Growing up as the son of Lake Highlands’ Hall of Fame wrestling coach Pete Grieder, senior Isaac Grieder estimates he’s been to the UIL state tournament 10 times in his lifetime. None of them were as important as the one he’s competing in this weekend.
Grieder is 55-0 in the 160-pound division and if he wins state, he could become the first LH wrestler to finish undefeated.
"That’s my goal," Grieder said. "If I go undefeated I would be the first wrestler in LH history to do so. So I’ve got a lot riding on me."
Teammate Isaac Kinsella is also undefeated at 35-0 in the 135-pound class and could beat Grieder to the honor if he wins state. In team records dating back to 1991, Austin Cordova has come the closest of any LH wrestler to going undefeated. Cordova was 44-1 in 2007 and 36-1 in 2008.
Grieder went 53-2 last year when he lost in the 160-pound state final to Canyon Randall’s Jace Bennett, 5-4. Bennett has since moved up to the 189-pound division.
Grieder’s toughest competition this year appears to be Austin Westlake’s Sawyer Morris, who is also undefeated at 29-0. Grieder and Morris would meet in the semifinals if both advance unscathed.
This will be Grieder’s third time to compete in the state meet, Friday and Saturday at Austin’s Delco Center. He says having that experience is an advantage.
"There’s a lot of yelling, it’s really hard to think," Grieder said. "There’s a lot of pressure on you."
Grieder said he also knows not to wrestle defensively, which a lot of state qualifiers make the mistake of doing. He plans to be aggressive from the start.
"I’m going to give it everything I’ve got," Grieder said. "No holding back. I don’t have another chance. If a guy beats me, it’s going to be because he’s better than me."
Stay tuned to the LH Sports Blog for updates from the state wrestling meet throughout the weekend.