The last bit of business was attended to Wednesday, when Jared Krattiger signed his letter of intent to wrestle for the University of Wisconsin.
And now it’s time to focus on what should be a senior season to remember at Waterford High School.
With his troublesome shoulders both surgically repaired and plenty of credentials to speak of, Krattiger will report to his first practice of the season Monday. He has a 142-4 career record, three state medals and is coming off an impressive outing at the just-completed Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C., to carry into the season.
Krattiger was one of several students from Racine County Schools who planned to sign national letters of intent on what was the first day of the signing period.
“It’s a dream coming true now,” Krattiger said before signing. “I just want to get it official. I’m excited. It’s another steppingstone.”
Krattiger was undefeated last season before he lost 3-2 to Jackson Hemauer of DeForest in the 182-pound semifinals of the WIAA Division I Tournament. He was leading 2-1 in the final 10 seconds before losing the match on a controversial stalling penalty followed by an escape and finished with a 50-1 record.
Motivated from that disappointment and healthy after undergoing right shoulder surgery April 11 – he had surgery on his left shoulder in 2015 – Krattiger could be better than ever.
“He’s hungry,” Waterford coach Tom Fitzpatrick said. “He wants a state title and anybody who steps in his way this year is going to be in trouble. He had something taken away from him last year that was his and now what it is for him is a burning desire. It isn’t a pressure thing with him. He wants this so bad because of his hunger and competitiveness.”
Krattiger gave a strong indication of what is to come this season when he placed third at 182 pounds at the Super 32 Challenge Oct. 27-29. The event featured several of the top high school wrestlers in the nation.
Other programs that offered Krattiger scholarships were Michigan State, Central Michigan, Northern Iowa, Old Dominion and South Dakota State. His scholarship covers 80 percent of all college expenses.
Here are other county athletes who were expected to sign national letters of intent Wednesday:
After a record-setting career at Waterford, Mia Grunze made it official Wednesday. The 6-foot-3 outside hitter signed a letter of intent with Ohio State, which is giving her a full scholarship.
Grunze, who also received a full scholarship offer from Purdue, had 570 kills, 342 digs and 50 aces as a senior for the Wolverines (27-10). She ranks first in Waterford’s history in kills (1,732) and digs (1,212).
Why did Grunze choose Ohio State?
“It’s kind of hard to explain, but it was the vibe of it,” she said. “My personality fit in with the girls and I really liked the coaches and the campus is a really, really good environment. I’m excited.”
Fresh off the WIAA Division 1 state championship Burlington won Saturday by defeating previously unbeaten River Falls, three starters are signing with college programs.
Leading the way is outside hitter Abby Koenen, who finished off River Falls with the last spike of her prep career. Koenen has received a full scholarship to UW-Milwaukee.
“It means a lot to me to stay close to home so my family members and past coaches can come watch,” said Koenen, a three-year starter who had 438 kills, 218 digs and 45 aces as a senior. “A lot of Burlington coaches have actually played at Milwaukee before me, so it’s kind of cool to kind of carry on the tradition.”
Koenen, who has a 3.9 grade-point average, also considered UW-Green Bay and St. Cloud State.
Brooklyn VandeHei, a two-year starter who played every position as a senior, has received a partial scholarship to Keiser University, an NAIA program in West Palm Beach, Fla.
“I’m real excited because I’ll be able to play beach volleyball and indoor volleyball,” said VandeHei, who had 166 kills, 248 digs and 39 aces.
Vandehei, who has a 3.5 grade-point average, plans to pursue sports management.
Tamlyn Kretschmer plans to play for Division III Carroll College in Waukesha.
Jaina Westphal, who has started three seasons for Burlington, will play for Valparaiso, a Division I program in Valparaiso, Ind. Westphal, who also considered Wisconsin and Charleston Southern, will receive a full scholarship.
She is primarily a middle infielder who has played every position except pitcher. As a junior last season, Westphal hit .407 with a .477 on-base average who scored 18 runs as the Demons’ leadoff hitter.
Westphal, who has a 4.0 grade-point average and is ranked 39th in her senior class, found Valparaiso’s 20-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio especially appealing.
Megan Koch, who earned first-team All-Southern Lakes Conference honors after averaging 42.2 for nine holes for Union Grove, is headed to Division II Minnesota-Mankato. She will start receiving a partial scholarship starting with her sophomore year.
“I wanted to play Division II, I liked the size of the school – there’s about 15,000 students – and I like that it’s far away, but not too far away,” Koch said.
Burlington senior Kya Kafar, a second-team All-SLC selection after averaging 48.3, is heading to St. Francis, an NAIA Division II program in Joliet, Ill.
Jenna Hotvedt, a member of the Burlington Co-op swim team, has signed with UW-Milwaukee. The three-year varsity regular, who won the 500-yard freestyle in the Southern Lakes Conference meet as a freshman and a senior, is receiving a partial scholarship.
Hotvedt expects to compete in the 1,000 and 1,650 freestyles along with the 200 backstroke at UMW.
Track & field
Haleigh Reindl, who was second as a Waterford junior in the 800 meters at the WIAA Division 1 Track & Field Championships last June, is signing with the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Reindel was named the All-Racine County Athlete of the Year in girls track.
The particulars of Reindl’s scholarship are not known.