Wrestling sees improvement


Courtesy of UWO athletics — Oshkosh’s Luc Valdez wins his 125-pound match on Nov. 3.

Nolan Swenson, Co-Sports Editor

UW Oshkosh wrestling started its season off with mixed results. The team competed against both UW-Whitewater and in the Pointer Open on Nov. 3 and Nov. 5 respectively, resulting in a team loss Thursday and strong individual wins Saturday.

The Titans lost 32-11 against the Warhawks on Nov. 3, despite the strong start with a win by  125-pound wrestler Luc Valdez, who won his match by a narrow lead of 5-4. After this initial loss, Whitewater took the next three wins, resulting in a score of 13-3. 

UWO halted their streak with wrestler Cody Welker, who won the match by decision, adding three points to the Titans’ total. The win changed no momentum, however, as Whitewater went on to win another three matches, one of which was an Oshkosh forfeit.

Oshkosh’s Beau Yineman was able to salvage a win by tech-fall for himself. However, Yineman’s efforts weren’t enough to single handedly dig his team out of a deep deficit of 20 points. The Titan win was followed by another forfeit at the 285-weight class, resulting in the Titans first dual of the season being an 11-32 loss.

However, Yineman said he didn’t feel discouraged by the match, adding that it’s important to feel out the hard competition early on in the season, especially within the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC).

“The Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is always pretty good,” he said. “WIAC schools always go to nationals, so you can never underestimate anyone in the conference. Personally, I think it’s important to stick it to them early in the season to get set for the end of the season before regionals.”

During the match, the Warhawks earned 12 easy points through Titan forfeit, a problem that Coach Aaron Konitzer said should not persist for more than two more weeks. He also said he wasn’t discouraged by the loss.

“These are a lot of learning points,” he said. “These are checkpoints in the season, and the guys are adapting and making match-to-match changes.”

If there is a testament to that adaptation it would be the teams quick turnaround for their first tournament. During Oshkosh’s first tournament in Stevens Point, the team fared far better, with four athletes placing sixth or above, and Yineman placing first in the 197-weight class while Valdez stepped up to fourth.Yineman’s achievement is one that Konitzer acknowledged as being difficult.

“He fixed his mindset,” he said. “He improved his strategies for getting out from under the opponent.”

After the first week of the season, the team is looking forward to the competition that results with being in the WIAC.

“The WIAC is always intense, but the question is who is going to be on top,” Konitzer said. “UW-Whitewater brings heat, UW- La Crosse is a good team, UW-Eau Claire has made a lot of program changes. Out of the last five years, whoever made nationals in the WIAC has made All-American.”

But Konitzer said the team is ready for the competition, especially Yineman, who’s ready to make the most of his final year at Oshkosh.

“I’m grateful for another opportunity to wrestle for my last season,” he said. “This opportunity, my new coach, and all my teammates who actively support me. It’s hard and a grind, but I’m grateful and appreciative.”