Wrestlers place in WIAC


Courtesy of UWO Athletics / Wrestlers Valdez (left) and Yineman (right) placed first in WIAC.

Brandon Cobb, Staff Writer

With Regionals right around the corner, the Titans managed to place in six weight classes at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship Feb.11.

This effort was spearheaded by wrestlers Luc Valdez at 125 pounds and Beau Yineman 197 pounds both placing first in their respective weight classes. Supported with Guyon Cyprian Jr. at 285 pounds and Denis Murphy at 133 pounds who placed fifth. Along with Elijah Sanchez at 141 pounds and Nate Stokhaug at 165 who placed sixth.

The high intensity WIAC Championship would be chock-full of closely contested matches that would conclude many of the Titans season-long rivalries. 

When reflecting on the aftermath of the WIAC tournament, head wrestling coach Aaron Konitzer commented on the team’s performance and plans moving forward.

“I think overall the effort was high and we saw some success and improvements, as well as getting a couple of matches back that we lost earlier in the year,” he said.  “Obviously we would have liked more guys on the podium, but we just let a couple of matches get away from us. We just need to continue to improve over the next couple of weeks.”

Now with such a big turnaround the Titans gain a boost in the team’s energy going into Regionals.

“For some guys it gives them a little more confidence, knowing they can hang with some of the top guys who will be at the regional,” Konitzer said. “This will give them more motivation in their training over the next couple of weeks.”

Along with the momentum carried from the wins at WIAC, the team seems to be propelled by its close-knit community between coaches and players.

“The team has become really close over the last few weeks,” Konitzer said. “First semester I think we were all trying to get to know each other being my first year here, but in the second semester we’re seeing the guys being a lot more supportive of each other throughout the competition. It’s a big deal knowing that you have a team who truly have each other’s backs. It makes them want to wrestle harder for each other.”

This has even been said to be one of the Titans’ biggest advantages when they hit the mat.

“One main thing that we have is that we support each other a lot,” Valdez said. “We are in each other’s corners.

With the NCAA Division III Upper Midwest Regional set for Feb. 24 the Titans will look to keep the pace in anticipation. Although the stage is bigger, their intensity and mindset stays the same.

“We’re going to stay consistent in what we do because the mindset is ‘no match is bigger than the next,’” Konitzer said. “Granted it’s our national qualifier, but it doesn’t change that it’s still wrestling and we have to keep that mentality down the stretch.”