By Sean Giggy
(WAOW) - Wisconsin Rapids continued its postseason brilliance on the wrestling mat with its 19th state championship on Saturday. Sean Giggy features the entire Rapids' team as our TV9 Athlete of the Week.
Read the full story below or click on the video link to your left.
If there were a book on high school wrestling, the Wisconsin Rapids team would be the author. With Saturday's win over Milton, the Red Raiders won their second straight state title and 14th in 16 years.
"People might look at it as a number, but for them it was a state title they dedicated a lot of their lives to and worked as a team to get," said Rapids head coach Scott Benitz. "So we're just real fortunate to have the kind of support and kind of kids that allow us to work and do the things that make us successful."
"Ever since I was a kid I've been following it and all their success," said Rapids wrestler Jake Raflik. "I've always thought it'd be really cool to do what the guys before me. It just feels really cool to do what has been done so many times before."
This year's title run didn't come without questions. The Red Raiders had only three seniors on the roster and many wrestlers had to deal with the pressure of competing in their first state finals.
"For this group of kids it was their first state title and for many of the kids it was their first year starting, so it's pretty special for them," Benitz said.
Although they return 11 starting wrestlers next season, the Red Raiders know the search for another state title won't be easy.
"I think if we work hard in the offseason and come in next season with a good mindset, we'll put up another team state title," said Rapids wrestler Ben Westover.
"We have the potential to be a very good team next year, but potential is just that," Benitz said. "It's what we could be, it's what this group of kids decides they want to be."
Online reporter: Sean Giggy