The No. 10 ranked University of Wisconsin-Whitewater (10-7 overall, 3-2 WIAC) faced No. 5 UW-Parkside Rangers 28-15 and battled at UW-Eau Claire’s Don Parker Open this past week where no team scores were kept.
Head coach Ned Shuck said the ’Hawks used the non-conference meet to give the team’s usual starters a chance to rest. Six freshmen and three sophomores competed against the Rangers, while nine freshman and five sophomores competed in the Don Parker Open.
The team utilized these past two competitions to give the team’s underclassmen a chance to compete and grow. With only two graduating wrestlers this season, there is a large focus on giving the team’s younger wrestlers as much experience on the mat as possible.
“We don’t have our for sure Regional starters until Regionals,” head coach Ned Shuck said. “They’re young… they’re going to have bright moments and some lack of experience, but the lack of experience is over with almost a full year of college wrestling under them.”
With the WIAC conference championship right around the corner, the excitement grows but the mindset of the team remains unchanged.
“We’re always pushing to get better no matter what time of year it is,” said senior Joseph Brodman. “We’re going to go out and do our thing.”
Brodman placed second at last year’s WIAC Championships and will have a chance for redemption against UW-Platteville’s Scott Arneson again this year. “We’re not trying to peak at the WIAC, we’re trying to peak at Regionals and Nationals,” said Brodman.
With a game plan in mind, the focus of practice is to improve weaknesses and capitalize strengths. “It is not the time to do new and different things,” Shuck said. “It is the time to do what we do best and focus on what we know.”
Last season, the No. 13 ’Hawks earned their fifth straight WIAC Championship title as well as five individual titles, and Ned Shuck was named WIAC Coach of the Year.
This will be Shucks third season coaching the ’Hawks. So far, he has led the team to back-to-back conference championships and is excited to fight for their team’s sixth conference championship.
“I hope the guys rise to the occasion and give it everything they have, if we do that then really really good things are going to happen,” said Shuck.
The Warhawks begin their postseason play with the WIAC Championship Friday at noon at UW-Platteville.