Having won regional tournaments each of the past four years, placing sixth in the WIAA individual state tournament last year and with 25 varsity letter-winners returning to the squad, Wauwatosa wrestling coach Kent Morin has his team poised for another highly successful year.
This summer, there are a reported 37 individuals participating in the off-season, weightlifting program. With a recent track record of success, Morin is feeling confident about the prospects for the upcoming season beginning in mid-November.
“Our goals for this year are pretty simple,” Morin said. “We want to win the Woodland Conference Championship and the team sectional tournament.”
If the team can accomplish these goals, it would qualify the co-op Wauwatosa wrestling team (which does not officially sport a nickname) for the team state tournament for the first time in Wauwatosa history. The team missed qualifying for the team state tournament last year by four points, the equivalent of winning just one more match. Morin’s teams have finished 19-4, 20-7, 22-4 and 21-5 over the last four seasons. They have been consistently ranked in the top 10 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in Southeast Wisconsin during that stretch.
The hallmark of any great sports program is the quality and depth of the coaching staff. After coming over from the Greendale High School program, Morin began working with the Wauwatosa wrestlers as a volunteer assistant coach in 2001. After a couple of years as a dedicated teacher of the sport, Morin took the head coaching position in 2003.
A graduate of Greenfield High School, he earned a wrestling scholar- ship to Marquette University in 1977 and attributes much of the success of the Wauwatosa program to the people he’s been able to surround himself with, namely his assistant coaches. His recently titled co-head coach is Corey Bauer. Bauer has been with the program for 11 years, is largely responsible for team’s technical instruction. Matthew Morin, the head coach’s nephew, who comes to the program as the strength and conditioning coach with Duke University’s wrestling program, is in charge of the summer lifting program.
The team is led by four seniors: captain and defending state champion Justin Folley (126 pounds), captain Zach Miller (138), captain Jordan Boettcher (152) and Lorry Venturi (285). Last season, Folley compiled a record of 46-1, including an equally impressive 20 pins, in becoming the first state champion in Wauwatosa wrestling history.
Coach Morin attributes Folley’s success to his year-round commitment, being technically sound and the notion that he could be the best “scrambler” in the state. Scrambling is a wrestling term for winning a situation in a match that could go either way, a 50/50 event. Folley’s ability to consistently come out of those situations on top is due in large part to his incredible balance and natural confidence.
Overall, last season proved to be a year of many bests for Wauwatosa’s grapplers. The wrestling team won its fourth consecutive regional championship, qualified three wrestlers for the individual state tournament, finished sixth in state and crowned its first state champion.Additionally, graduating seniors Marcus Morrow finished his career with a program record of 304 takedowns, while Ben Reagan ended his career with a program best 151 wins. The team’s sights this year are set on taking the Wauwatosa wrestling program to the next level.
Wauwatosa East and Wauwatosa West formed a co-operative wrestling team in 1992. The team boasts no collective nickname at this time and the team color and the color of the athletes’ singlets (the required wrestling uniform) is a non-distinctive, if not morphed, maroon. In the event a wrestler makes the finals of a tournament, he can choose to wear the home colors of his school.
Wauwatosa also competes with co-op teams in boys golf and boys swimming. The wrestling team’s home gymnasium and training facilities are housed at the West High School campus. But this doesn’t seem to bother the athletes, schools or coaches and staff. Their identity as a team is derived from their growing reputation and the results from their performance on the mats.