ST. MICHAEL – After signing with the Unversity of Augsburg to continue his wrestling career in college, there was just one thing missing for Watertown-Mayer’s Austin Gabbert in his high school career – a state title.
Wrestling at 132 in Class AA, Gabbert finished his magical season with a state title after beating Hancock’s Davin Rose via a 4-3 decision in the state title match, securing that elusive state title he’s been looking for.
“Ever since high school started, all I dreamed about was getting a state title,” Gabbert said. “As you can imagine, that long desire to win felt good.”
Gabbert found himself in a battle as he was just one win away from his ultimate goal. Trailing 2-1 after one period, Gabbert found himself down 3-1 after an escape from Rose. With just under a minute left in the second period, Gabbertt delivered with a takedown to tie the match.
An early escape in period three was the difference as Gabbert’s state title dream became true.
“The feeling felt so unreal and still does now,” Gabbert said. “Seeing the people supporting me was the most immaculate part about it all.”
It’s been an impressive past two seasons for Gabbert in a Royals uniform. After taking second place at state his junior year ago, he refused to come up short of his goal this time around.
“For Austin to win a state championship was awesome,” Royals coach Kurt Becker said. “He has worked so hard and put in so much time to get to the level he is at. It was great to see it pay off. He is so deserving. He is always trying to improve and asking questions and working to get better. We saw that in his finals match again when he reversed the outcome of his match from a week prior.”
As Gabbert moves on, he’ll leave an impressive legacy at Watertown-Mayer behind. Not only did he reach state all four years, but placed as well.
“Austin is, without question, one of the most talented wrestlers to come through Watertown Mayer’s wrestling history,” coach Bill McDonald said. “For someone to qualify for the state tournament four times and place all four times speaks to how good he really is. His improvements over the years were dramatic and that was due to the time he put in the off-season doing camps and clubs and working out on his own.”
With his state title, Gabbert joins an elusive club at Watertown-Mayer which was a fitting way to cap off his impressive career.
“He deserves to be one of only five in Watertown‘s history to win a state championship,” McDonald said. “When he came off the mat in the finals after winning a state title, I smiled and looked at him and all I could say was welcome to the club and you deserve it.”
Follow Kip Kovar on Twitter: @Kovar_HJSports