UW Whitewater hopes to grow from grueling stretch

By TomM December 19, 2017 20:43

UW Whitewater hopes to grow from grueling stretch

UW Whitewater hopes to grow from grueling stretch

By Nate Woelfel | December 19, 2017

For Wisconsin Wrestling Online

You will be hard-pressed to find a college wrestling program that recently endured the kind of week UW-Whitewater just went through.

From December 2-9, the Warhawks competed in five duals. That, in and of itself, can be taxing.

However, the quality of competition elevates this seven-day stretch to a different level.

First, Whitewater competed at the Candlewood Suite Duals in La Crosse where it faced No.2 Augsburg, No.21 Concordia-Moorhead (Minnesota) and No.1 Wartburg in the span of a few hours.

The Warhawks fell to Augsburg but came back to top both Moorhead and Wartburg.

The 21-20 victory over Wartburg snapped the Knights’ 59-dual winning streak.

Four days later, UWW hit the road to take on NCAA Division II UW-Parkside, a program that features a couple of ranked wrestlers. The host Rangers emerged victorious in the “Sake Bottle Battle” by a count of 25-14.

The Warhawks capped their run by hosting Wisconsin, who was ranked No.21 in Division I at the time and has since moved up to No.19. Whitewater dropped that dual 38-3.

“That was definitely a tough lineup in a short period of time,” Shuck said. “We’ve had our stints of tough competition, I always look to get tough competition. That’s something that’s important for me and the development of our program and the development of our guys individually as well. But I don’t think there is anything else in my time here that has been that difficult.”

Shuck viewed his team’s most recent five-match run as a quality reminder of the importance of resiliency.

“Everybody knows, tournament time, anything can happen,” Shuck said. “You’re going to run into multiple tough matches in a row, especially at the national tournament. Our regional is going to be incredibly tough this year, too. From that standpoint, you’re going to have multiple matches that are going to be really tough. How are you going to fight through it?”

Whitewater finished the week 2-3. Shuck would have welcomed more victories, but his focus is set on the remainder of the campaign. After all, a handful of duals doesn’t define a season.

“Obviously, we want to win a lot. We want to win all those duals,” Shuck said. “But the wins and losses don’t really mean anything right now. I can guarantee you Wartburg isn’t sweating right now. They are going to go to work and work hard. It’s not like just because we pulled a “w” off on them they are going to start working hard. They always work hard.”

While wrestling high-quality opponents can help a program grow. A tough schedule alone isn’t enough to ensure development. Learning and progressing are also key parts of the equation.

“We got a lot of information against high-level competition. For us, that was really important to kind of see where we are at,” Shuck said. “Ultimately, along the line, we just keep looking for growth. How do we keep growing? How do we grow faster than anybody else? Everybody practices. Everybody works hard. All those things are consistent so, what are we trying to do to give ourselves an edge?”

This approach is a large part of the reason the Warhawks are experiencing a significant amount of success under Shuck’s guidance.

During his tenure, Whitewater is 42-15 in dual competition with a 15-3 mark in the WIAC.

Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the program has produced two WIAC Tournament Championships, an NCAA Regional Championship and eight All-Americans, including a national runner-up and the first national champion since 1991 (Jordan Newman, 2017).

In 2015, UWW finished fourth at the national tournament. They’ve placed 23rd and 13th at the NCAAs the past two seasons, respectively.

Come the postseason, the Warhawks are hoping to improve on their recent showings.

“We haven’t been happy with the way we’ve finished at the end of the year,” said Shuck. “We feel like we’ve definitely had some ability and haven’t quite given the performance we wanted at the end. So we want to make a change and this is a great way to do that.”

Currently, the Warhawks are ranked No.6 in Division III by InterMat and have two wrestlers ranked nationally.

Returning national champion Jordan Newman is the top-ranked wrestler in DIII at 197 pounds, while Hazen Rice is ninth at 133.

Whitewater returns to action Jan. 4-5 when it participates in the NWCA National Duals in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

“We have a couple of weeks here where we can really put some focused time in,” Shuck said. Time to try and shore up some of those things where we got exploited a little bit and keep building on the things we were doing really well.”

Contributed by Nathan Woelfel @Nate_Woelfel 

Photo: UW Whitewater Wrestling


By TomM December 19, 2017 20:43


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