MADISON — Those special moments are often so fleeting that we sometimes forget to just stop and enjoy them while they are happening.
Boyceville senior Garrett Joles, a special kind of wrestler and young man, was not about to let this moment, his moment, pass by without taking the time to appreciate it and enjoy it.
Before he ever stepped onto the championship mat in the Kohl Center last Saturday evening, Joles was reflecting on his upcoming match and his stellar career.
“Coming into my match tonight I just thought that this is the last time that I am going to be able to wrestle in the Kohl Center,” stated Garrett Joles. “I just wanted to make the most of it and have as much fun as I can.”
“Just having fun with it,” said Joles was important. “Every year it has been getting more and more fun for me because I am just starting to enjoy the sport that much more.”
While he has been enjoying each match in his final season of high school wrestling, everyone of his opponents this year, including his final opponent, likely didn’t once they had finished wrestling Joles.
While Joles said that the end of this chapter in his wrestling career was a bittersweet one, the result definitely was not.
The future Minnesota Golden Gophers’ wrestler completed a perfect 42-0 final season with the successful defense of his Division 3, 195-pound state championship on February 24 at the 75th annual WIAA State Individual Wrestling tournament held in Madison.
While the state tournament celebrated its Sapphire Jubliee, Garrett Joles capped his fourth state finals’ appearance, a first for Boyceville’s program, with his second consecutive state title to go with the runner-up medals he earned during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Top-ranked in the 195-pound weight class throughout the season, Joles knocked off the three next highest rated wrestlers during this year’s run to the title.
After registering major-decision victories in his first two matches in the 2018 tournament, Joles had to work just a bit harder in his final one.
For that second gold medal, Joles had to defeat another senior, Colton Heil (35-7) from Edgar.
Joles scored the first points taking the lanky Edgar wrestler, who has been seeded second behind him for much of the season, to the mat at the 1:11 second mark of the first period for the 2-0 lead.
The score remained unchanged until the final period when Joles broke free just four seconds into the final two-minute period of regulation for the 3-0 advantage.
The Bulldog senior then added a takedown 28 seconds later for a 5-0 lead. Heil escaped and was then awarded a penalty when Joles accidentally head butted, which made the score 5-2.
Then with under a minute left, Heil used his long frame to get inside Joles’ defense and scored the takedown to close to within a single point at 5-4. But 10 seconds later, Joles worked himself free to make it 6-4 and held Heil at bay for the championship win.
When asked afterwards if he was getting a bit nervous when his opponent had narrowed his lead to just a point, Joles simply said no.
“I felt like I kept my composure pretty good, I have points but I felt like I was in control of the match the whole time,” said Garrett Joles. “I felt like I had control over the kid the entire match.”
“That’s what makes him so good,” added his coach Jamie Olson. “He doesn’t get nervous or flustered, he just keeps working.”
Even when its not his best match.
“Garrett wrestled a good match, he didn’t wrestle a great match tonight but the kid was 6’ 5” that he was wrestling and big and flexible, a kid you want to be real cautious on, so he wrestled a smart match,” Olson commented.
“The kid (Heil) wrestled him tough tonight but Garrett found a way to get the win,” added Olson.
But to get to that match, Garrett had to win a pair of Friday matches which began with the quarterfinals.
Taking to the mat just a few minutes following his younger brother Trett’s loss in a 182-pound quarterfinals match, Garrett Joles delivered a dominating opening performance in defense of his 195-pound state championship.
The Boyceville senior took Aiden Hoffman, a fellow senior from Stratford and fourth ranked wrestler, to his back for a 5-0 lead just eight second into the pair’s quarterfinals match.
Joles gave Hoffman an escape with 1:01 remaining in the opening period only to take Hoffman back down to the mat just 13 seconds later for a 7-1 lead. Joles would again give up the escape in exchange for another takedown and a 9-2 lead. Hoffman scored a third escape at the end of the period to make it 9-3 heading into the middle period.
In that frame, Joles, who started in the down position, broke free in just three seconds and a minute later added his fourth takedown of the match for a 12-3 lead. A fifth and final takedown for Joles in the third period made the final 14-4 as the Bulldog rode out his opponent for the victory.
He would deliver a similar performance in the evening semifinals’ session against third-seed, Jacob Giese (44-7), a junior from Bonduel.
Joles scored a takedown in the opening period to lead 2-1 and extended it to 6-1 with another takedown plus two near fall points. Giese escaped but Joles again took him to the mat and led 8-2 after four minutes. Joles tacked on two more takedowns in the final period to take a 12-3 victory.
The state tournament victories gave Joles 161 wins in 171 matches, placing him third on the Bulldogs all-time career wins list behind leader James Palmer with 165 and runner-up Jack Duerst with 164.
“He has had a phenomenal career and being an upper weight kid to do that, be a 4-time finalist, not many individuals have done that,” said Olson.
Olson finished by saying, “He is a great kid. He has been our leader, our rock in the program for the last four years and has brought our wrestling as a program and team up.”