Blugold Wrestling: Culture change moving forward

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- In the three years prior to Tim Fader becoming head coach of the UW-Eau Claire wrestling team, the squad had a 7-46 record. In the three years since Fader took the reins, the program has compiled a 26-21 record.

Imagine this: 9 wrestlers to fill 10 weight classes. That’s the situation Tim Fader stepped into when he walked on campus in 2015.

“I really believe in the team aspect of wrestling and that was missing here at Eau Claire,” head coach Tim Fader said. “They weren’t able to field a complete team.”

Three years later, have a look around.

“When I first got here, we really didn’t have that many people on the team,” Connor Hanson, senior 165 pounder, said. “We got a lot of guys in the room now compared to where we were a couple years ago.”

“Eau Claire wrestling is on a 180 switch. It wasn’t so good when I got here,” Seth Vosters, junior 157 pounder, said.

“These guys are coming to fight,” Elroy Perkin, head assistant coach, said. “We’re not just filling spots anymore. We’re competing for spots and that’s making our level rise a lot higher.”

Perkin wrestled under Fader at UW-Whitewater, and when Fader got the job at Eau Claire, Perkin followed and became his head assistant.

“You gotta make them buy into the plan. We came in with our plan and we want it to get better,” Perkin said. “The 1st thing we wanted to do was make sure we had no forfeits. The 1st year we got here, we didn’t have any forfeits.”

A fighting mentality is engrained in a wrestler’s mind from the very beginning. And this program is making sure these young men keep that approach.

“We have guys who are fighting for that number one position. That comradery and that brotherhood that wrestling develops is something that we’ve instilled and we’re going to continue to instill,” Fader said.

“I want to show that Eau Claire is a hard-working program and no matter how bad you were at one point, you can get to the top,” Vosters said.

“These are special kids because they want to do what we want to do,” Fader said. “They believe in what we’re doing. They chose to come to UW-Eau Claire and wrestle at UW-Eau Claire. And that’s step one. I just think it’s a growing program and I’m really excited to a part of it.”

The Blugolds will host their first ever meet at Zorn Arena on December 5th to open up their home schedule.