Entering the season, New Berlin’s wrestling team had a goal to take the next step as a program in order to establish itself as a force in the area.
The Eisenhower and West co-op was able to do so this year by performing well as a team and having multiple individuals find success.
Jake Belongia and Mike Baumann qualified for WIAA state individual meet, marking the first time New Berlin has sent multiple wrestlers to state in consecutive years.
“I was very impressed not only with the success our team accomplished this year but also the growth they made as young men,” New Berlin coach Patrick Detmer said. “I saw teammates begin to push each other and encourage each other to achieve their goals towards the end of the season. We also really saw some underclassmen begin to step forward and become leaders.”
Belongia was honored as the team’s Most Valuable Wrestler after winning a conference championship and a regional title before finishing second at sectionals to make state for the second year in a row.
The junior went 1-2 at state at 170 pounds, dropping his first match and winning one wrestleback before falling just short of the podium to finish his season at 39-6.
Baumann won conference and regional championships before earning his first trip to state with a second-place finish at sectionals. He lost his lone match at state, ending his junior season at 38-10.
Junior Peter Katris also won a Woodland Conference title, while junior Mike White and senior Joey Scaffidi took second place and junior Rob Snyder and senior Jaron Radish took third place.
Radish took home a regional crown and advanced through to sectionals along with Belongia, Baumann, Snyder, freshman Max Lewis, Katris, White, Scaffidi, senior Zach Leverenz and senior Zach Hansen.
Freshman Donovan Acedvedo was named as the Most Improved Wrestler, and team captains were Scaffidi, Radish, Baumann and Belongia.
As a team, New Berlin won the New Berlin Duals; took second place at the Woodland Conference tournament and at the WIAA Division 1 Brookfield Central regional; and fourth place at Merrill’s Northern Exposure team tournament.
New Berlin will graduate five wrestlers in the program in Scaffidi, Radish, Hansen, Leverenz and Rahmes.
Scaffidi, who qualified for state as a junior, collected his 100th career win during his senior campaign.
“We will definitely miss our five departing seniors,” Detmer said. “We’ll miss their talent and over 200 varsity wins that they’ve collectively added up. We’ll miss their leadership and presence in the practice room.”
But the future remains bright for the program, as Belongia and Baumann lead a talented group of returning wrestlers.
New Berlin returns 10 of 14 from its regional lineup, with freshman Noah Stiller, junior Jacob Reyes, sophomore Tony Scaffidi and Acevedo joining the six returning sectional qualifiers: Snyder, Lewis, Katris, Baumann, White and Belongia.
“We will have a good amount of talented wrestlers returning, including three conference champions, five all-conference wrestlers, two state qualifiers and 15 letter winners,” Detmer said. “Many of these juniors still have a goal to get to the state tournament, so we’ll have to do everything we can as a team to push our kids to put in the necessary work to get them to achieve greatness next year.”