leaders working together for progress.

The girls meeting was very well attended!  The room was filled, with no empty seats and people spilling out onto the stairs and walkways.  The meeting seemed to go back and forth as the crowd worked to vote in a new leader and give direction for future events.  As a member of the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association, adding girls wrestling to the ‘cheese state’ is a priority of mine.  It was a great opportunity for me to ask questions and seek out methods to limit the hurdles for inclusion.  

The National Duals was an interesting meeting.  I see so much written on our own forum about why our state does not attend.  I see a lot of negative chatter regarding our leader’s vision and the grand scheme.  What I witnessed was the Wisconsin State Coach leading the national discussion on combining the Cadet and Junior Duals into one event and moving the date as to give plenty of time to recover and develop before the run to the National Tournament.  This would make the duals more affordable for all states to attend and give our wrestlers the added time to recover between events.  There is a plan in place and soon it will grow fruit! 

I learned so much as a coach during the camps leading up to the National Tournament.  Having the opportunity to sit down with many of the best coaches in the state to share technique and philosophy was invaluable.  If you do not continue to grow and learn, you get passed by.  This is true with anything in life.  If you truly want to achieve greatness, you need to evolve with our sport.  

After being home with my family, I took time to reflect upon my travels.  The bus rides, the van rides, the competition, the short naps between sessions, the snacks in my backpack.  The amount of time I spent texting coaches should actually work in my favor if I choose to pursue a career in thumb wrestling.  All the interaction with our athletes and many parents. Both were on a roller coaster of emotion.  I appreciate the opportunities I am given and how this sport has taken me from a small town in Ohio to travel our great nation.  All with a common goal.  To be the best.  The best wrestler, the best coach, the best.  To finish my article with a Wizard of Oz theme, I do have a story about a magical pair of shoes.  Feel free to walk up to me at any event throughout next season and ask.  I am more than happy to share.

Randy Ferrell
Head Wrestling Coach
West Allis Nathan Hale