State Wrestling Sat

West Salem/Bangor’s Devin Bahr is lifted by Rice Lake’s Chase Schmidt in the Division 2 152-pound championship match at the WIAA Individual Wrestling State Tournament at the Kohl Center. Bahr defeated Schmidt 14-1 and was recently named the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association’s wrestler of the year.

Erik Daily, La Crosse Tribune

It’s no secret in the coulee region that West Salem senior Devin Bahr is a talented wrestler. The Division I University of Wisconsin—Madison recruit has won multiple state titles and conference awards in his four years at West Salem.

Bahr collected a 39-0 record his senior year en route to his third individual state title. He completed his career with a record of 161-1.

His success didn’t go unnoticed outside of the coulee region either, as Bahr was recently named the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association’s wrestler of the year.

The award can go to any high school or college wrestler in the state. Bahr is the first ever high school athlete from the Coulee Region to win the award—University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Dan Laurent won it in 2006.

“I wasn’t really surprised that they selected Devin,” said West Salem/Bangor head coach Josh Brewer. “He made it pretty obvious in his dominance throughout the year that he was one of, if not the best, wrestler in the state.”

Bahr said though he’s received other awards in his career, this one sticks out.

“It is an honor considering only one wrestler is named Wrestler of the Year and I’m grateful I was given that award this year,” he said.

Anyone that knows the standout wrestler, however, knows he’s not satisfied.

“I feel like I could have done so much more in my career. Starting from my freshman year and just being happy with a win to my senior year and wanting to dominate everyone,” Bahr said.

He won’t have a lot of time to reflect on his high school career before he starts classes on campus on June 19.

Whatever comes next for the former West Salem/Bangor wrestler, it’s sure to be a fun ride.

“The best thing about Devin is that he doesn’t let the success get to his head,” Brewer said. “I know that for him this award is just another step. He’s always working for that next thing, and now I’m not sure but we could be talking about a future all-American, collegiate national champion, and Olympian.”


Benjamin Pierce is a news reporter for the River Valley Media Group working for three weekly newspapers that cover Bangor, Onalaska, Holmen, and West Salem in the dairy state. He also covers La Crescent in Minnesota and can be reached at 608-791-8311.

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