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WAUSAU — Pound for pound, Trett Joles may well be the best high school wrestler in Wisconsin this season!
And arguably, maybe he has been just that the past few years as well.
The Boyceville senior did nothing to dispel that belief, one that many of his contemporaries are in agreement with, as he dominated yet another state tournament.
Joles took the wrecking ball to his competition, dispatching a trio of top-five ranked wrestlers, two by pins and the other with a 21-5 technical fall, to win the 195-pound state championship, his third consecutive state wrestling crown, at the 2021 WIAA Division 3 Individual State Wrestling tournament held this past Saturday, February 13 at Wausau East High School.
Joles won the Division 3 state title at 182 pounds the previous two season and finished third at the weight class as a freshman in 2018.
“It feels great, it feels amazing,” replied Joles when asked about his third straight WIAA state wrestling title.
“I have had a great year,” added Joles who finished his senior year with an unblemished mark of 19-0 in a season that almost wasn’t, due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Obviously, we didn’t have 40 or 50 matches like every other year, but we made the most of it and our team did really well.”
“It is bitter sweet,” said his head coach Jamie Olson following Joles’s third championship win – the final high school wrestling match of his storied career.
“Trett is a guy you just don’t get a chance to coach very often. He is an incredible kid, really an incredible kid,” continued Olson who became a bit emotional speaking about Joles’s final tournament. “I am going to miss him.”
“He would have been the winningest wrestler (in Boyceville history) without this stuff going on,” added Olson referencing the COVID pandemic. “Over 100 pins in his career and three (state) titles.”
Joles, who entered this year and season of uncertainty with a 142-3 record, will finish it and his prep career with a mark of 161 wins against just three losses.
“It’s been a long run, but I guess it’s over now,” Joles told area media that had gathered to interview him following his title match victory. “I am pretty thankful with how I did. I am really satisfied with my last match.”
That final match pitted Joles against a familiar foe – Stratford junior Raife Smart.
The Boyceville senior had pinned Smart in the previous Saturday’s sectional semifinal round at St. Croix Falls where it took Joles all of 35 seconds to put the Stratford wrestler to his back.
But Joles took a different tack when the pair met up again in Saturday’s state finals in Wausau.
“That last match I probably could have did some moves to put him in a weird position to get the fall,” said Joles. “But, in the end I wanted to go three periods and I wanted to see how many takedowns I could get, and I am pretty satisfied with how I did!”
Over the course of three, two-minute periods, Joles took Smart to the mat seven times, registered a pair of two-point near falls and finally a third near fall midway through the final stanza for three more points that brought the match to an end at the 5:06 mark on a 21-5 technical fall.
Fourth-ranked Smart, who had beaten the second-seed and seventh on major decisions in the quarter and semifinal rounds respectively, lost for just the second time in 16 matches – both at the hands of Joles.
To get to his third straight championship match, Joles made rather quick work of both his quarterfinal and semifinal opponents.
He started his fourth and final state wrestling tournament last Saturday with a second-period pin of De Soto senior Cezar Garcia.
Garcia, who entered the tournament ranked fourth in the latest state polls, was not able to match Joles’s skills and intensity.
It took Joles a few seconds to warm up in that opening match, however, as it went scoreless until midway through the first period when Joles scored the takedown.
But, once he had scored, the points flood gate seemed to open wide for Joles who scored two more takedowns and a pair of two-point near falls in the last minute to take a 10-2 lead into the second period.
Taking the top position to open that frame, the Boyceville wrestler needed just 13 seconds to end the battle on a pin fall.
Garcia would go on to finish fourth, losing the third-place bout on a 3-2 ultimate tiebreaker to Random Lake senior Brock Upson, who was Joles’s semifinals victim.
Upson’s strategy against the two-time defending state champion was to keep him at a distance and move around the perimeter of the outer ring.
And it worked for a while until Joles simply tired of the game.
Leading 4-2 going in to the final period, thanks to a takedown in each of the match’s first two frames, Joles escaped to up his lead to 5-2. When Upson skirted the boundary ring again in the third period, Joles finally had had enough and moved in, shooting low to snare his nearly 200-pound opponent and then lifted Upson onto his shoulders and carried to the center of the mat, put him down on his back and registering the pin at 5:15.
The eye-popping move to many, was nothing extraordinary for the strong yet quick and agile Joles who had done that to many an opponent over his four years of varsity wrestling.
A few hours later, Joles would find himself perched atop the awards podium following his dismantling of Raife Smart in the finals accepting a third consecutive state gold medal and the corresponding weight bracket poster albeit in a much smaller setting and somewhat sparse crowd.
Still Joles seemed as excited and even a bit more pleased with his third state championship as he was with his first.
“This year was amazing,” stated Joles. “A lot of teams kind of folded up shop but our team came together. Coach Day and Coach Olson really made the most of it.”
It also marked the fifth straight year that a Joles has earned a state championship. Trett’s older brother Garrett Joles won back-to-back championships at 195 pounds in 2017 and 2018 with Trett taking titles at 182 in 2019 and 2020 and the 195-pound crown this year.
“I have three now and he’s got two,” quipped Trett of the state title advantage he now holds over his brother. “But I know he is proud of me and supports me and has made me a lot better.”
“This is the end of a long journey for my brother and I,” added Joles who said this was his last wrestling tournament.
Although he loves wrestling, Trett has decided to follow his heart and passion which has lead him to accept a scholarship to play Division 1 baseball at Indiana State this coming fall.
“He is going to be a heck of college baseball player,” said Olson. “Would I like to see him continue to wrestle? Everybody would but he is going to do awesome with baseball.”
But don’t be surprised when Joles shows up during the December break later this year to push his practice partner Tyler Dormanen, a third-place finisher at 160 pounds in this year’s state tournament.
“I enjoyed wrestling every day with Tyler, my practice partner,” stated Joles. “We both made each other better. He did great in this tournament and I did great.”
So when his winter break rolls around, Trett Joles will likely be back in the Bulldogs’ wrestling room to help his former practice partner reach new heights.
“I said I would be back to be Tyler’s practice partner before next year’s state tournament and hopefully help him win a state title,” concluded Joles.
“Tyler was his practice partner, Trett coached him,” Olson said. “
“That’s Trett Joles,” continued Olson. “Kids just don’t do that, they kind of worry about themselves and you can get really selfish in the sport of wrestling (this time of year) because the team part is over and now you are going to do what you are going to do but not Trett.”
“He kept taking Tyler under his wing all the way though this state tournament series and got him to this third-place finish,” said Olson emphatically. “And he did a phenomenal job and that’s the type of kid that Trett is. He kind of stepped back to be Tyler’s guy. The bond they shared together this year was pretty special and you can see it here today how it all came together.”
While his teammates and coaches have had the privilege to practice and compete alongside him the past four years, most people will remember Joles for his tenacity and dominance on the mat that has made him one of Boyceville’s and the state’s best.
“I think he is as good as anybody, pound for pound, in the state,” concluded Olson. “When you can say that and coach a kid like Trett, that makes me a pretty fortunate guy.”