Statewide Scramble Kicks Off Nicolet Wrestling Season
Junior John McKay takes third in his weight class.
For at least one day in December, Nicolet High School was the fulcrum of the Wisconsin high school wrestling world.
Nicolet hosted the Nicolet Knight Scramble Dec. 4, an invitational tournament that featured 18 high school teams from around the state. Burlington High School won the scramble with 527 points. Wausau East High School placed second with 477 points.
Nicolet finished 15th, although junior John McKay placed third in the 215-pound weight class.
"This is a great way to kick off the 2010-11 wrestling season," said Gus Kaufmann, Nicolet's head wrestling coach. "It's my hope that this scramble provides visibility for the program. I want Nicolet wrestling to get huge."
The last time Nicolet hosted a scramble was in 1996. More than 220 wrestlers competed in the Knight Scramble 14 years ago, and Kaufmann estimated as many as 500 fans attended.
Kaufmann said he couldn't have put the 2010 scramble together without his assistant coaches.
"I tend to be a bit of a pessimist and held my breath all day long, but it went as well as we could have planned," Kaufmann said. "Six months of e-mails, meetings, stress. We brought in more in ticket sales than we projected. It was a snowy day and I'm sure a lot of people didn't come because of the weather, but we did well."
The logistics involved in bringing 18 teams to your gymnasium can be daunting, but Nicolet athletic director, Kirk Krychowiak, said it went smoothly.
"Sometimes you worry because you don't have enough chairs, volunteers and workers, but in order for us to increase our visibility and develop our programs, we have to do it," he said.
The 2010-11 wrestling team includes 15 student athletes from last year, and Kaufmann expects as many as 20 new wrestlers this season. Assisting Kaufmann with the team this season are coaches Neil Pope, Cody Tesch and Tim Schermetzler.
"Our goal is to have 40 wrestlers on the roster for the 2010-11 season," Kaufmann said. "That will help us compete for a conference title."
Although the 2010-11 wrestling season is under way, students still can join the team, Kaufmann said. Students interested in joining the team should simply stop by the wrestling room in the upper gym balcony and speak with one of the coaches.
"The wrestling program is all about learning overall training and fitness," Kaufmann said. "We help athletes set up for sports in the spring, helping them reach their peak physical form."
According to Krychowiak, wrestling is popular in some regions of the state, and not emphasized as much in others. Nicolet, he said, is doing its best to promote wrestling in its community.
"I think wrestling is an interesting culture," Krychowiak said. "It's one person directly against another. There is no ball hitting the rim, or a bobbled ground ball. It's just you in front of a bunch of spectators and it all falls on your abilities."
"Every six minutes these guys spend on the mat equals six thousand minutes of practice. You're on an island, and it really takes a special athlete."