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2021-22 Season Review

By Gabby Lord-Klein, 09/15/22, 8:00AM CDT


Wisconsin’s wrestling footprint is all over the world. As the state association for USA Wrestling, the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation (WWF) strives to provide quality opportunities for its members to achieve their full human and athletic potential. During the 2021-22 membership season, the WWF was involved in running state and national-level events.

Kids Folkstyle State, held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison this year, is the largest event hosted by the WWF. A third qualifier spot was added from each regional qualifier this year and resulted in an approximate 500-wrestler increase from both 2018 and 2019, respectively. More than 2,000 wrestlers competed. 

Dominate in the Dells was held alongside USA Wrestling’s Wisconsin qualifier for the National High School Recruiting Showcase in Milwaukee. The WWF Freestyle and Greco State tournaments were hosted successfully at the Woodside Dome in Wisconsin Dells again and served as a major qualifier for National Duals and Fargo, and the WWF partnered with USAW to host Northern Plains in the Dells for a second consecutive season. 

Notably absent from the list of events hosted by the WWF this season is the Girls Folkstyle State Tournament. The WIAA hosted the first-ever official Girls State Individual Wrestling Tournament in January. The event, held in La Crosse, highlighted girls wrestling as a WIAA priority and the tournament is now scheduled to take place at the Kohl Center in February 2023. Adeline Gray, Olympic silver medalist and six-time World champion, attended the historic event as part of USA Wrestling’s Athlete Appearance Program. 

As usual, Wisconsin wrestlers competed in various events across the country. This includes the US Open Events in Las Vegas, Men’s U20 and U23 World Team Trials (Ohio), Women’s Nationals (WTT, Texas), the National High School Recruiting Showcase (boys in Iowa, girls in Vegas) and Kids Nationals (Utah).

Nine teams from Wisconsin competed at National Duals in June: 16U Men’s Freestyle (2nd), Junior Men’s Freestyle (4th), 14U Men’s Freestyle (11th), 16U Men’s Freestyle Blue (19th) , Junior Greco (8th), 14U Greco (10th), 16U Greco (10th), 14U Girls Freestyle (4th) and Junior Women’s Freestyle (12th). 

USA Wrestling had another year of record-breaking participants at Fargo, celebrating 50 years of Greco-Roman and 20 years of women’s freestyle wrestling at the event.

Wisconsin had 37 All-Americans, including eight champions and six runners-up. 16U MFS & 16U GR: Haakon Peterson (94), 16U GR: Caleb Noble (88), 16U GR: Tristan Steldt (160), JR GR: Max Ramberg (220), 16U MFS: Kellen Wolbert (113), 16U MFS: Aeoden Sinclair (182), JR MFS: Connor Mirasola (182). Finalists: 16U MFS: Caleb Noble (88), 16U WFS: Carley Ceshker (122), 16U WFS: Faith Bartoszek (138), 16U GR: Declan Koch (113), 16U GR: Amryn Nutter (120), JR GR: Brayten Casey (106). 

Team Wisconsin finished the week-long string of national tournaments with all of our men’s teams earning a top-five finish: 16U and Junior Greco placed 2nd overall, while 16U and Junior men’s freestyle both placed 5th.

Several Wisconsin wrestlers have already competed on World stages this championship season.

Koy Hopke won a gold medal at the Cadet World Championships in July after back-to-back wins in Greco and freestyle at the Pan Am Games in June. Mitchell Mesenbrink, who won a freestyle gold medal at the Pan Ams in July, earned a silver medal at the Junior World Championships in August. Wrestling at the Senior World Championships this weekend in Greco-Roman is Wisconsin native Benji Peak at 72KG. Alisha Howk (WFS 55KG), Alston Nutter (GR 67KG) and Benji Peak (GR 72KG) qualified for U23 World Championships in October, and Brynn Engel will wrestle at the U15 Pan Am Championships. 

More Wisconsin natives that earned places on the 2022 Senior National Team include Alyssa Lampe (No. 2 WFS at 50KG), Brady Koontz (No. 2 GR at 55KG), Jesse Thielke (No. 1 GR) at 63KG,  Alston Nutter (No. 2 GR at 67KG), Benji Peak (No. 1 GR at 72KG), Payton Jacobson (No. 3 GR at 77KG), and Ben Provisor (No. 1 GR at 82KG). 

As part of the freestyle and Greco season, the WWF provided training team opportunities leading up to and through the spring season. The women’s program provided an additional four camps with the Focused on Freestyle series run by national team coaches and former WWF competitors.

In 2022, the WWF introduced monthly emails via the USA Wrestling membership system which now serves our primary form of communication. And, in February, monthly membership zoom calls were introduced leading up to National Duals and Fargo. Other adhoc improvements included informational flyers and digital recruiting forms.

Wisconsin closed the 2021-22 membership season with 9,381 athlete memberships, 1,891 wrestling leaders, and 161 clubs statewide. After a season of decreased membership driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, membership has returned to within 1% of where Wisconsin ended in 2019-20. 

The Wisconsin Wrestling Federation would like to extend congratulations and thank you to all wrestlers, coaches, staff, volunteers, officials, parents and membership community on an outstanding 2021-2022 season. 

The Wisconsin Wrestling Federation, guided by USA Wrestling, provides quality opportunities for its members to achieve their full human and athletic potential. Wisconsin Wrestling Federation will strive to be USA Wrestling’s best state organization