With a bitter taste of a 3-2 loss to St. Paul’s Pete Galli in the 2010 MIS State Finals, Archbishop Spalding junior Will Switzer took to the 2011 finals with a focus no wrestler could deter.
Coming out as the second Spalding finalist, Saturday, Switzer started the Cavalier winning when turning a scoreless first period into an 8-3 decision for his first ever MIS State crown.
“It feels really good, especially since it came against Galli,” Switzer said. “He has beaten me a few times before; he beat me here last year, so it is nice to be able to get some revenge against him.”
Switzer and Galli wrestled a tight first period, ending in a scoreless tie, but Switzer immediately got on the board with an escape and quickly hit a “merckle” to take a 3-0 lead in the match. Another takedown would post a 5-1 lead into the third.
“I was able to get a couple takedowns and keep it to a match where he had to come at me,” Switzer explained. “That put him right where I wanted him, so it helped.”
But Switzer’s work wasn’t done there, and the junior caught his opponent to earn another three near-fall points for an 8-3 decision win.
“That kid has wanted it for two years,” Spalding coach Mike Laidley said of Switzer. “He lost a close one last year and a close one in the MIAAs, and he knew he had to wrestle a different match. I think everybody saw that it wasn’t a fluke, and Will took it to him and wasn’t going to let Galli score early and hold on.”
Added to his loss one year and 10 pounds ago, Switzer had fallen victim to Galli just a week prior to the MIS State Finals, dropping a 4-1 decision in the MIAA Finals,
There was a delay to the start to Switzer’s junior season, having troubles with weight certification bump the Cavalier wrestler out of his season beginning tournament at the Ray Oliver. But the time off the mat was used wisely by Switzer, who came back strong into the 2010-2011 season.
“It just kind of motivated me to come out that much harder,” Switzer said of the weight issues. “I wanted to show what I could have done at Ray Oliver.”
Starting the season at 145, Switzer competed in the War on the Shore, Battle at the Beach and earned his 100th career win.
“I think he looks outstanding and looks comfortable at where he is,” Laidley said about Switzer’s 140-pound season. “Charlie [Lynch] was always the pusher in the room last year, and now Will is stepping up to that challenge. Those two battle in the room and all the kids feed off of it. It is a good thing for us.”
Placing first, second and third in the MIAA, and likewise in the MIS, Switzer’s main focus falls to the National Preps. There, he left the tournament early with an injury his freshman year, but also placed seventh as a sophomore.
“I have matured a lot,” Switzer explained. “When I came in as a freshman, I was trying to just figure out what was happening and trying to get into the flow of things. This year, I know what is going on and know what the drill is, so I just have to get focused.”
After his 100th career-win, Switzer said his goals were to win a state title and place in the top three at the National Preps. With one goal checked-off, Switzer must now focus all his attention to next weekend.
“I just have to keep working hard,” Switzer said. “Work hard in the practice room and just keep going and hope to win.”