Attention WWCA Members!
If you did not receive an email with the voting link for State Coach of the Year, Assistant Coach of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year and Female Athlete of the Year, please
contact Wendall Bean at email@example.com.
Please note, only WWCA members may cast a vote for the aforementioned recognitions.
To NOMINATE an individual click: https://bit.ly/3tUXajU
Nominations are due by Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Below are the current list of nominations:
MUST BE A MEMBER TO VOTE and TO RECEIVE AN AWARD!
PLEASE BE SURE TO HAVE YOUR CORRECT WIAA DISTRICT NUMBER BEFORE PROCEEDING!
WIAA Districts and current WWCA membership list are indicated below
Recipients of each District COY and ACOY award will be placed on a ballot for Wisconsin COY and ACOY during the final voting phase of the WWCA Awards/Elections process.
District 1 COY
Jeff Newton -Baldwin-Woodville
BW put together a great team and competed in a great region. They beat the State Champs in our conference dual meet and sent a number kids to state that places high. Jeff has put together a solid HS program that competes year in and year out.
Joe Raygor - St. Croix Falls
Last year St. Croix graduated 6 very good seniors. Joe took a team that had 6 wrestlers that had never wrestled a varsity match when the season began to beating the 4th ranked team in the state in the sectional finals. SCF qualified for the state tournament for the third time. They won conference, regionals and sectionals. Sent 8 to the individual state tournament and they brought home 3 medals including the schools first 4 time state champion. This team did it the right way and where champions on and off the mat. Joe emphasizes the importance of character in wrestling, and these wrestlers exemplified that. He works tirelessly all year around in weight room and helps with coaching all of the kids in the program in grades k-12. He truly deserves this award.
Michael Kelly - Amery
Coach Kelly and Amery were able to dominate the state again this year. Coach Kelly’s Amery team had one of the toughest schedules that a team in the area has ever had. Having this schedule, the warriors were able to outscore the Div. 3 state runner-up Coleman by 64 points at the Papermaker open. At the Cheese Head Amery was able to outscore Div. 3 champ Fennimore by 164 points. Also out scoring Arrowhead, Wisconsin Rapids and Stoughton. At the St. Croix Fall invite Amery was able to beat Minnesota 3A State Runner-up Stillwater by 24 points and state qualifying St. Croix Falls by 98 points. Amery also had 9 State qualifiers as they dominated a tough sectional by 62 points and 7 state placers for the second year in a row. Coach Kelly’s Warriors also for the second year in a row scored the most team points overall for all divisions at the individual State tournament. Then The Warriors went on to Win the team State Title for the second year in a row. Coach Kelly also had 4 wrestlers in the finals of the state tournament with two becoming state champions. Coach Kelly built a team that was the State’s best.
District 2 COY
Cody Nielsen - Oconto Falls
In his 4th year as a coach and 2nd as a Head Coach Cody has led his team to finish 2nd in the NEC Conference Standings. This is the highest finish in school history. His team was also able to capture their 3rd consecutive Regional title and advance to the Sectional Finals for the first time since 2016. He coached Oconto Falls' first 4x State Champion and just the 22nd ever in the state of Wisconsin. He will also have 2 wrestlers continuing their wrestling careers next year in college.
Kevin Casper - Coleman
Team State-Runner Up and 8 individual state qualifiers.
Coached his team to a second place finish in the WIAA Division 3 Team State this year .
Scott Benitz - Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
Head Coach for Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln, and he led a team that was ranked in the top 3 all year and spent a great deal of time ranked as the number 1 team in the state. Had wins over Marshfield and other highly touted teams across the state. Loss at regionals came to the eventual runner up in Holmen and the loss only came by about 10-15 points.
Ranked #1 in the state for a month during the season went 17-1 in duals. Coming off of a year that we went 7-3 and 4th in the conference.
Dominic Gunderson - Shiocton
Dominic has taken over a program at Shiocton and in a few short years has turned it into a very competitive school. They had 6 individual state qualifiers this year and made it to team sectionals. I think Dominic has done a great job in Shiocton.
District 3 COY
Jason Lulloff - Holmen High School
This year, Coach Lulloff led the Vikings to their 7th straight Conference Championship, 7th straight Regional Title, and 6th straight Team State appearance. Holmen finished the year with 7 Individual State Qualifiers, 4 Individual State Medals (School Record), and were the Division 1 Team State Runner-Ups. Jason works hard to ensure the numbers stay high at Holmen High School, with the team finishing this season with over 60 combined male and female athletes. In addition to the success of his program, he works tirelessly to improve and grow the sport of wrestling in Wisconsin. He serves as the tournament director of the Bi-State Classic, which hosted over 70 teams this year, making it one of the biggest high school wrestling tournaments in the nation. In addition, a women’s division has been added the past couple of years at this tournament. He worked very closely with THE CLASH National Duals, and their move to the La Crosse Center, as well as being instrumental in the 1st ever Women’s Wrestling Individual State Tournament in Wisconsin. He continues to move the sport of wrestling forward in so many different ways.
There is not a single person who does more for wrestling in our state than Jason Lulloff. He works tirelessly to promote wrestling and hosted THREE incredible tournaments this year in La Crosse alone-Bi-State, The Clash and the first ever Girls Individual State wrestling tournament-all at the La Crosse Center. He has also been on the rules commission and just took over as President of the WWCA. With Jason in charge of the WWCA, I am confident that we're going to see some needed and positive changes for wrestling in Wisconsin in the near future. On top of all that he does for the sport, he somehow finds time to put together a great HS team at Holmen. His team once again qualified for the Team State tournament, earning a 2nd place finish for the 2nd time in his tenure at Holmen HS. He also had 7 individual state qualifiers this year to go with a program best 4 state place winners. In my mind this should be an easy pick when deciding on district coach of the year.
Ernest Peterson - Whitehall
Coach Peterson is in his 19th season and 20th year as Head Coach at Whitehall. Ernest has managed to maintain a competitive, full division three team through all the headwinds that lay in front of a resource poor small school wrestling program. During this past season Coach Peterson reached the 100 dual wins plateau as well as winning a third conference championship in a row which is a first in program history.
For the second time in four years and the third time in school history, Whitehall has won their WIAA team regional and consistently fields a competitive team. Highlights of note in this season were having a 100 win wrestler who also placed in the WIAA Individual State Tournament for the second time in two years. Most importantly for wrestling as a whole, under Ernest's leadership, participation numbers at Whitehall continue to be high, K-12 for a school of our size. This helps in the long term for the sport of wrestling; creating Wisconsin's next generation of fans, coaches, and wrestling parents.
District 4 COY
Boone Roycraft and Tyler Lee - Winneconne
These co-coaches led Winneconne to their first ever state team tournament.
Jeff Matczak - Kaukauna
Jeff led Kaukauna to the D1 State Team Championship for the 6th time in 9 years. This is after losing 8 senior starters from last years team, 6 of which were state medalists. This year Jeff also went over 500 career dual meet wins. His career record now sits at 507-39-3 for a career winning percentage that is over 92%. Under Jeff's direction this year's team qualified for the WIAA Team State Tournament for the 10th straight year (and state record 20th time overall), won the WIAA Regional Title for the 18th consecutive season, and won the Fox Valley Association Conference Championship for the 17th consecutive season and 23 of the past 24 seasons. Coach Matczak continues to live his life around ensuring the young men and women involved in Kaukauna Wrestling are better people for being part of the program.
Jerry Englebert - Southern Door High School
Jerry Englebert has been involved in the Southern Door K-12 wrestling program in one capacity or another for well over 35 years. After taking over the head coaching position12 years ago, Coach Englebert has put his stamp on a winning tradition not only on the mat, but in the classroom and community as well. He has devoted countless hours of behind the scenes support making sure his future, present, and past athletes have had their needs met whether it be tutoring for grade support, emotional support, or even a job to help out financially struggling families. Coach Englebert has demonstrated not only a love for the sport, but a love to develop young boys into mature community members. It stands to reason why so many of his former wrestlers continue to come back to Southern Door to mentor and help coach current wrestlers. One has to lead by example, and Coach Englebert does exactly that. His knowledge of the wrestling skillset is only second to his devotion to make wrestlers into outstanding young individuals. His outlook is not about how many sectional or state qualifiers did I have this year. His outlook is all about improving the quality of the overall athlete for the betterment of the community.
Nathan Krueger - New London
Doing a great job building numbers in his program and raising the quality of his team.
Ben Engelland - Kimberly High School
Coach Ben Engelland has done an exceptional job building and leading a strong wrestling program at Kimberly High School. The Kimberly program is helping foster strong wrestlers, in addition to high character young men and women who excel in the classroom and are well prepared for life. Eight years ago, Ben took over a program that started the season with under 20 wrestlers and often could not fill an entire line up. The number of wrestlers has continued to grow every year under his direction, even though a pandemic. This year the Kimberly Wrestling team finished the year with an astonishing 55 wrestlers and a full line up a few times over. This growth is the direct result of Ben’s dedication, passion for wrestling, leadership and providing a positive environment for ALL wrestlers.
Positive relationships are at the core of Ben’s coaching ability. Through these relationships he gets the most out of his student-athletes on the mat and in the classroom. Relationships have also helped him to build a strong program from youth to high school. He has formed a strong staff consisting of: multiple former head coaches, seven former college wrestlers, Kimberly Alumni and a National Hall of Fame coach at the middle school. Ben also takes time to help promote and grow the sport of wrestling through hosting community wrestling camps and promoting officiating to our wrestlers after graduation, which has resulted in multiple officials in the WIAA.
Success on the mat has also come with Coach Engelland, often a result of the aforementioned hard work. He has taken one of the bottom half teams in a very tough FVA to consistent top 3 finisher and is pushing for a conference title in his time at the helm of the program. This year the team finished with an 11-3 dual record and yet another top 3 finish in conference. At the state level he has coached three of the best state tournament finishes in school history. Ben has also earned the respect of his peers where he earned FVA Coach of the Year. This is the second time in the last three years, in a conference with many outstanding coaches. Ben Engelland is well qualified and very deserving of the District 4 Coach of the Year Award.
Don Verbeten - Reedsville
Don has brought the struggling Reedsville wrestling program to be one of the best in Division 3, District 4. He is involved in the youth and middle school wrestling programs, as well as Head Coach for the High School boys and girls programs.
Don has brought the team to Multiple Championships in many team and individual tournaments, Conference, Regional and Individual State Tournaments.
This year 7 qualified for Individual State and has had several place winners and/or champions every year since he started coaching in Reedsville15 years ago.
Don also has brought several College All American wrestlers to Reedsville for instruction at summer camps.
Nick Miller - Brillion
Nick has led Brillion to 4 consecutive conference championships, Top 5 ranking in D2, 5 State qualifiers including 2 freshman and one is State Runner-up Logan Mueller. Brillion has quickly become one of the best teams in the state and our area in any division.
Matt Cuadra - Oshkosh West
In his first year at the helm of Oshkosh West, coach Cuadra guided the Wildcats to heights that had not been achieved in over a decade. The success came early and often as West retained the coveted Andrew Wallace Cup for an unprecedented fifth year with a shellacking of crosstown rival Oshkosh North, 59-24.
The Wildcats would then place in the top 10 at the prestigious Battle on the Bay tournament and shortly thereafter, would capture a 4th place finish at the Northern Exposure, finishing only behind then #2 Wisconsin Rapids, #3 Shakopee (MN) and Beaver Dam.
As the varsity was starting to hit their stride, the West JV's ran away with the 27 team Elkhorn JV invitational title in dominating fashion.
Less than a month later, the varsity reserves claimed the team title at the 51st Annual Peshtigo Varsity invitational. The Varsity would then claim the WIAA D1 Regional title at West Bend West in convincing fashion with a margin of victory at nearly 50 points. The Regional championship was only the 4th in school history and first in 8 years. The Wildcats then squared off with WIAA perennial powerhouse Arrowhead in the Team Sectional and were narrowly defeated in a dual that was much closer than the score indicated.
West would later send 12 wrestlers to Sectionals and 3 to the WIAA Individual State tournament with one becoming a state place winner.
In duals, Oshkosh West finished 4th in the excruciatingly tough FVA with a dual record of 6-3 and an overall dual record of 13-9 with 5 of the dual losses coming from either ranked teams, team state finalists and the Team State champions, Kaukauna.
In addition to the boys' success, West had one girl wrestle at the WIAA State girls tournament and went 2-2, just missing out on making the podium.
It should also be noted that Oshkosh West was comprised of a disproportionate amount of first year wrestlers or who had very limited wrestling experience, which is and has been one of the many challenges of coaching at a high school with a small wrestling pedigree.
The West team excelled in the classroom as well with a team GPA of 3.2.
Coach Cuadra is most deserving of the District 4 award not only for the accomplishments on and off of the mat but for the development of the young athletes that wrestle for him.
District 5 COY
Dan Spilde/ Bob Empey - Stoughton
As Co Head Coaches both went over 400 dual wins and took a team that was essentially unranked to the Team State Tournament for a ninth straight year. Coach Spilde and Coach Empey helped Stoughton qualify 6 individuals for the State Tournament and finished with a 3rd place finisher, a State Runner Up and the program's state leading 55th Individual State Champion. In the team sectional final the team fell behind 24-0 early in the dual before storming back to win the last five matches and win the dual. The seven losses the team suffered this year going into the team state tournament were more than the other 7 Division 1 teams combined. After beating Nicolet in the quarterfinals the team narrowly lost to eventual State Champion Kaukauna in the semifinals.
Kent Weiler - Evansville
Team - Conference Champs, Regional Champs, Sectional Finalist. 3 state qualifiers, 1 -5th place, 2 state champions.
Chad Steldt - Fennimore
Chad Steldt has been the number one reason Fennimore Wrestling has become so successful. As soon as he came to Fennimore in 2014 the program found new historical (school) success. Ever since then the program has continued to grow and further succeed because of his leadership and dedication to the sport of wrestling.
The sport of wrestling is a lifestyle for Chad and his family. They commit their springs, summers, and falls to the sport so that the winter season ends the first week in March and not February. The time he puts in is unmatched. This commitment and his knowledge of advanced technique has produced several achievements: 3 Team Titles, the most recent in 2022, 3 State Runner-ups, over 25 state place winners, Fargo All-Americans, and eight wrestlers have went on to wrestling in college under his tutelage. This is not to mention how he has affected all these kids and community by the success of the program. It is because of Wrestling the community of Fennimore has became more united with pride, especially this past year with winning the Team Title and sending 9 wrestlers to Individual State.
Beyond his leadership is a man that is rooted in a growth mindset with very high expectations of himself and the others around him. He is always working with other leaders in the wrestling world to improve the sport as a whole.
District 6 COY
Jon Wierzbicki - Mukwonago
Coach Wierz consistently produces high caliber teams and his retention is leaps and bounds above average. He is the conduit to the success of the program!
Jade Gribble - Burlington
Tyler Heck - Big Foot High School
BF finished dual season 13-10. First time above .500 in 20 years. We had one conference champ and two runners-up. We had 4 Regional Champs and finished 1.5 points out of second at Regionals. He has turned around a struggling program.
John Schimming - Whitewater
Coach Schimming continues to produce quality teams that are consistently competitive. This year his team captured a WIAA Regional Championship and were crowned champions at Monroe and Mount Horeb Invitationals. While many teams struggle with numbers, the Whitewater program continues to see success with a high number of participants year in and year out. Coach Schimming is deeply invested in the success of Whitewater wrestling program as he works closely with his middle school coaches and is actively involved in the community’s youth program as a director and coach.
District 7 COY
Gus Kaufmann - Nicolet
Gus has coached Nicolet HS wrestling for 20 years. He has continued to drive home not only being good wrestlers, but great students in our community. This year has shown dividends to the hard work and consistent messages. The first time in school history, Nicolet qualified for the Team State Tournament, unfortunately losing to Stoughton in the first round. Gus coached 10 wrestlers to the individual state tournament with one placing 2nd and 2 others losing in the blood round. His commitment to Nicole Wrestling is 2nd to none. Gus not only coaches our wrestlers on the mat, but pushes the team in the classroom, which show as with the Team GPA at 3.2. Nicolet has struggled with numbers and Gus has worked closely with the youth program and middle school program to continue to bring good kids into the program. Nicolet Wrestling has grown and continues to follow it's 3 Pillars of success: Believe In Yourself, No Quit and Help Others.
Craig Austin - Whitnall/Greendale
Craig has been a fantastic coaching asset for this sport for over 25 years and is stepping down from Whitnall/Greendale wrestling after 19 years to work on his son's career. He has been a great district rep and devoted 8 years on the WWCA Board.
This year Whitnall has won their 4th consecutive Woodland East crown and produced 2 state qualifiers from a team with 8 first year varsity wrestlers. Winning more than 350 duals in his tenure, he is deserving of this award.
Anthony Romano - Martin Luther High school
Tony has built a team of hard working wrestlers. As the leader of Martin Luther's wrestling program, his focus is not the number one wrestler, but the hardest working athlete, both on and off the mat. The work he put into this program brought the Spartans from underdog and underestimated, to the highest competition in the state. With the girls program, his leadership turned out two state placers. And with the boys program, made heads turn with; conference, and sectional titles for the team. Not to mention bringing one of the boys to compete in state. The drive Tony has in building these young athletes is just starting to pay some huge dividends with such a young team. The future is bright for Martin Luther wrestling due solely to Anthony Romano and his coaching!
District 8 COY
Shane Kennelly - Bryant Stratton College
Started the only active NJCAA program in Wisconsin. 5 national qualifiers, 1 All American. 4-2 Dual meet record. Team rank #19 in the nation
Kevin Koch - Concordia University Wisconsin
CUW had another successful year under 5th-year Head Coach Kevin Koch, with it’s highest place finish in Conference, taking 5th in the tough CCIW Conference Championships. The Falcons also finished 7-6 in duals for it’s third straight winning season.
District 1 ACOY
Mike Nilssen and RJ Dilcher - St. Croix Central
Both of these coaches were instrumental in pushing our athletes to the successes they achieved this year. Mike has been apart of the SCC program for awhile and is steadfast in his dedication to our athletes. RJ gave up a head coaching job on the other side of the state to come to SCC. Their dedication allowed a very young team a fighting chance while competing the Middle Border Conference and also at many tough tournament. We sent seven wrestlers to sectionals and placed a mythical 3rd behind Baldwin-Woodville and Amery in the team scores and sent four to state tournament.
Dan Clark - St. Croix Falls
Everyone in District 1 knows Coach Clark has been actively involved in SCF wrestling for as long as we all can remember. Serving roles as former athlete, former head coach, active in the wrestling club, instrumental in hosting youth and high school tournaments, and for the past several years - an assistant coach. Programs with consistency are generally near the top and SCF has consistency, largely due to Coach Clark. This season's over-achieving team is a testament to that.
District 2 ACOY
Cullan Morrissey - Oconto Falls
Cullan has been a great addition to the Oconto Falls wrestling coaching staff. He continually sacrifices time to help each athlete with their individual needs. He is always willing to come in early or stay late to help a kid find success. Since joining the coaching staff Oconto Falls has won 2 consecutive Regional Titles, 1 Sectional Runner-up finish, 5 State Qualifiers, 4 State Place-winners, and 2 State Champions.
Jimmy Peters and Austin Riehl - Shiocton
Both individuals played a huge part in Shiocton winning back to back conference titles, going 21-5 in duals, qualifying for team sectionals, and qualifying a school record 6 individuals to the state tournament. They are always putting extra work in during the season and in the off-season to help individuals reach their goals.
Tim Spray - Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
Longtime assistant coach for Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln and is a great coach that the athletes look up to and is a big reason for the success of the team.
Steve Blaskowski - Marshfield
Steve has been an assistant coach with Marshfield for the last 20 years. He served as our youth club president for several years. Steve was an important part of the rebuilding and updating of our new wrestling room. He has been an integral part of Marshfield qualifying for the team state tournament 4 out of the last 5 seasons.
District 3 ACOY
Frank Juresh - Whitehall
Frank Juresh has been a pillar in our wrestling program for 8 years now. He has taken on many roles from coaching our youth levels wrestlers all the way up to the high school levels. He is constantly engaged with our wrestling community both on and off the mat, actively promoting wrestling as a sport and our program here in Whitehall. He has taken our social media site with respect to wrestling to a whole new level and consistently has encouraged kids to try our great sport and promotes participation. If he's not taking a wrestler to a tournament, he sending a text to our coaches, or messages to our parents to keep the program on the right track. He is exactly what a head coach would want out of an assistant coach: trustworthy, loyal, understanding and patient. I feel that the vested time and effort he has put forth this past year, all as a volunteer, has put him at a level deserving of this award.
Jared Bagniewski - Holmen
Jared has been an integral part of the Holmen wrestling program throughout his tenure. He is always willing to work with any level of athlete and is well respected by parents and the community of Homen. Without his dedication and commitment, the Holmen wrestling program would not have been a WIAA Division 1 Team Finalist.
District 4 ACOY
Mark Hansen - Bayport
Mark is a fantastic coach. He is able to motivate, inspire and instill values into all of his wrestlers. Mark has done a great job at Bayport since he has been there. This season he coached their one state qualifier all the way to a championship. Mark has also worked with numerous heavyweight wrestlers. Just two years ago he was invested in Max Muesen who became a two time state champion in Division 1. None of this would have been possible without Mark. He is a fantastic coach and should be recognized for all of the great work he has done in the Bayport program.
Trevor Potratz - Weyauwega-Fremont
He helps coach youth, MS, and he is the high school assistant coach. He also runs his own club (Wrestling Factory) that is doing great things in our area of the state (about 40 kids involved). Great technique and he has the gift of getting kids to have fun while working them hard.
Dan Laurent - Kimberly High School
Coach Laurent has been instrumental in helping develop Kimberly High School wrestling over the last 8 years and was a key asset in helping grow the youth and intermediate levels prior to that. Kimberly has seen it’s number of athletes jump from around 20 wrestlers on the High School team, to 55+ since he has been on the staff.
Coach Laurent’s desire to help ALL wrestlers is truly admirable. This year Kimberly started out with 62 wrestlers and due to space limitations in our room, we put some mats out in the hall for our most inexperienced wrestlers. Dan worked tirelessly with these wrestlers who were new, or who hadn't wrestled the previous season to help get them up to speed. His interest in all the members of our team, and not just the top athletes is special. Even to the point of driving a group of our first year wrestlers down to the State Tournament to experience the March of Champions.
He has pushed for more freestyle/greco wrestling from our athletes and ran a Greco/Freestyle tournament at Kimberly for many years that was attended by many teams in our district.
Coach Laurent has a unique way of connecting with kids, while also pushing them outside of their comfort zone. I have witnessed numerous occasions where his stern questions and encouragement, have created belief in wrestlers to strive for bigger goals. He is continually looking for new angles and examples to help motivate our athletes.
Coach Laurent has coached for over 30 years in Colorado and Wisconsin and Kimberly is lucky to have him on our staff. He has helped us become a consistent contender in the FVA and created an atmosphere on the team that students are proud to be part of. Coach Laurent is fully deserving of this award.
Kieth Verbeten - Reedsville
Big east conference champion, regional champion, team sectional finalist, 7 state qualifiers, 2 placers 6th and a 4 time placer and two time runner up.
Keith Frey and Adam Stuiber - Oshkosh West High School
These two assistant coaches stood by the side of new head coach Matt Cuadra when I took over this past year. With there help the Oshkosh West Wildcats were able to go 13-9 overall and 6-3 in the FVA((Of the 9 losses 5 teams were Team State, one team state champ). Without the help of two experienced coaches, I wouldn't have been able to get everything done when needed to. They were always there for me if it was helping out at practice, going to tournaments or anything else. I couldn't have made this year work without them.
District 5 ACOY
Jason Becker - Stoughton
Coach Jason Becker has been instrumental person on our coaching staff in the development, recruitment, and character development of our team now (Team State Semi-finalists) and in the past Team State finals appearances. He embodies the ambassador of the sport in our halls of the high school to help get a total of 43 student/athletes to try the great sport of wrestling this past year under our restrictions that were in place here in Dane County. At times this season we competed with only 7 athletes at varsity events, but with his support we stayed true to our plan of preparation and development of our student/athletes to compete at the varsity level at the state tournament trail time. In addition, his ability to connect with student/athletes to move forward and solve problems is second to none. We appreciate his dedication to our student/athletes, team, and Stoughton Wrestling community.
Jeff Muench - Fennimore
Jeff Muench has been an integral part of Fennimore's success. His interpersonal skills have been essential in keeping kids focused on their short-term and long-term goals, both on and off the mat. His dedication to the kids and families in our community is second to none. He has been committed to the sport of wrestling for over 15 years, and we have been lucky enough to have him a part of our program year round for the past five seasons.
Jeff has helped the overall program by taking kids to FRECO tournaments, summer camps out of state, running the weekly weight lift program, and numerous team building events. More importantly, he has taking several kids from troubled backgrounds under his wing, and showed them the finer things that come with being a part of a good program. He has set-up spring turkey hunts, fall bowhunting, and summer job opportunities. His wife and him have provided meals and rides so kids could stay out, and stay healthy. These are the particulars that Jeff does out of his care for the individual that helps make the Fennimore program so special.
True to his leadership, he stepped-in during the 2020-2021 season while our long-term head coach had to step away. The program continued to succeed, and he continued to grow the team.
He goes way above and beyond the normal assistant coach so that the team as a whole can succeed. His impact on this community and the wrestlers he has built a relationship with is immeasurable.
District 6 ACOY
Ken Giebel - North Fondy/Springs
Ken has been an incredibly passionate assistant coach for 20 years. About 10 years ago, Ken accepted a position as a custodian at our school. Our program took a giant step forward when Ken arrived in the school. He spends his days creating relationships with high school and middle school students in the hallways and cafeteria. Ken is always looking for ways to recruit wrestlers and improve our program. Unlike other programs, Ken and I are solely responsible for wrestling in our community.
Justin Lor - West Bend West
Justin Lor has had a huge impact on wrestling at West Bend West for the past four years as the head assistant coach. He goes above and beyond his job description to ensure the success of the program. He helps develop daily practice plans, creates strong relationships with the athletes and families, and is a positive ambassador for the sport. He helped coach a school high five state qualifiers, and four state placers (6th and 4th) and two state champions.
Johnny Gomez - Whitewater
Coach Gomez has been a part of the whippet program since 2007 when he volunteered as a middle school coach. Since 2008 he has been an important piece of the high school program as the head assistant as well as being a huge part of the youth program where he runs the Mighty Whippet program and the Novice Group where he has instilled great drills and games for students who love coming to practice.
Coach Gomez goes above and beyond the duties as an assistant coach. He is always looking for ways to help each individual student-athlete improve by finding technique that fits their style of wrestling and will put them in the best spot to be successful. Coach Gomez has incorporated many drills that we have implemented that I believe are outstanding and will help our teams progress in years to come. He also watches motivational videos to help inspire the student-athletes and help give them confidence throughout the season. When circumstances arise and I am unable to be at practice or taking care of head coaching duties Coach Gomez always does an outstanding job running practice. This season due to myself having to miss a week Coach Gomez did a great job with practices, two dual meets and a youth dual prior to a high school event with Oregon.
Although the Whitewater Wrestling Program is not in the team sections every year I believe Coach Gomez is very deserving of the Assistant Coach of the Year award. He is in coaching for the student-athletes at all levels and does a great job promoting the sport of wrestling in the Whitewater community in a positive way. On top of his coaching duties in Whitewater he is an outstanding member of the Whitewater Middle School Staff, always advocating for students and helping them be successful in the tough middle school years. He is extremely reliable and will do what is best for the program, wrestling and most importantly the students of Whitewater at all times 24/7, 12 months of the year.
Jason Neuberger - Beaver Dam/Wayland Academy
Jason has worked countless hours with our high school program to build positive and talented young wrestlers. Moreover, he has been instrumental in building and maintaining our youth program in Beaver Dam. He has built enthusiasm and excitement in the practice room with positive results on the mat. We would not have risen to the level that we did this year without the years of dedication and hard work from Coach Neuberger.
District 7 ACOY
Jacob Farness - Martin Luther High School
As a first year full assistant for the boys and taking on the lead role for the girls program Jacob was able find a lot of success. Jacob worked mainly with the girls and upper weights in the wrestling room. He finished the season with 2 of 6 girls brought to state placing (145-6th and 220-3rd). We also had a lot of success with our 182lb and above weight classes. Our 182 and 220 both qualified for sectionals and our 220 moved onto the state tournament. He has played a huge role in recruiting and retention of our girls program and is going to continue to have a big impact in Girls wrestling moving forward.
Jeremie Ott and Rick Lagerman - Nicolet High School
Over the last 12 years both Jeremie and Rick have had a tremendous impact on the Glendale wrestling community. They have helped continue to build and elevate the high school team through their work in the jr. knights, the middle school team and the high school team. They have been a huge part of Nicolet success this year with 10 state qualifiers and the schools first ever team state berth.
Bryce Karben - Cedarburg
Came in as a new coach and really made an impact on the kids, Also got involved helping with the youth program. At the end of the year the head coach was dismissed just before Regionals and Bryce took over during the most important part of the season coaching Regionals and Sectionals,. He provided stability and support for the kids during a difficult time for the program.
Tom Goetz - Martin Luther High school
Huge support from this man both on the mat and behind the scenes.
Mark Strakbein – Waukesha West
Has helped lead the resurgence of the West wrestling program. Has pushed many big picture policies from experiences he has had leading other state organizations in both Colorado and Tennessee. Always puts the sport of wrestling first over ego/doing things that might not be ethical. The West program has higher numbers and overall success since Mark has walked in the door. Mark is one of those guys who makes you a better person by being in his presence.
District 8 ACOY
Alex Montbriand - Concordia University Wisconsin
Alex has been a consistent leader, mentor, and outstanding coach for Concordia University. He is instrumental in the success of the program, and gives great support to Head Coach Kevin Koch and the entire program.
Wrestler (Male) of the Year
Carson Kasper - Coleman
Won his second state title this year.
Clayton Whiting - Oconto Falls
Clayton Whiting has accomplished just about everything you can in the sport during his 4 years. He holds a 163-5 career record. He has won 4 State titles, each with a bonus point finish in the finals. (Major, Tech, Pin, Major). He is currently the heaviest 4x State Champion in Wisconsin History. He is currently ranked #1 in the country at 182 lbs according to FloWrestling. He was selected to represent Team USA during the Pittsburgh Classic. He has been a 4x 1st Team All-Conference Selection and 2x Conference Wrestler of the Year. He has accomplished all of this while maintaining a 3.88 GPA. This has allowed him to continue his academic and wrestling career next year at the University of Missouri.
Clayton's work ethic and achievements speak for themselves. This year at a tournament I watched Clayton wrestle with another coach that had previous wrestled in college during the day. He not only wrestled in the tournament but wanted to get better by practicing around his competitions.
Tanner Gerber - Cameron
Four Time State Champion
Overall High School Record 162-4
4.0 GPA, Ranked #1 in class
Attending North Dakota State University to wrestle
Gavin Drexler - Stratford
3 time state champ, great academics. All around amazing kid, on his way to wrestle in Div 1 at NDSU this season. One of the most respected wrestlers in the state
Kole Marko - St. Croix Falls
Being a 4-timer is hard enough, but add to that being a brother of a four-timer and the pressure would be unreal. Kole handled this with grace and is a great example of a outstanding young man.
Kole Marko finished his career off at 142-4 and a four time state champion. Kole did not suffer defeat after his sophomore campaign. Kole captured state titles at 138, 145, 152 and 160 lbs. In his last title quest, Marko won his final title in impressive fashion, knocking off former state champion and Cal Poly commit Cash Stewart of Poynette 5-4 in the final. During Kole's wrestling career he's overcome tremendous loss. In middle school his father passed away and in high school he had two teammates tragically passed away after a car accident. For Kole to never give up and keep pushing forward is an inspiration to all and very deserving of this award. Kole will be taking his talents across the border to Division II Minnesota State University next season.
Nicolar Rivera - Stoughton
Nicolar finished his career as a 3-Time State Champion and a four time State Finalist with a career record 176-2. This past year, he finished with 55-0 record with a defeat of the #1 ranked wrestler in the country in the finals of the Cheesehead Invitational. As a multiple time Fargo National Champion is success has been not only locally, but nationally. He has committed to compete for Coaches Bono, Reader, and Gross and Badgers this fall.
Mitchell Mesenbrink - Arrowhead
Mitchell is a four time state place winner and three time state champion in Division 1. Mitchell has been undefeated in his Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years. Academically, he has a 3.922 cumulative GPA.
Braeden Ott - Nicolet High School
Braeden has played a huge roll in leading the Nicolet H.S. team over the last 4 years. He is a 4 time qualifier and a two time place winner (3rd in 2021 and 2nd in 2022). The heights the team has risen too in his four years are unprecedented. He is humble, he is an extremely hard worker, and he inspires those around him to be better. Under his leadership the Nicolet H.S. team made it to individual state with 10 qualifiers this year and made it to team state for the first time in school history.
Caleb Meunier - Winneconne High School
Caleb Meunier had an amazing high school career for Winneconne. He finished with a career record of 167-6. Caleb was a four time conference champion, a four time regional champion, 3 time sectional champion, a four time state finalist, winning 3 individual state championships. He wrapped up his senior season with a perfect 53-0 record. Caleb has been a big part of Winneconne's culture shift; he's been a positive leader since stepping into our room as a freshman and those skills have grown every year since. Under his leadership this group has claimed 4 conference team titles and 2 trips to team state.
Vito Massa - River Falls
Winning a varsity match at every weight, winning the 285 lb state tournament, beating last years state champ
All weight classes wrestled
Preston Spray - Wisconsin Rapids Lincoln
51-2 State Champion 113 pounds D1. Went through a state bracket that had 2 State Champions and a Runner-up. Beating the #1 ranked kid who was also ranked #8 in the country via matscouts. 3rd at the Cheesehead. Not including ff wins Preston had 35 bonus point wins.
State Champion with a 51-2 record one loss came to 2x Illinois state champion at the Cheese head tournament and other loss came to Ben Bast the state champion from a year ago. Preston was only a qualifier last year and I believe that the jump that he made from being only a qualifier to becoming a State Champion in one year, having to out place two state champions from the year before and a runner up from the year before making his weight class one of the toughest there has been shows why he is deserving of the WOY Award.
Cole Ebert - Reedsville
Cole was undefeated in conference duals. Would’ve been a 3 time conference champ but was injured his junior year. He was a 4 time regional champion, 2 time sectional champion, 4 time state place winner at 220# and a 2 time state finalist. He had 140 wins and holds the Reedsville pin record.
LaShawn Wessley-Carter - Martin Luther High school
This wrestler was a fantastic captain and leader for his team. He lead by words of encouragement and by example. Qualifying for state and bringing a dozen teammates with, just to show them a glimpse of what they could achieve in the years to come.
Wrestler (Female) of the Year
Marisa Roth - Brookfield Central
Marisa won the 138 pound state title this year, but also has two previous WWF state titles. On top of that she has represented team Wisconsin at national and international competitions. I think what highlights Marisa is that she was voted team captain for the past two years and our team does not split boys and girls. Her work ethic, positivity and care for the sport is second to none and unquestioned by her peers. Marisa has given back to the sport as well, she is a youth coach and an active official. Marisa's impact on Brookfield Central has been tremendous!
Marissa is a 3x State Champion and nationally ranked. In addition, she is a referee, scholar athlete, and team captain with the respect and admiration of her teammates and coaches. She represents her team, school, community, and the sport of wrestling on and off the mat at an exemplary level.
Kaylie Upson - Phillips
State Champion at 235 pounds
Dominant Performance. As a 235# class female wrestler, she has never been afraid of wrestling competition (male or female). She would attack each match with the same mindset. Also a beacon for all female wrestlers, any size, throughout the state.
Sofia Brynman-Metcalf - Jefferson
Sofia pinned her way through the WIAA Girls State Tournament this year and had a 10-0 record against girls. She is a multi-time WWF state champ, a WWCA state champ, and is currently the #14 127 pound female in the nation.
Despite some injuries, she has been undefeated against girls in Wisconsin through high school in both freestyle and folkstyle and has amassed a 48-24 varsity record.
Sofia was voted by her teammates this year as a capitan for her dedication to her team both on and off the mat..
Elena Rohleder - Martin Luther
Elena started her freshman and sophomore years as a manager of the team. Her brothers both had very successful careers but it took two seasons of sitting on the side to catch the bug. Unfortunately her first season wrestling was the 2020-2021 season which was shortened and did not allow her to wrestle many matches. Going into her senior year she spent countless hours working on recruiting other girls to join her for the first true girls wrestling season. She was able to get 11 girls to come out and participate in a sport that was brand new to almost all of them. She was an outstanding leader in the wrestling room and maintained an accumulative GPA of 4.0. She was also very successful on that mat. She finished her Senior year with a 14-6 record and finished 6th in state at 145. She played a huge role in our Freshman 235lb wrestler Nadia Lathan being as successful as she was.
Aevri Ciha - Cambridge
Aevri has had a fantastic wrestling career in Cambridge. Aevri has wrestled her entire career against male and female wrestlers. Over the course of her career she is a four year letter winner, 2 time team captain, and 2 time team MVP. Aevri has been consistently ranked in the top 3 female wrestlers each year she has wrestled. During the 2021-22 wrestling season, Aevri's record against female wrestlers was 20-2. She placed 3rd at 132 pounds in the first ever WIAA sanctioned Grils State Tournament. Fifteen of the her 20 wins were by fall. Aevri won the Waunakee girls tournament, Badger State tournament, and Challenge Series girls tournament. Aevri was named Most Outstanding female wrestler of the Badger State tournament. Aevri's career win/loss record against females wrestlers is 40-6.
Savannah Clark - Sparta
Before season Savannah was in a car accident where she suffered spinal injury and had surgery to fuse here. It was thought that she wouldn't be able to compete in any sports for a while. She battled back getting cleared to participate in wrestling and gymnastics siamotainously. An already lean girl, Savannah managed her weight down to 107, while practicing wrestling most day in obvious pain and then she would go to gymnastics for another practice. Savannah places 5th at Girls State Wrestling and then a few short weeks later she placed at State Gymnastics. She did this while carrying a 3.7 GPA. Great example of what you want in any wrestler.
Emilee Swanson - Kickapoo
I’m nominating Emilee Swanson for Female Wrestler of the Year. Emilee has wrestled all four years of high school. She is a talented athlete, student, and leader.
Emilee helped to build our girls wrestling program since the beginning and was a captain her senior year. She spent years recruiting other girls to join this incredible sport, and she never gave up on these efforts. I started out this year as a first year coach, and Emilee welcomed me with a smile on her face and a positive energy that resonated throughout the room. She also recruited four other female high school wrestlers (and five female middle school wrestlers) that she taught and led throughout the season. She listened to everyone on the team, and she advocated for them throughout the season (even when they wanted to quit). She was successful in the creation of a dedicated girls wrestling team, and represented our school and team with class and integrity at the first ever WIAA State Girls Wrestling tournament.
Emilee didn’t end the season with a winning record, but she never saw her losses as failures. She used each one as an opportunity to learn skills both on and off the mat.
Emilee is a leader and a friend to many more wrestlers than those on our team. Before each match, you’d find her talking to her upcoming opponents and other wrestlers she’d met along the way. And you better believe she would be smiling and making friends with them all. She was a shining example of sportsmanship. She led with integrity, humility, honesty, empathy, and kindness.
I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this title. Emilee has forever impacted the girls wrestling program at Kickapoo-LF-YI, and I’m happy to have been able to coach her.
District 5 Representative
Curtis Fiedler - Mineral Point
Incumbent Rep for District 5
Kent Weiler - Evansville
Former WIAA advisory board member, former WWF board member and national team coach, current WIAA official and USA wrestling official. Head coach at Evansville.
District 6 Representative
Ryan Gartner - Wilmot Union
Looking to improve wrestling overall in our district/state.
John Schimming - Whitewater
Coach Schimming filled in for a previous representative when they were taking on another role. Coach Schimming kept the district informed during the Covid year on what the season would look like and listened to recommendations. Coach Schimming hopes to continue to listen to district 6 coaches so they have a voice as well as hopes to continue to keep them informed regarding items coming through the WWCA and the WIAA.