South’s wrestling team wins first tournament title since 1980-81
by Dave Boehler
Beacon Sports Editor
Wouldn’t you know it?
For the first time since the 1980-81 season, Sheboygan South won a wrestling tournament – in coach Cody Steffenhagen’s hometown, no less – and he missed it because he was sick.
His Redwings won the five-team Oconto Invitational on Dec. 3, but at least he was able to watch it at home thanks to phone technology.
“It was tough,” Steffenhagen said. “I was yelling at the TV and there was nothing that I could do being an hour and a half away and not there. But it means a lot to me that we went there and took that tournament.
“I grew up in Oconto and wrestled there in high school. I’ve been working (to get in) this tournament for three years and we finally got there.”
This is Steffenhagen’s fourth year at South and he guesses the best showing the Redwings had in a tournament during his tenure was fifth.
“But I knew we’ve been doing something good up in that (wrestling) room,” Steffenhagen said. “It’s just not me, it’s my assistant coach, and Al Duwell comes up there and works with the team. The wrestlers themselves, they went out there and won that tournament.”
The coach says his athletes dominated their matches, which helped South finish 31 points ahead of the competition in the season-opening event.
The Redwings featured six individual champions as well: Aden Katz, Andrew Collado, Johnny Lee, Lucas Collado, Jose Salgado and Joe Duwell.
“Our wrestlers wrestled their butts off that day,” Steffenhagen said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the team. The one thing is we’re in great shape. We didn’t get tired out on the mat. Everything that we worked on this season so far, they put to use on the mat. They practiced certain moves, they utilized all the moves that weekend and it benefitted us.
“Hard work paid off for us. Over the last four years, my senior class has been showing a lot of leadership in that room, getting guys ready. They’ve just been putting the work in, working hard, wanting to learn more. They’ve got goals they want to accomplish this year and they’re going to do the best they can to get them.”