Millikin Hosts Open Tournament for Wrestling

Arica Burns

The men’s wrestling team are at the start of their season. Millikin recently hosted their open tournament, which consisted of nine different colleges to show what they were made of this season. In attendance among DIII schools was one DII school. 

Griswold gym was set up with six mats covering the floor, and there were six tables of Millikin’s wrestlers that were not competing. Three boys at each table to keep score, and tell the ref when it was time to reset.

There was no overall score as a team because these wrestlers were on their own in their matches. Although there was no overall score as a team, the Millikin men still brought their game to defend home territory.

“I thought overall everyone fought extremely hard. This score you only get what you earn,” Coach Birt said. 

Coach Birt went on to say, “Some of these guys didn’t get what they wanted, but now they realize maybe they’re not doing everything they can do to get better. So, it’s very humbling, but at the same time it’s something that, you look yourself in the mirror and you decide what you want. I’m excited about it.”

Bradan Birt, a junior and one of Millikin’s team captains, started off excited for the competition. He heard about a few guys scratching the night before, that he was excited to wrestle against, but he was still ready for the day. By the end of the tournament, Bradan had placed first in his weight class which is 165 lbs.

“No pressure, I just felt like I needed to prove to myself, I guess.” Birt said. “The last few weeks I haven’t had good practices, so I wanted to finally get a good tournament under my belt. Last weekend I wrestled and my match was 27 seconds, so I haven’t had a full match. I wanted to get one of those in so I know what it feels like to go the whole seven minutes.”

Jake Tisza placed second in the 174 pound weight class. Tisza is a junior and one of Millikin’s team captains as well. He’s changed his mentality from when he was younger because he wanted to have more fun and it’s easier to stay calm.

“You got to pace. You gotta move. Your mind’s always thinking, and you’re about to go out there and wrestle someone else. It’s just you and him.” Tisza said. “To stay calm, I look at my parents because they’re always here supporting me. I look at my brother and my teammates because they always got my back. It’s not necessarily to stay calm, but it’s more of getting in the mindset of, it’s go time and let’s fly and have fun.

Logan Hagerbaumer placed second in the 197 pound weight class in the tournament. Hagerbaumer went from the 184 pd weight class to the 197 pound weight class for this year. He’s got a method of staying calm, and that’s to listen to some rock music.

“I don’t really pay attention to how they wrestle.” Hagerbaumer said. “I saw them ranking and it just gives me more motivation. I was really excited to go out there, and have the opportunity to wrestle those high ranked guys. To show what i’m about and how good of a wrestler I am. I just like those opportunities.”

Millikin opened the floor to allow the individual wrestlers to go at it and see who’s the best. Each person earned their wins, and some had to deal with their losses. 

The men traveled to Roanoke,Virginia this past weekend for the Southeast Duals and the Star City Classic.