Hometown Hero | Episode 6 | Gabe Grahek

By TomM February 28, 2018 23:19

Hometown Hero | Episode 6 | Gabe Grahek

Hometown Hero | Episode 6 | Gabe Grahek

by Abigail Ruckdashel | Thursday, February 28, 2018

Now that the high school State Individual Tournament has ended, it’s time to continue with Episode Six of our “Hometown Hero” series. In this week’s episode we caught up with Red Shirt Senior Gabe Grahek.

Gabe is a two-time freestyle and three-time Greco state champion from Marquette University High School. He was a four-time place winner at the WIAA Individual State Tournament. His senior year he placed third, his highest finish, at the state tournament with a 48-1 record. His only loss on the season came in the quarterfinal round of the tournament to the then top-seeded and also undefeated Joe Umlauf of Wausau West.

Grahek would work his way through the back side of the bracket taking down Sun Prairie’s Austin Fjoser, Bay Port’s Chad Osmanski and Holmen’s Ryan Stalsberg in the process. Grahek’s now teammate, Andrew Crone, would go on to upset Umlauf in the state finals later in the weekend to earn his second state title.

For the Badgers, Grahek has compiled a 26-25 career record at 141 and 149 lbs. He saw most of his starting matches during the 2015-2016 season, with four dual starts and wrestling at the Big Ten Tournament. Gabe had a tough job to do, as three of his four dual starts came against ranked opponents including Ohio State’s Micah Jordan, whom he faced at the Big Ten Championships later.

His most notable start was against Iowa when they came to Madison for their regular season dual. Grahek took on Topher Carton in the 141 lb. match-up inside a nearly full Kohl Center. It was a close match as Gabe came out just shy of victory in a 4-2 decision.

Grahek has a solid career while wearing the W on his chest. We caught up with Gabe and he talked about the next step in his wrestling career, offered some advice and did a little reminiscing.

WWO: When you were in high school did you have dreams of becoming a Badger?

GG: I’ve always wanted to come to Wisconsin. I think I was attracted to the school a lot earlier than when I decided to start wrestling. It’s a great school academically, there’s a lot of opportunity and I knew that immediately. It was maybe around freshman year of high school I knew I wanted to go here. I just made the decision to wrestle here a lot later.

WWO: What is your overall favorite wrestling memory?

GG: For me it was probably between two. My freshman year, and Isaac Jordan faced two of the best kids in the country in the same weekend. It was [Iowa’s] Derek St. John and [Nebraska’s] James Green. But also, my favorite memory of me wrestling was probably wrestling at the junior world team trials when they were in Madison. It was really cool to be in that atmosphere. It was a big tournament and it was really fun.

WWO: If a little kid wants to be a Badger, what should they do?
GG: I think that you have to find a way early on to always have fun and just find a way to keep that. Wrestling is really brutal sport. There’s a lot of commitment. You have to be determined. You also have to have fun every day. It’s a grind, but having fun makes it that much more likeable.

WWO: Do you have plans to keep sticking with wrestling after college?

GG: I think somewhere down the road in the future I would like to coach, but I have plans to attend law school in the fall. I think that my own career has ended, but I would love the opportunity to help some other kids.

Gabe has been battling an injury since December and hasn’t wrestled since. We wish him good luck in law school.

However, college wrestling post-season is here. The Badgers wrestle this weekend in East Lansing, Michigan at the Big Ten Championships. The season then wraps up in two weeks in Cleveland, Ohio at the NCAA Division One Championships in the Quicken Loans Arena, March 15-17.

UW Badger Gabe Grahek

By TomM February 28, 2018 23:19