Merrill faces Wausau West in a highly anticipated wrestling dual meet on Thursday night. At 220 pounds, Bluejays senior Tyler Schmidt will put his unbeaten record on the line.
Our athlete of the week is a defending state champion and he might be even better than last year.
"Tyler when he steps on the mat, he's planning on winning and I guess that's leading by example," Merrill head coach Scott Arneson said.
Tyler Schmidt hasn't lost a wrestling match since his sophomore season, finishing his junior year with gold around his neck.
"The fact that he won a state championship, it's because he deserved it," Arnseon said. "It wasn't luck."
Schimdt notes that the journey to a state championship wasn't easy.
"It was difficult getting there. I wrestled a lot of really good kids on my way there, I wrestled a lot of good kids when I was there," Schmidt said. "And I was happy with how I won it."
The victories didn't stop in Madison. Over the summer, Schmidt made the national finals in Greco-Roman wrestling.
"It's wrestling with just your upper body. You can't touch the legs at all. It's got a different set of rules to it," Schmidt said. "It opened up my game.
Arneson sees the improvement Greco-Roman wrestling has made.
"Summer wrestling has made a difference for that with the Greco," Arneson said. "It's a different style of wrestling but it complimented him well."
Besides winning all his matches so far this year, the Merrill senior is also preparing to become a Wisconsin Badger next fall.
"It's gonna be a lot of fun but it's going to be really hard at the same time," Schmidt said. "I've seen some of their practices and practice schedules and it's insane."
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