By Chris Bennett
The Waterford Union High School wrestling team returns three state qualifiers, and is looking for success in the 2016-17 season.
The Wolverines opened the season Dec. 1 at home against Southern Lakes Conference foe Wilmot. Waterford wrestles Saturday in a dual meet tournament at Kettle Moraine High School.
“We’re looking forward to a good year,” coach Tom Fitzpatrick said. “We have great upper class leadership and a solid group of wrestlers that paid their dues in the offseason by getting lots of highly competitive matches.”
The Wolverines finished third in the SLC last season behind second-place Elkhorn and Badger, the conference champ.
Waterford finished second in its WIAA Division 1 regional tournament and took five wrestlers to state – Sam Winski (113 pounds), Justin Ratkovec (126), Austin Thomas (145), Jared Krattiger (182), and Jack Trautman (195). All but Ratkovec are back.
Krattiger finished third at 182 pounds. After losing in the quarterfinals he won four straight matches on the consolation side of the bracket and wrestled all the way back to finish third.
The Wolverines’ probable starting lineup features 10 letter-winners in 14 weight classes.
Fitzpatrick said sophomore John Nelson at 106 and freshman Cody Welker are at 113.
Nick Goldammer and Lucas Winski are at 120, and Sam Winski is at 126. Ashton Cadman is at 132, Anthony Christenson is at 138 and Alex Guardiola is at 145.
Thomas jumps to 152 and Jordan Danowski is at 160. Tanner Cadman is at 170 and Krattiger is back at 182. Trautman will wrestle at 195, Anthony Miller is at 220 and EJ Mastrocola is at 285.
Fitzpatrick said the team’s fortunes will likely be improved this season by the addition of assistant coaches Justin Scherkenbach and Derek Olson.
“Both Scherkenbach and Olson had highly successful high school careers, with each making it to the finals of the WIAA Division 1 State Tournament,” Fitzpatrick said. “Their youth will certainly be beneficial in the wrestling room.”
The SLC is likely going to be a three-way race this season between Waterford, Elkhorn and Badger. Waterford and Elkhorn combine to return eight defending SLC champions out of 14 weight classes.
Three wrestlers perfect at first invite
Three Waterford Union High School wrestlers finished the day with undefeated records (5-0) Dec. 3 in the Laser Duals at Kettle Moraine, and helped the Wolverines to a second-place finish.
Waterford wrestled Thursday at Burlington in a SLC dual meet, and competes Dec. 15 at Elkhorn in a SLC dual meet.
The Wolverines beat Wilmot 53-24 Dec. 1 at home in a SLC dual meet.
At Kettle Moraine, A.J. Guardiola (145 pounds), Jared Krattiger (182) and Jack Trautman (195) each finished 5-0 in dual meet competition. Krattiger pinned all five of his opponents, and spent less than a total of five minutes on the mat.
Jordan Danowski (160), Tanner Cadman (170) and EJ Mastrocola (285) each finished 4-1, and John Nelson (106), Cody Welker (113/120), Sam Winski (126) and Austin Thomas (152) each won three matches.
Waterford opened the dual meet tournament with a 55-20 loss to Kaukauna, and rallied for four straight wins.
The Wolverines beat Milwaukee Hamilton 78-0, West Allis Hale 54-18, Mukwonago 44-28 and Kenosha Tremper 52-23.