Positive attitude helps Waterford wrestler
The way Jared Krattiger sees it, disappointment doesn't have to be discouraging. Not even a little bit.
The Waterford senior wrestler has experienced great highs in the sport, but there have been some tough moments, too. For the past three years he reached the state tournament with an undefeated record only to fall short of a championship.
As a freshman and sophomore, he reached the quarterfinals. Last year he advanced to the semifinal where he suffered a gut-wrenching one-point loss aided by a controversial stalling call he received.
Consider it fuel for the fire.
“It motivates me more,” he said. “I’m not one of those guys who lose and shut down completely or I don’t learn from it. I love this sport. I’m in the room the next day working on whatever I need to work on to get better . ... It almost feels good to take a loss and learn from it.”
Krattiger’s time might just be up when it comes to learning from losses at the high school level. The Wolverines’ 182-pounder with a 31-1 record won a title at the Cheesehead Invite, arguably the state’s most prestigious regularseason meet, on Jan. 6.
Krattiger did more than win, though. He dominated.
He took each match by either pin or technical fall. In the final, he scored a tech fall, 21-6, over Kaukauna’s Bryson Alsteen. The victory was at least Krattiger's third this season by tech fall or better against a wrestler ranked among the top 10 in the state of wiwrestling.com’s state rankings for the weight. The victory also marks what Waterford coach Tom Fitzpatrick hopes is a continuing trend. He wants Krattinger to keep his foot on the gas. Not being aggressive enough, the coach thought, cost the Wisconsin recruit a chance to win another major title at the Al Dvorak Invitational last month in Illinois..
Krattiger reached the semifinals, but after scoring an early takedown didn’t stay on the attack and lost to eventual tournament champion Jack Jessen of Willowbrook (lll.), 3-2.
“When he went to the Chessehead, he had a different mind-set,” Fitzpatrick said. “His mind-set is we’re going to go out, we’re going to score points and we’re going to score more points and we’re going to continue to score points until the buzzer rings.”
It was a lesson learned thanks to a beefed up schedule Fitzpatrick put together this year, but Krattiger isn’t the only one who has benefited. Waterford graduated a handful of seniors from last year’s state tournament team but is proving to still be a threat. The Wolverines were ranked eighth in Division 1 in the latest wiwrestling.com state rankings.
Everyone in the lineup won at least one match at the Cheesehead.
“I was happy that they went in there and competed,” Krattiger said. “Everyone beat a pretty good guy from a pretty good team. It just shows the hard work does pay off even at the top level.”
We’ll find out in about five weeks if Krattiger’s hard work finally leads to a state title, but being a Cheesehead champion is a good omen. In the last three years, four of the five in-state champions at that invitational went on to win a WIAA state titles that year.
On Saturday he won each of his four matches by pin at the Badger Scramble in Lake Geneva.
“He is setting himself apart from the rest of the competition," Fitzpatrick said. "He’s going to continue to do that this year. I wouldn’t want to be trying to stop him. He’s on a mission and he’s a freight train out of control right now."
Senior Jared Krattiger has reached the state tournament each season, but he has yet to make a final.