Posted on

Schwabe was pivotal to wrestler’s development

Schwabe was pivotal to wrestler’s development Schwabe was pivotal to wrestler’s development

Stratford varsity head wrestling coach Joe Schwabe wasn’t comfortable talking about his coaching career, now that he’s decided to retire. That’s fine because Tigers wrestling alum Kamren Bornbach is honored to tell people the impact Schwabe had on developing him into a three-time WIAA Division 3 individual state champion and a four-time Marawood Conference champion.

Schwabe’s head coaching record consists of 403 wrestling match wins compared to only 82 losses and one tie in 23 years. He guided the Tigers to three straight WIAA Division 3 state wrestling championships, but he is most proud of developing boys during their four years of high school into responsible adults when they graduate. Schwabe instilled the value of hard work into his wrestlers such as Bornbach, who has fond memories competing on the high school mat.

“Coach Schwabe first and foremost is a great person, a great teacher and a great coach,” Bornbach, who now attends UW-La Crosse, recalled. “My favorite memory from wrestling under coach Schwabe was when I won my third state title. It was my favorite memory because of how much it meant to me to be able to win three state titles and having him coach me to that achievement.

“It was a long journey for me to reach that achievement and he supported me every step of the way and always believed in me. That accomplishment was because of both of our efforts, consisting of his coaching and my preparation for every match. It was many years of hard work and dedication together, put into one surreal moment.”

Bornbach’s second favorite memory of having Schwabe as his varsity head wrestling coach occurred during his freshman year before the individual state tournament.

“I was talking to him about my wrestling weight class bracket for the state tournament during my study hall, and I remember telling him that my goal was to reach the semifinals and wrestle an undefeated senior,” Bornbach said. “He just looked at me and said, ‘My goal for you is to win a state championship.’ This is one of my favorite memories because it speaks to who he is as a person. He always believed in my abilities, even when I didn’t believe in myself.”

Bornbach doesn’t believe he couldn’t have become a threetime individual state champion and a four-time conference champion without Schwabe’s coaching guidance.

“Throughout my time wrestling for coach Schwabe, he helped me develop my skills that would ultimately lead to my success,” he said. “He was always supportive of me when I would lose a big match and he would help me work on the areas that I needed to improve. We would work on getting better in one area, and once we were better in that area, we would figure out something else I needed to work on. It was just a cycle throughout my time with him as my coach of having him constantly help me improve different areas of wrestling that would ultimately lead to my successes.”

Bornbach wrestled on Stratford’s squad that finished as WIAA Division 3 state runners-up in 2016 and on the 2017 squad that won the first state team championship in school history. He treasures those experiences wrestling at the state team tournament in the UW Fieldhouse in Madison.

“The team state experiences were very fun with coach Schwabe; he always tried to keep the mood fun and relaxed,” Bornbach recalled. “It was easy to compete for him because he always believed in us; it didn’t matter what team we were wrestling against because he always believed we could win.

“At team state, he always had our teams prepared to win. He always had a great plan on when to move wrestlers around. Then it just came down to each of us doing our jobs by getting pins or bonus point wins where we needed them. Winning team state title in 2017 was the best experience I’ve had as part of a team because all of our hard work finally paid off.”

Bornbach hopes his former coach enjoys his retirement from coaching.

“Wrestling for coach Schwabe was a honor and I have many memories I’ll cherish forever,” he said. “Whatever is next for coach Schwabe, I wish him the absolute best because he deserves it. I look forward to watching him go into the state wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame someday.”