2018-19 Season Recap
Final MAPL Record: 1-3 | 3-6 Overall
The 2018-2019 wrestling team was fairly thin in numbers, yet full of young talent – only one Major H winner will graduate – which will set a foundation for the next few seasons to build the program back to national prominence. Due to limited numbers, The Hill Wrestling team played to their strength and focused their efforts on tournaments instead of dual meets in order to give the team and each individual the best chance to achieve success.
Jakje Craig ’22, Sam Beckett ’22, and Derek Schmaeling ’21 - three experienced newcomers - achieved success early in the season and never looked back. Craig won his weight class in five of the team’s six tournaments and Beckett was a weight class champion three times, while Schmaeling won a single event and found his way to the medal podium four other times. First year wrestler, Will Henriksen ’20, is known more for his prowess on the gridiron, but found an uncanny amount of success on the mat as well. Henriksen advanced to the semi-finals of the prestigious X-Calibur Invitational, medaled at the PAISWT, and qualified for National Preps.
Unfortunately, Hill got hit with the injury bug throughout the year as Ethan Kreuzburg ’21 missed almost the entire second-half of the season with a chronic knee injury and Mike Stevens ’20 battled through a hamstring injury that plagued him from the first day of practice. To make matters worse, once Kreuzburg finally got cleared to compete, both he and Derek Schmaeling suffered concussions during the final event of the regular season, rendering them unable to compete in the PAISWT and the National Prep championships. Sophomore Grisham Vazirani and Senior Nigel Thompson did their best to step up in their absence and medaled (7th place) at PAISWT’s but fell one placement spot shy of qualifying for the National Prep tournament.
Although Craig and Beckett were only freshman, they led the charge for The Hill squad all season long, both on competition day as well as in the practice room. Beckett emerged as the team captain and Craig became the first Hill wrestler to win his weight class at the PAISWT in a decade when he took home gold at 106. Beckett finished fourth at 145 while Will Henriksen ’20 and Luke Cawley ’22 finished sixth to punch their tickets to National Preps. Craig and Beckett both finished the weekend with records of three wins and two losses, but both were eliminated in the blood round, falling just short of All-American status. Overall, Craig finished the season with a record of 34-4 and Beckett at 35-9.
All in all, the team competed hard all year long and will use this experience to build for the future. Hill returns all four National Prep qualifiers as well as Sophomores, Kreuzburg and Schmaeling. With the addition of Hill’s incoming class, the team will have a very different look as they head into the 2019-2020 campaign.