ONALASKA — Calvin Wright sometimes looks back on the start of his wrestling career for motivation.
Unlike most of his peers, he doesn’t have to think back too far, and the images are probably much clearer.
The Logan High School senior didn’t begin wrestling until he was thrown out on the mat as a 215-pound varsity freshman.
The 12-13 record he posted against much more experienced competitors gave him hope for success.
“I wasn’t afraid to try something new,” Wright said during a break in the city duals at Onalaska on Thursday. “It was overwhelming, but I was able to overcome it, and that made me feel pretty good.”
Wright is at 220 this season and owns a 20-3 record after winning three matches on Thursday.
He’s back on track after a separated shoulder during the Bi-State Classic sidelined him at the end of December. Wright said the injury limited him when he first returned, but that he feels comfortable on the mat now.
“It gets a little sore once in awhile,” Wright said of the shoulder. “But I feel like everything is there, so I’m good.”
WILLIAMS ADJUSTING WELL: Central freshman Connor Williams was a state champion at 140 pounds as an eighth-grader.
It was his third youth state championship, but it didn’t tell him what to expect when he joined Central’s varsity team as a freshman.
Williams pinned two opponents and won by forfeit once on Thursday to improve his 145-pound record to 35-6.
“I knew the guys I’d be wrestling were going to be stronger, and a lot of them were going to be seniors,” Williams said. “I had to keep my mind straight and go out there and do what I knew how to do.”
First, he had to get past a knee injury he sustained just before the season began.
Williams, ranked ninth in the state, made it back and won his first five matches before losing to Verona’s Eric Schmid at the Mount Horeb Invitational on Dec. 21.
“I think that sparked a fire under me,” Williams said of the loss to the state’s No. 3 Division 1 performer. “I had a chance to win that match and didn’t do it.”
He then took a 14-2 record into his first Bi-State Classic. Williams bumped up to 152 and placed sixth.
He pinned Onalaska’s Thomas Hansen in 1:05 as Central beat the Hilltoppers 39-27 for their first MVC win since Dec. 16. 2010.
WOODS LIKES THE CHALLENGES: Onalaska senior Tyler Wood challenged himself during Thursday’s city duals.
He won one of three matches, but he isn’t about to let is discourage him during a 19-6 season at 120 pounds.
“It’s good to get good matches, especially this late in the season,” Wood said. “There’s a lot of good competition here, and I love wrestling against it.”
Wood, a regular 120-pounder and three-time WIAA Division 1 sectional qualifier, dropped to 113 for a match with Aquinas’ Nick Burns. Burns (25-7) won 7-3.
Wood then beat Logan’s Brandon Henke (27-13) by a 5-4 score at 113 and lost to Central’s Josh Kuhse (32-4) by an 8-3 margin at 120.
“They make me better,” said Wood, who returned Thursday to wrestle for the first time in several weeks after a battle with bronchitis. “It’s good to get the chance to wrestle these guys right away because it helps me see where I am.”