Reinhardt wins WWCA Wrestler of Year
Considering he pulled off the upset of the decade in the WIAA State Wrestling Tournament last winter, it’s no big surprise that Merrill’s Mason Reinhardt was recently named the Wrestler of the Year by the Wisconsin Wrestling Coaches Association.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge honor.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Reinhardt said. “Honestly I didn’t know it was even an award in the first place. They didn’t tell me I won it. Arnie (recently retired head coach Scott Arneson) called me up, so it was a surprise.
“It is an honor knowing the coaches all voted for me. I feel a lot of respect from the coaches because of this award,”
Arneson weighed in on the award.
“It’s pretty neat,” he said. “It puts a finishing touch on a great career for Mason and obviously for Merrill wrestling as well. It’s a neat thing for Mason, his family, the wrestling program, the school district and the community.
“Good things come to those who work hard, and Mason does that. Hopefully that continues down in Madison. Mason came along all 12 years with me and my son Scottie, as well as with others.”
Mason captured the 170-pound state championship by defeating Hartford junior Beau Breske – a two-time state champion who had never lost a match in Wisconsin and had beaten Reinhardt 4-2 earlier in the season. It took overtime to pull off the 5-4 triumph after Reinhardt wasn’t awarded back points that had been signalled, turning the Kohl Center crowd in his favor.
Reinhardt could have saved himself the difficulty of Breske and cutting weight by weighing in for the relatively weaker 182-pound class, but he was having none of that.
“It was my plan to be state champion, but I wanted another shot at him,” he said at the time.
It’s Arneson’s desire that his body of work earned the WOY award.
“I hope it’s for four years at the state tournament and how he wrestled for the state of Wisconsin all summer,” he said. “That (state match) definitely was the marquee match-up, it was great for the sport of wrestling and even better because Mason won. Breske has committed to wrestling for Nebraska, so these guys may match up again in the future.”
Reinhardt is a redshirt freshman at UW-Madison on a full wrestling scholarship.
“It’s awesome down here,” he said. “It’s super time consuming, but it’s super fun. It’s on a whole different level. It’s definitely going to be worth it, but there’s so much to it.”
As for his weight class, Reinhardt noted, “I don’t know where I’m going to be at. If I keep growing I’ll probably be at ‘97. I’ll be somewhere between ‘74 and ‘97. College wrestling is a whole lot different from high school. I’ve gained a lot of muscle.”