Patch High School won its third straight Department of Defense Dependents Schools Division I European wrestling crown as it rolled over the competition Feb. 18-19 in Wiesbaden.
The Panthers took three individual championships and with 242.5 points, broke the DODDS-Europe team point record that they set last year.
Rival Ramstein came in second, with 219 points.
“They gave us a run for our money,” said Panthers head coach Norm Matzke.
“It came down to the wire. I’m proud of the kids and the coaching staff. Everyone worked hard to win the title,” he said of his undefeated team.
2011 champions Ross Wilson, 103 pounds; Calen Fields, 160 pounds; and Marshall Haas, 189 pounds, also finished the season undefeated.
For Fields, 16, this is his second individual title, having won last year at 145 pounds.
“It’s the best feeling in the world. All those hard days, the blood, sweat and tears — it all came together,” said Fields. The junior attributed his and the team’s continued success to hard work and tenacity.
“We practice five days a week for three hours at a time. Practice is intense. We’re constantly pushing ourselves to get to the next level,” he said.
When practice is over, he added, most wrestlers head over to the Patch Fitness Center for an additional workout.
Perhaps no one knows more about hard work than Haas.
Last fall, the senior dislocated his kneecap during football season and underwent surgery. “Most people didn’t think I’d be able to wrestle this year,” he said.
In order to get back on the mat, Haas said he had to strike a fine balance. “I had to work real hard … taking it easy enough so I wouldn’t injure myself, but at the same time pushing to get back as fast as I could.”
Haas has been driven ever since his defeat in last year’s championship match to Ansbach’s Dominic Barrale.
“I had beaten him the weekend before. At the European finals, he had his mind right and I was off my game. Ever since then — every single day — I’ve been working out to get my European championship this year.”
His dogged determination paid off as Haas soundly defeated Bitburg’s Austin Schmidt 7-1 to end his European high school wrestling career on a high note.
Yet the road is not over Haas and the other first- and second-place winners.
Next month they hope to participate in the High School Coaches Association National Wrestling Championships in Virginia Beach, Va.
It’s a costly endeavor. “Funding is a problem — at least $2,000 per student,” said Matzke.
Donations to assist the wrestlers can be made through the PHS wrestling student activity fund. For more information, contact Matkze at Norman.Matzke@eu.dodea.edu.
First Place: Ross Wilson, 103; Calen Fields, 160; Marshall Hass, 180.
Second Place: Isaac McIlvene, 112; Thomas Trevino, 140; Kevin Andrus, 152; Jason Pinnow, 171.
Third Place: Jaden Fields, 130.
Fourth Place: John Kellett-Forsyth, 103.
Fifth Place: Jacob Andrus, 125; John McKevitt, 160.
Division I team scoring
Patch 242.5; Ramstein 219, Lakenhealth 173.5, Heidelberg 167.5, Wiesbaden 103, Kaiserslautern 97.5, Vilseck 75.5, SHAPE 43.5.