Wednesday, Oct 16, 2019

Jr. High wrestlers on way up

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John Peterson wrestles an opponent during the state tournament at Northern Illinois University March 11 and 12./Photo courtesy of Neil Schultz

Harvard is known for developing wrestlers, and the success of the Harvard Junior High School wrestling program is another sign of just how good it is. Four junior high wrestlers participated in the state tournament March 11 and 12 at Northern Illinois University.

The wrestlers were sixth grader Justin Wilcox, 70 pounds; seventh grader Reiss Bielski, 85 pounds; seventh grader John Peterson, 100 pounds; and eighth grader Christian Kramer, 112 pounds.

Bielski finished fourth and Peterson finished third in their weight classes. Wilcox and Kramer did not place.

David Schultz, a 2001 graduate of Harvard High School, is entering his sixth season as head coach. He knew his wrestlers might be overwhelmed at the tournament and did his best to prepare them.

“Typically, with some of the guys who are experiencing their first time down [at the state tournament], they get a bit nervous,” Schultz said. “I tell them it’s just another tournament and to treat it like any other match.”

Schultz sees his job as preparing his young wrestlers for the next level.

“We are getting them ready for high school wrestling,” Schultz said. “We want to get everyone as many matches as we can to improve their skills and make them the best wrestlers possible.

“If we succeed in that and keep on improving the skills and they become better wrestlers then the wins will pan out.”