NCAA National Recap: Wrestlers craft their way to success


The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers were represented well at the NCAA Division III National Championships on March 10-11. Nationals was held at the La Crosse Center in La Crosse, WI.

“It was nice being able to have family come,” sophomore health education major Scott Arneson said regarding that La Crosse is so close to home.

The Pioneers had four national qualifiers-the second most in school history. Only the 1998 wrestling team had more with six. Arneson, Trevor Harsh, Jon Goetz and Grant Wedepohl qualified and each have a bright future ahead of them. All four qualifiers are of sophomore status and will be counted on to carry the momentum into the 2017-18 season.

UW-Platteville wrestling head coach Mike DeRoehn believes strongly in the direction of the program at the university. “We have a long term vision of UW-Platteville wrestling becoming a perennial top four team in the nation, academically and athletically. With that said, I’m so grateful to coach this team and very proud of the progress they made toward that vision this season. The kids achieved some things that either haven’t been done before or at least not in decades for Pioneer wrestling. Anytime a coach can say that at the end of a season, I’d call it a success!” DeRoehn said in an email interview.

The Pioneers accomplished a number of feats that they haven’t accomplished in recent years, as well as marking a few firsts. Against conference foes, the 2016-17 wrestling team beat UW-Steven’s Point in a dual meet for the first time since 2002, as well as beating UW-Whitewater for the first time since 2007. The Pioneers were ranked as high as 11 in the nation by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The first ever “Throwdown in the Theatre” dual meet was held in the Center for the Arts. The Pioneers also received acclaim for their work in the classroom. The wrestlers were ranked 25th in the nation amongst all teams in NCAA Division III wrestling with a team GPA of 3.18 and received the National Wrestling Coaches Association Scholar Team Award for their efforts.

The Pioneers did well and accomplished many feats this season but Arneson knows that the work is not done. When asked about how he thought his season went, he said, “Not as expected, but compared to last year, I got the opportunity to wrestle two weeks longer.” Surely the goal is much larger for these individuals who have wrestled most of their lives.

With the season over until next fall, the wrestlers will have some time to relax from an exhausting five-month season. The fate of each wrestler’s individual success for next season is dependent on their own work ethic this offseason.

“After some recovery time, they will begin our voluntary strength training program as a group over the remaining spring semester. Over the summer they will continue to strength train on their own. Nearly half our team has secured internships/co-ops for the summer, which as a coach, makes me very proud and shows their commitment to being total student-athletes. Regardless if they’re training here or off campus, I know this group will keep working to reach their highest individual potential, which will put our team amongst the top as well,” DeRoehn said regarding his expectations for the roster.

Developing relationships off the mat will also be something that the team will continue to do this offseason.

“Once the rivers and lakes clear up, we will have some chances for team bonding. We have done different activities in the past like camping for the weekend and going fishing,” Arneson said.

After a season that can be regarded as a success for the Pioneers, the roster will take some time to relax but “is wrestling here yet” will be the phrase that the committed athletes will feel sooner rather than later as they prepare to develop a consistently dominant program.