Set to take nationals by storm

One tournament remains to separate the best from the rest.

Five wrestlers will attempt to notch their name in the UW-Whitewater record books at the national tournament in La Crosse over the weekend.

Pictured from top left going clockwise: juniors Reid Dickerson and Adam Latella, senior James Zarate and sophomores Cade Sarbacker and Jake Frederickson. Photo by Matt Gardner.

The men who will try to accomplish the feat are senior captain James Zarate, juniors Adam Latella and Reid Dickerson, and sophomores Jake Frederickson and Cade Sarbacker.

Head coach Tim Fader said it is the biggest group he’s taken to the national championships, and his excitement couldn’t be any higher for his team.

“They are also younger,” Fader said. “The earlier you get there the better chance you have of standing on top.”

Although the tournament is right around the corner, the Warhawks remain loose, and lighthearted.

Whether it is Latella and Frederickson arguing over who the strongest pound-for-pound on the team is, or Dickerson claiming his mustache gives him a distinct mental edge, the five men said they are very relaxed before the most important meet of the year.

For Zarate, it will be his last chance to compete in a ’Hawks’ uniform. The fifth-year senior is 23-15 on the season and excited to compete in his first national tournament.

“It’s what you work for the whole time while wrestling,” Zarate said. “It’s an achievement.”

However ecstatic he may be, the team captain is not satisfied with his bid to the tournament. He hopes to earn All-American status and a national individual title.

“Those were my goals when I started out the season,” Zarate said. “I’ve been training for it all year.”

For Latella, it will be his second straight trip to the tournament. Following last year’s 1-2 performance, he said he is hungrier than ever to get back to the tournament and prove he belongs among the elite wrestlers in the nation.

“When there was a day I did not want to come in and train I would just think about the match that knocked me out of the tournament,” Latella said. “It was the match that would have given me an All-American status.”

Latella led the team with 32 total victories, giving him plenty of confidence going into the tournament. However, he knows records mean nothing once you are there.

“I’ve beat a couple guys in my bracket, so I like my chances,” Latella said. “When you get to the tournament records are wiped out because this is the only tournament that matters at the end of the year.”

Reid Dickerson had to wait an extra day to receive his bid to the tournament. Although excited for an opportunity to compete, he wants to do more than just show up for the tournament. He wants to win it all.

“It feels good to make the tournament, but I’m kind of sick of everyone congratulating me for making it,” Dickerson said. “I want to go out and do more than just make it.”

Dickerson composed a 25-17 record on the season.

The two sophomores, Frederickson and Sarbacker, understand the importance of the national tournament as they will compete in it for the first time. Although they are some of the younger competitors in the tournament, they are far from shy.

“It feels good making the tournament,” Sarbacker said. “It will feel better when I place.”

Sarbacker has momentum on his side after winning the WIAC title at the 149-pound weight class.

Frederickson received his bid from a stellar 21-3 mark on the season as well as a second-place finish in the WIAC Tournament.

“You can’t be satisfied with just [making the tournament],” Frederickson said. “I definitely think I should go and place.”

Fader said he hopes sticking to their normal routine will benefit the team going into the tournament.

“We want to focus on what we do,” Fader said. “We want to focus on our attacks and on the things that make us good wrestlers.”

If they do, maybe there will be five more pictures hanging on the All-American wall in the gymnasium.