Southern Door wrestler focusing on mental approach
Grant Englebert answered the question honestly. Despite being the No. 2 rated wrestler at 152 pounds in Division 3, the Southern Door High School junior doesn’t put much stock in the ranking.
“I wouldn’t consider it much of either a blessing or a curse,” said Englebert, who has a 17-3 record. “There aren’t really any benefits to it, and they don’t give out awards for being ranked. And the only drawback is having that expectation to be number one.”
Englebert, who was ranked No. 1 in the Dec. 24 rankings, is second behind Random Lake’s Aiden Vandenbush, who edged ahead of Englebert in the rankings after finishing two spots higher in the extremely competitive Oshkosh on the Water meet Dec. 27. Korben Brown of Parkview, Jacob Heiden of Stratford and Cashton’s Tristan Grant round out the top five.
“Being ranked first surprised me in a way, not because I don’t think I am good enough, but I just didn’t expect to start there,” Englebert admitted. “My coaches have done a great job [of] talking to me about that and making sure we keep the sights set on winning and not getting ahead of ourselves and taking the ranking as a be-all [and] end-all.”
It’s not that expectations shouldn’t be lofty for Englebert, who placed fifth in the Division 3 state meet last season. After losing by a fall to Nelson Wahl from Cadott in the opening round, Englebert rallied to defeat Wahl 3-1 in the fifth-place match. Englebert led Random Lake’s Joey Bock 3-2 in the 2018 sectional meet when a concussion forced him out of the meet, and Bock won the sectional title.
“It was a while [after my freshman year] that I realized how close I had really come to making it down to Madison,” Englebert said. “Knowing how close I had come was a great motivator for me last year. I had to get it in my head that I was good enough to compete with those guys and that I could even beat them. Taking fifth last year, I finally proved it to myself that I could do what I have set out to do.”
Grant’s coach and father – Jerry Englebert – said his experience with Grant’s brother Jacob during the 2013-14 season will provide an important perspective as the postseason approaches in February. Jacob was the state champion in Division 3 at 145 in 2014 and finished with a 49-1 mark.
“Anytime you can say you have that experience, it helps,” Jerry Englebert said. “You hope that you have [experience] in your back pocket if something unforeseen comes up. It helps with the mental aspects [of wrestling].”
It seemed like an injury might derail at least a portion of this season. While performing an overhead press, Englebert’s arm locked out and came down awkwardly behind his head, and he tore the labrum in his left shoulder.
“It was just an unlucky accident in the weight room,” said Englebert, who will wear a brace on his shoulder. “[Surgery] was a possibility, but we decided to try and just do rehab. The rehab seems to be working well, but we will assess it again at the end of the season and decide from there.”
Englebert said he has increased his work on both the mental and physical aspects of wrestling – something he needed to work on in order to improve on last season.
“In order to change that fifth place into first place, I have to mentally prepare myself better than I had last year,” he said. “It is much easier to be more confident and mentally prepared if you are physically prepared as well. This year I have really kicked it into high gear and am training harder than ever to condition myself. I have to focus on the little things that I can improve in my wrestling and take it one tournament at a time, learning from each match.”