2X state champion from Anamosa and UNI All-American, Moza Fay left an interesting comment somewhere that I use all the time now. He wrote that in wrestling, the line that separates things always tends to be razor-thin. He made this comment in a discussion where people were comparing and contrasting a few placers with state champions and was basically his way of saying that there is not a huge difference between your average state placer and your 3-4 time state champions. The line that separates these guys in terms of talent is razor thin, closer than you would expect them to be.
I think this can apply to several different scenarios in wrestling. This includes a wrestler’s reputation and legacy. In other words, sometimes in wrestling, the circumstances and sequence of events will align in a manner where a guy can go from the “good guy” to the villain… just like that… And wrestling is such an emotional sport, it’s not fair that people can be judged or remembered in that manner. There is no better example of this than with North Scott’s 2X state champion, Wyatt Wriedt.
I am not going to beat an already beaten dead horse by going into one of his matches that he will always exclusively be remembered for by some, but I’ll say this: 1.) Yes, he was one of the combatants in a highly publicized, controversial match in which he was the victor. 2.) Yes he did react to the win in a manner which upset people considering the outcome and he was villainized big time because of it when the media got ahold of it, but give the kid a break… His adrenaline was likely through the roof when it went down and that happens to the best of us… People have moments where they react to something in a manner in which they later regret. I’ve had hundreds… Wyatt had a moment there. 3.) As soon as this situation and the coverage went viral, people forgot all the positive things Wyatt accomplished to that point and it’s not fair. There were no winners in this situation and this includes Wyatt Wriedt along with North Scott wrestling given the way the situation was covered and how the fans responded. 4.) I watched the footage of the full match last week and noticed that watching it this way, it’s obvious that Wyatt’s behavior was not as bad as it was portrayed on that video that went viral. Yes, the “broken” hand gesture was bad timing, but it happened a lot faster and the sequence of events was different than depicted in that film. I will say with 💯 confidence, that the video that went viral was edited in a manner that portrayed a clear-cut “good guy vs. bad guy.” It is obvious to me that the “good guy vs. villain” narrative was part of the intentions of whoever put this together and it affected the way people perceive Wriedt and North Scott and that was wrong for them to that. These kids were in high school.
It’s amazing that a high school kid who was the “feel-good, Cinderella Story” of the state tournament just a short year before could be so universally villainized by a large percentage of the wrestling community as he was. Wriedt pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the tournament the year before when he defeated nationally ranked, Ethan Anderson of SE Polk. 12-10 in the finals. Anderson was a state champion as a Sophomore and Junior, which is crazy-impressive for an upper-weight and was a Folkstyle National Champion as well as Pan-Am Bronze medalist. Most people predicted him to walk through that tournament unscathed, but Wyatt Wriedt put an end to that narrative when he beat him. Wriedt also defeated Lombardi in the semifinals that year. Lombardi and Anderson both defeated Wriedt handily on multiple occasions coming into the tournament, so this was a definite “feel-good” story of the tournament. Couldn’t write it any better. The type of thing that inspires hope for other wrestlers who may need to defeat the odds in order to accomplish their goals. Wyatt Wriedt’s celebration and smile after winning that match warmed the hearts of 90% of the fans in attendance that year. However, what Moza Fay mentioned in terms of the line that separates things in wrestling being “razor thin” in wrestling was on full display in the aftermath following his finals match vs. Rocky Lombardi the next year. The wrestling community was way to eager to transform him from “The Cinderella Champion” to “The Wicked Step-Mother” and it wasn’t cool at all, to be honest.
You all can remember Wyatt Wriedt however you want to, but I am going to choose to remember who for who he is. He is one of the best upperweight wrestlers to ever hit the Iowa HS wrestling scene in the 2010’s. He was a fun wrestler to watch. He was an upperweight, yet the way he moved around on the mat as well as the technique in his arsenal was more consistent with something you would see from a 152 lber. An incredibly athletic individual. If he were to have the frame he does now, but were maybe 2-3 inches taller, he’d likely be a D1 standout in football right now. He had a blast-double from the feet that sent plenty of big guys’ feet airborne the moment he made contact and had an array of pinning combinations that he would systematically utilize from the top position. And he has a seemingly endless motor and is one of the best wrestlers I’ve seen in a long time in terms of capitalizing on positive momentum when it’s there. If he gets on a roll where he starts scoring, good luck stopping him, for it seems like with every point he racks up, it adds fuel to his fire and he is quite capable of tacking on a ton of points before the other guy even knows what hits him.
I feel obligated to make it right for Wyatt Wriedt and North Scott wrestling. Not to mention, the “D3/D2/NAIA Weighs-In” series is something I’d like to do more of. Wyatt Wriedt is currently at D3 current powerhouse, Loras College where he is under the tutelage of “legend in the making” head wrestling coach, TJ Miller and the rest of the incredible Loras staff they have in place. As a former Duhawk myself, it is a very cool thing to see that the reigns were handed from a great coach who I have the utmost respect for in Randy Steward to someone like TJ who will continue to keep Loras Wrestling on the map as one of the top D3 wrestling teams of the present and foreseeable future.
Here is a reel I put together for Wyatt. He chose the song, “Sweet Caroline,” and it worked PERFECTLY.
Who or what encouraged you to give wrestling a try?
My father back in kindergarten.
Do you have any family who wrestled or wrestles currently? Parents, children, brothers, etc.? How did they do?
How proud are you of your North Scott roots?
Words can not describe how proud I am and will always be say I am from North Scott.
How would you describe your coaches at North Scott? How much of an impact have they had in your life?
Coach Kelly and Ambrose are two of the best coaches I have ever had and it goes deeper then just wrestling,
but outside of wrestling. They helped coach me through life. They showed me what hard work really is and how much you can push yourself. Also Coach Denison, Coach Kriter and Dan Mashek were great. Like, come on name a better staff!
What were your youth results? Any rivals there?
Only placed and kids state like 2 times.
What was your record in HS?
How did you place at state every year?
What were some of the most notable adverse challenges or moments you experienced in wrestling to this point and how did it turn out?
The hardest challenge so far has been tearing my knee up and taking so much time off the sport and trying to find my “old Wyatt wrestling style” and it has been hard for me. Confidence is key in wrestling and when you don’t go out on the mat with that, 9 times outta ten you won’t win. Still a work in progress.
Who was your most influential coach?
My two biggest influential coaches would be Dom Bradley and Brodie Ambrose.
Was your team competitive in HS/college?
North Scott always placed top 10 at state. Loras is arguably the best d3 college in the nation so I’d say yes.
Who was your most influential wrestler that you looked up to growing up?
I’d probably have to say Gwiz.
What was the most upset you ever felt after a loss?
That’s a hard question to answer because when I go wrestle I don’t leave anything on the mat so if I lose, I find the positives out of the match and then also work to fix the mistakes, but off the top of my head probably last year at regionals against Duncan Lee.
How do you feel your skills have changed since going to Nebraska and Loras?
My endurance and ability to move and scrambling ability has gotten much much better.
How are you liking Dubuque?
Dubuque is amazing the views here are incredible. You can drive 5 minutes outside town and your in the country or on the river and it’s also hour away from our family farm so that is nice to be able to go home a lot more.
Does D3, D2, NAIA, etc. have potential to grow the fan base?
The fan base at the division 3 level is still crazy and I think after Covid ends the fan base will grown for everyone.
Who was the fiercest competitors you have faced at the D3 level?
My wrestling partners.
Do you feel some D3 guys can compete at the D1 level?
Absolutely, I believe so.
Where was your best performance this year?
I would have to say last year at regionals beating the number 2 ranked kid in the nation.
If you could go back and change one thing about your wrestling career, what would it be?
Out of all my wins and losses in my wrestling career the one thing I would go back and change everything with is how I acted after the whistle blew in my state finals match against Rocky Lombardi. I watch that match every once in a while and get sick to stomach when I see how I acted.
Do you see yourself coaching someday?
I would very much like too.
What is your best wrestling memory/accomplishment? How hard did you work?
My best memory so far is beating Wartburg last year at Wartburg for the first time ever so that was awesome and the family I have made at Loras is one of a kind and I will never forget them. We as a team worked harder than we ever had before to accomplish that.
Did you wrestle all year or was it seasonal for you?
Seasonal I played football and also ran track. I ran in the 4×100 4×200 and 110 hurdles.
What other sports did you play?
First off I’d say I’m basically an amateur golfer, but also track, wrestling, football and also basketball in junior high.
What are your favorite sports teams?
What are your hobbies?
Love to hunt and be on the farm.I also just got a new puppy…a black lab named Beaux.
How has wrestling shaped you as a person to this day?
Wrestling has shown me how much you can do if you one believe in yourself and push yourself past that mental wall. It has also shown me how to be a better leader on and off the mat shown how to show respect to Someone even if I don’t like them, shown me that no matter how hard you try and fight you will fail sometimes, but you can get right back up and do it over.
Any advice for upcoming wrestlers?
My advice for any upcoming wrestler would be:
1.) GET YOUR SCHOOL WORK DONE!! I wish I would have done this one better.
2.) You need to have a purpose in your life. This needs to take place when you drill, when you compete, in school, etc.
3.) You need to be thankful for what you have in life and don’t waste the limited time you have.
Would you like to give a shout out to anyone you wrestled with, against, coached, etc.?
This past year I lost my best friend Christian Miller. He was in a car accident in November. Chris was a 4 time state champ from Nebraska and my best friend, along with Mac Hughes. Shout out to him!
Do you have anything to add? Funny/interesting stories? Trivia?
I wanna thank Rico for giving me this opportunity.