The Fall weather has arrived, so many of us are raking leaves, spending time in a tree or a marsh, and all of the other activities associated with fall. It also means that wrestling season is fast approaching. Our wrestlers and coching staffs have been busy since the end of last season preparing for the upcoming season. We have been busy planning for the youth season, designing programs and schedules, designing t-shirts and shorts for the team, and many other details that lead to a successful season. I'd like to share some thoughts, information, and dates with you.
Our coaching staff has once again made some changes. Denny Nelson, Tim Spray, and I will be back. Carl DeLuca and Drew Hamel are great new additions to our staff. Carl wrestled at UW Oshkosh and Drew wrestled at UW Whitewater. Troy Wirtz will be the head middle school coach. His assistants will be Randy Duxbury, Noah Salemari, and Kyle Van Berkel.
Last season ended with our twenty-first Division 1 State Championship, but it was also a season that we are all glad to put behind us. We will not be able to replace the seniors that we graduated, but we return a group of hard working and talented wrestlers that will improve each week. We will be in battles every week and will likely be underdogs in a number of events. Our goal is the same and is attainable, but only through hard work and unselfishness. We found out at the Team State Toruanament last March that the best team on paper doesn't always win the dual and we will need efforts like that to win another state championship.
Our wrestlers set some high goals for this season. We had an up and down offseason, but this fall has been one of the most productive falls in recent memory. We return only one wrestler with state tournament experience. We return two other sectional qualifiers and seven other part-time starters. We have some very good junior varsity wrestlers and welcome in a good group of freshmen. We will be very young both in age and varsity experience, but have the potential for tremendous growth throughout the year. We have the potential to be a good team, but only hard work and unselfishness will allow us to achieve our potential. We will not be the favorite to win the conference title or state title, but that is something that we will embrace. Although the underdog role is unfamiliar to many of us associated with our program, we are very excited for this seaon to begin and to become a team that other teams don't want to wrestle in the post-season.
As we look ahead to the challenges of this season, it is important to realize the commitment our athletes have to our school and our program. Many of our wrestlers are multi-sport athletes. We had wrestlers on football, cross-country, track, and baseball teams. We had many wrestlers in the weight room and the wrestling room over the past eight months. Our wrestlers competed in numerous local tournaments, as will as the state Freestyle and state Greco-Roman tournaments. In addition, many of our athletes are involved in numerous other school activities, summer and after school jobs, and continue to do well in their most important activity-school. Our wrestlers live the motto “There Is No Easy Way!”
Our schedule this year has changed a great deal. We open at the Lazer Duals in Kettle Moraine. We then have a non-conference home dual with Rhinelander. We travel to Bayport for the Battle on the Bay, which is a 16-team scramble. The tournament includes Luxemburg-Casco, Oconto Falls, Franklin, Pewaukee and Mukwanago. We then travle to Stevens Point to open our WVC duals season. The Rapids Duals are next and we welcome a new team in Freedom. We will the host Wausau East for Parents Night. We will be taking a two week break before returning to host Marshfield. We will then return to the Cheesehead for our toughest test of the season. We then dual Wausau West before traveling to Lake Geneva for the Badger Scramble. We will travel to Merrill before taking a weekend off to recover from the toughest stretch of our schedule. We travel to Sheboygan for the Sheboygan South Duals and then wrap up our regular season with a home dual against DC Everest. Then it is on to the post-season, which will hopefully end in Madison the first weekend of March.
The Mat Backers elected officers for the year, Joe Porter are once again the President. We thank Joe and Kay for all their hard work and dedication. If you are interested in helping or becoming involved in concessions, you may contact them. Also, if you are interested in becoming more involved with the Matbackers, contact on of our officers. Leslie Benitz is the Vice-President and Joyce Benitz was once again elected the Secretary/Treasurer. We also thank Leslie and Joyce for all of their time and effort to keep our program moving forward.
The annual Mat Backers get together will be held at Danny K’s on November 15th at 7:00 pm. We would like to thank you for your support and encourage you to attend this event, as well as our wrestling events. The Mat Backers are what make our program unique. The money generated by the Mat Backers pays for hotel rooms, transportation, mats, unpaid coaches, and the many expenses that make Rapids Wrestling special.
We would like to thank the following people in advance for our excellent media coverage: Terry Stake with WFHR, Mark Massoglia with the Daily Tribune, Bob Coley and his website, and Scott Tesch with River Cities Community Access.
Any parents interested in being a sponsor in our wrestling program should contact Lewie or Joyce Benitz at 423-9226.
Our grade school wrestling program will begin on November 26th. The Rapids District Tournament will be held on January14th. Shane Benitz and Lewie Benitz will oversee the grade school program. If you or anyone you know is interested in working with our youth program, please contact Shane at 715-977-2574 or Lewie at 715-213-5510. Kevin Peterson and others will coach the Rapids Wrestling Club, which will begin on January 21st.
November 12th Practice Begins
November 13th Parent Meeting
November 15th Mat Backer Get Together
December 15th Mat Backer Get Together
January 14th Rapids District Tournament
January 21st Rapids Youth Club
February 7th Rapids JV Tournament
February 9th Wisconsin Valley Tournament - Wisconsin Rapids