PLATTEVILLE, WIS. - When former Midland wrestling standout Brett Schoenherr puts his mind to something, Eagle fans have come to know that he always seems to get it done.
As a Midland High School freshman, Schoenherr wanted to someday make it to the state wrestling tournament and eventually stand on the podium on Championship Saturday night.
Now, as a freshman with the Wisconsin-Platteville wrestling program, Schoenherr is back at it again setting up goals much like he did back in high school, and if history is any indication, the future is certainly going to look bright for the former Eagle.
“My long-term goal here at Platteville is to make the NCAA tournament,” Schoenherr said. “Hopefully that goal will come sooner than later. I had the same type of goals set up back in high school. Back then I wanted to be a state qualifier and make it onto the podium. I got both of those things done through hard work and dedication to wrestling. I’m going to follow the same plan here in college. I think I had a successful freshman year and set myself out on the right course to get my goals accomplished. I improved from the start of the year to the end, but I’m definitely not satisfied. There’s always room for improvement and my short-term goal right now is to make a big jump heading into my sophomore season, and one of those goals is to be a starter next winter.”
Schoenherr was a back-up at 197-pounds for the Pioneers this past season, finishing with an 11-14 overall record.
The former Midland star cut more than 20 pounds from his high school wrestling weight of 220 to try and fit into the Platteville wrestling plans.
“That wasn’t too tough cutting that weight to get down to 197,” Schoenherr said. “I certainly wasn’t going to wrestle at heavyweight (285-pounds) at the college level, so it was an easy call to get down to 197 and that’s probably where I’ll stay my entire career here.”
Schoenherr took some losses early on but began to gradually feel more and more comfortable at the new weight slot.
“One of the biggest adjustments for me was actually having practice partners,” he said. “I never had that in high school. Now I’m wrestling guys where I’m not the best one in the room. That has really helped me, and motivated me to get better each and every day.”
Schoenherr’s first meet as a collegiate wrestler for Wisconsin-Platteville came at the Super 8 Invitational the Pioneers hosted Nov. 9, and in his first-ever match posted a 6-3 victory over Chicago’s Trent Williams.
“I didn’t do so well after that first match in that first tournament, but at least a started with a win,” said Schoenherr, as he was handed a 58-second pin loss against University of Dubuque’s Terrin Rackouski in the 197-pount quarter-final round before having his tournament come to a close with a 19-4 technical fall setback against North Central’s Jason Nako.
“I felt much better at the end of the year than I did at the start and I hope that helps propel me into a big sophomore jump. Back in high school I made a big jump between my freshman and sophomore years, and again I want to follow that plan here in college.”
Wrestling in Mount Vernon Jan. 18, at Cornell College’s Cliff Kean-Mike Duroe Invitational, Schoenherr placed eighth overall closing his tournament with a 3-1 overtime triumph over Wisconsin-LaCrosse’s Isaac Gust, the last of three triumphs he posted at the event
Schoenherr earned his first collegiate start at 197 reaching the quarter-finals at the Pete Willson Invitational in Wheaton, Ill. Jan. 31.
“That was pretty nice getting my first college start and having a little success with it, too,” he said.
Schoenherr wrapped his freshman campaign making an appearance at the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament Feb. 14, in LaCrosse.
“Not how I wanted to end my year,” said Schoenherr, who went 0-2 at the event suffering a pair of pin setbacks.
“But I’m going to learn from the experience. I did feel I had been wrestling a lot better and I’m going to come back and make sure that this doesn’t happen to me when I get back to the conference tournament again next year.”
Another aspect of the college life Schoenherr quickly adjusted to was balancing athletics and academics, something he said did take a lot more effort than it did in high school.
“I wouldn’t say I had a tough time balancing wrestling and my classwork,” said Schoenherr, who maintained a 4.0 grade point average throughout his freshman year as he works towards a degree in animal science.
“I will say it requires a lot more effort and work in college than it did in high school though. Thankfully, our wrestling coaches stress academics and make sure everyone is on track and not getting bad grades and falling behind. It’s not just all about the wrestling here. Our coaches understand that we’re here to get our degrees and get good jobs after college.”
During the Christmas break Schoenherr was even able to make it back home and watch some of his former Midland teammates wrestle while also hitting the mat against some of them in practice.
“It was great seeing everyone again,” he said. “I made it back for some meets around Christmas and also made it back for the state tournament watching Damon and Cayden.”
If not for the COVID-19 pandemic, Schoenherr would still be in Platteville right now working out with his Pioneer teammates.
“I really feel for the spring sports athletes in college and high school having their seasons taken away,” he said. “We at least were able to get our entire season in, but are now missing a lot of practice time we would have had on campus.
“I’m just doing the best I can working out here at home on the farm. I go on runs around the house and have a little weight bench here and just doing what I can with what I have. Right now, that’s all we can do. Just do the best we can while trying to keep everyone safe and healthy.”
Overall, Schoenherr said his 2019-20 campaign went about as expected, but he also said he doesn’t expect a repeat performance next year.
“I’m looking forward to taking that next step,” he said. “Just like in high school, following the game plan and taking one step at a time to try and reach my goals.”