Wrestlers hoping for big year

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Devin Jackson and Middleton's wrestlers are hoping for a big season./File photo

Every day before wrestling begins, Middleton coach Kent Weiler and his Cardinals read a few pages from the book titled, “Chop Wood , Carry Water.”

The story is about a boy’s quest to become a samurai warrior, and how the pursuit of becoming great is a process that takes time.

In many ways, that’s how Weiler views his Cardinals this season.

Middleton may have one of its most talented teams in several years. But for the Cardinals to eventually achieve greatness, Weiler knows they must chop wood and carry water every time they hit the mat.

“We’re just trying to do the basic things every day that you must do to eventually be great,” Weiler said. “There are no shortcuts. And if we do what we’re supposed to do and put in the work, we should be pretty good.”

Weiler thought the same thing a year ago. But injuries and inconsistencies led to a third place showing at the Big Eight Conference meet, a seventh place finish at sectionals, and a year Weiler admits wasn’t a lot of fun.

“Last year, we didn’t have a whole lot of fun,” Wieler said. “And I’m very aware of that fact and that  didn’t always make it better for those guys.

“This year, we’re going to try to have fun. We’re changing the thought process of the team.”

Middleton has several pieces that should allow it to have a lot of fun this winter.

Junior Kevin Meicher returns as one of the top wrestlers in the state.

Meicher won a WIAA Division 1 state title at 126 pounds in 2016, then finished second at state at 138 pounds a year ago. Meicher has opened the year wresting at 152, but could go down to 145 as the season progresses.

“He’s a gamer. He rises to the challenge,” Weiler said of Meicher. “When the lights go on, he’s ready to go. We’re hoping for another big year from Kevin.”

Junior Gavin Adler was off to a sensational start a year ago before fracturing his hip. Adler is wrestling at 220 now, but might drop down a weight class and could certainly challenge for a trip to individual state himself.

Junior Joe Hoffman reached the sectionals at 126 last year, but could wrestle as high as 145 this year.

Junior Ortez Lockett also reached the sectionals last season at 195. Lockett has been wrestling at 220 to begin the year, but might go back down to 195 where he was last season.

And senior Dion Huff reached the sectionals last year at 170, but figures to bump up to 182.

“Huff, Adler, Lockett and Hoffman — all of those guys have a chance to reach state,” Weiler said. “They’re all really talented.”

Senior Jacob Helmuth (138), junior Devin Jackson (160), junior Remington Lockwood (170) and junior Elliot Zanon (182) are all solid wrestlers in the middle weight classes.

Freshman Les Neisius (106), sophomore Karim Said (113), sophomore Calvin Srem (120) and junior Joe Schulze (126) will all anchor the lighter weight classes.

“When we get everybody in the spots they belong, we should be pretty good,” Weiler said. “We have more competition in the room than we’ve had in some past years, and we have a nice team atmosphere.”

Middleton has not been to the state team tournament under Weiler, something it would love to change this season. And the Cardinals — who lost an early-season Big Eight Conference dual to Janesville Craig — are now focusing their energy on the league’s postseason tournament.

If Middleton chops wood and carries water, though, it has a chance to make all of its dreams a reality.

“This year, of any year, we’re really competitive,” Weiler said. “We’re all expecting some pretty big things. Now we have to go do it.”

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