Congratulations to Winneconne High School on being presented with the Team Wrestling Sportsmanship Award!

We believe there’s something more important than just winning or losing a tournament. We believe that the team, school, and fans who support their athletes with dignity and class are the true champions. That’s why we’ve proudly sponsored the WIAA/Rural Mutual Insurance Sportsmanship Award for 56 years. 

We would like to congratulate Winneconne Wrestling on being this year’s recipient of the Team Wrestling Sportsmanship award. 

When talking with Head Coach, Tyler Lee, we asked him what this award meant to him as a coach, the team and community along with how they teach their athletes about sportsmanship. 

This was truly a historic season for our wrestling team; we were able to accomplish some amazing feats that our team, school and community are of course proud of.  When we were told that we also won the sportsmanship award it was truly the icing on the cake.  For me as a coach, having a team recognized for positive behavior and sportsmanship is evidence that we are doing the right things; our kids are truly “getting it”.    

I know our team appreciates this recognition, especially in a year every individual had to learn from adversity and embrace some obstacles/tough tasks along the way.  I know our athletes showed great resilience this year, but to do so and remain positive is a true testament of their character.  My hope is that our team takes a step back after receiving this award and understands that character and citizenship does matter.   

Our community has positively supported us even when they weren’t able to attend many events this year.  Our team page and Facebook page filled up on meet days with proud parents and community members posting pictures of their livestream set ups.  When we had to depart early in the morning for the state tournaments, our community lined the streets in the cold just to send us off.  We are so grateful for their support and understand that this award represents our great community too.   

When I first became a teacher and coach in Necedah 13 years ago, I was blessed with a co-worker and friend, Mark Horbinski, a mentor who stressed the importance of sportsmanship.  He founded a program called Won80, a return to sportsmanship.  He instilled in me the importance of behavior and actions over accolades.  I have now been in Winneconne, my hometown for the past 4 years and have been able to continue that message with my athletes here as well.  Our wrestlers are reminded often that they represent more than themselves, when they put on our Wolves Singlet, they are representing their team, school and community.  We have team meetings every day and these messages are reiterated often; our wrestlers know to respect and value their opponents and officials because without them we wouldn’t have the opportunity to perform.  In addition, we teach our wrestlers about influence; in their position they have the privilege to be a positive influence for their peers and younger generations watching/looking up to them.  Our athletes seem to be embracing these messages and now being recognized for it will be even more impactful.

Coach Lee stated that it didn’t take long in his 13 years of coaching to realize that his favorite part is instilling lessons beyond the sport he coaches.  He loves hearing from his athletes that he has coached in the past; their life stories after high school and their appreciation for what they learned along the way.  

Coach Lee said; “I am very proud of this team and the people that helped develop these young wrestlers to what they are today – their parents, teachers, community members in addition to the coaches (current, middle school and youth coaches) that have worked tirelessly to build this program to where it is and where it will push to go in the future.  What a season! And what incredible memories these young wrestlers get to carry with them always!”

Congratulation again on a great season and winning the WIAA/Rural Mutual Sportsmanship award. This is a great achievement for the Winneconne community.