Disappointment, combined with a whole lot of redemption and finished off with focused goals for the future.
That would be the best way to sum up Grant Englebert’s fifth place finish at the Division 3 state meet Saturday in Madison. The 145-pound sophomore from Southern Door didn’t place as high as he had hoped, but a satisfying victory in the fifth place match left him looking forward to next season.
Englebert opened with tournament Friday with a loss to Cadott’s Nelson Wahl, who pinned him in 4:35. Via wrestlebacks, Englebert met Wahl in the fifth place match and defeated him 4-1 to finish his season at 40-13.
“Fifth wasn’t what I was looking for going into the tournament, but coming out it was nice to beat Wahl,” Englebert said. “I knew after the first match the I didn’t wrestle a great match and that I was better. I just had to wrestle like it. Going into my last match there weren’t any nerves and I wrestled much better.”
After his loss to Wahl, Englebert regrouped to defeat James Gjefle of Brookwood 8-5 to advance Saturday’s wrestlebacks. Mineral Point’s Logan Schmitz stopped Englebert 4-1 in Saturday’s first match, which set the stage for his win over Wahl. Schmitz went on the win his third place match.
Englebert qualified for the state meet a year after suffering a concussion in the first round of the sectional tournament. He was leading eventual sectional champion Joey Bock of Random Lake but had to take a forfeit loss.
Southern Door coach Jerry Englebert said additional factors added difficulty to his son’s path to state. Grant’s brother Jacob was a state champion at 145 in 2014 and finished with a 49-1 record, setting a high standard to follow. In January, fellow sophomore wrestler and good friend Griffin Slezewski – a 6th-place finisher at 113 at the state meet last year – was diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia and is facing long-term treatment.
“I am most proud of Grant for his perseverance,” Coach Englebert said. “After his concussion last year he had a lot of apprehension and anxiety about getting another one. He also feels the pressure of being the coach’s kid and following in his brother’s footsteps. He also had to deal with the emotions related to Griffin’s leukemia. I think what he did this year would be tough for any wrestler, and to do it as a sophomore shows his strength.”
Grant Englebert said he will take a week or two off of wrestling, but return to what he called the grind of training. He added that his experience over the weekend will motivate him in the offseason.
“It was a great experience to make the podium,” he said. “It’s my first trip to state, and now the nerves are taken care of, next year I will be prepared for my first match. The most valuable thing this experience gives me is motivation to come back next year and compete harder.”