DAKOTA, Ill. (WIFR) Heart and determination can take a person a long way. For Andrew Wenzel, the state tournament was a proving ground for the Dakota wrestler.
The sophomore won the IHSA Class 1A state championship in the 170 pound division. He defeated top-seed Connor Eaton of Frankfort 7-5. It was Wenzel's only match of the weekend that went the full three periods. He picked up a pair of pinfall victories en route to the title. Not bad for a grappler that did not even make the field a year ago. Wenzel said his time on the practice mats is what put him in this position.
"I wrestled good last year, but I just wasn't there yet. I worked my butt off in the offseason and it paid off," said Wenzel. "It feels great. I want to go home, take a nap, then get back to work. I got two more years left."
His coach, Pete Alber, believes this is just the beginning for Wenzel.
"I really think he's going to repeat for two more," said Alber. "He's the kind of kid that's going to keep working. He's going to set his goals and he's the kind of kid that's going to reach his goals and achieve that."