Article By: Jordayn Buhrle, Mallory Henderson, Cameron Hendryx, Gracie Karst, Kelly Lopez, and Trevor Steinle
Russell High School has three individuals that qualified for the 3-2-1A State Tournament being held this weekend at Gross Memorial Coliseum on the Fort Hays State University campus. Our wrestlers are Stephan Baldwin, 120 lbs. weight class with a record of 37-10; Jacob Windholz, 132 lbs. weight class with a record of 34-5; and Brayden Strobel, 138 lbs. weight class with a record of 13-17.
Stephan, the most quiet of the three, has been wrestling for 14-15 years. His dad was the person who influenced him to become a wrestler. Stephan said, “He is most proud of breaking both career and season takedown records and making it to State again. As a Senior, Stephan is starting to think beyond his high school career. “I would like to, it would be a fun experience, but a lot of work if I want to.”
Jacob, a sophomore, currently ranked fifth in the state is the most outgoing and fun loving of the three. While he is known for being a jokester he becomes completely focused during the meets. His wrestling career began at the age of four when his dad’s friend, who was a kid’s club wrestling coach, talked Jacob into trying his hand at it. Twelve years later, he is a two time state qualifier. When asked what has helped him be so successful he responded, “He’s had good partners and a great coach to lead the way.”
Brayden, an athletically gifted freshman, is known for being talkative and goofy. His personality continues even onto the mat. His journey into wrestling began with a love of football. People told him that if he wanted to play football in college he should take up wrestling to help him be a better athlete. Brayden reflected, “To get where I am now took a lot of work….”
Mandy Trout, Jacob’s mother and teacher at Russell High School has been Jacob’s biggest supporter and the unofficial wrestling “mom” for the team. “Being a wrestling mom is excitement, nervousness, heartache, elation all rolled up into one tournament and even one match sometimes.”
Dan Weigel, Russell High School Social Studies teacher and head wrestling coach brings an edge to the team. Weigel, a former state high school wrestling champion in his own right wants to see his wrestlers succeed both on and off the mat. “They had their ups and downs, but it was in the right season.” At the beginning of the season he was hoping for five or six on the team to make it to state, but is very happy with the three that made it. “The reason they scored so well at regionals is because the guys worked really hard to get the falls and score extra points for their team to make it to state.”
Stephan summed up the season best when he said, “Work harder, get stronger and cherish the moments.’’