Pos­i­tive at­ti­tude helps Water­ford wrestler

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Nba - Mark Ste­wart Milwaukee Jour­nal Sen­tinel USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - WIS­CON­SIN

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.

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