When you ask Waterloo junior wrestler Pat Bieber how he feels about being the first ever Bulldog wrestler to qualify for state he responds, “I’m going to be the first to win it.”
It’s not because Bieber thinks too highly of himself, but its because he is determined, disciplined and has put in the hard work to get there.
“If you can go through wrestling, then you can fight through anything in life.”
That’s Bieber’s mantra. To fight and give it your all. He works diligently in the offseason to perfect his craft. For example, Bieber wrestled in Germany last summer with the No. 1 kids group in the nation, Parker Suns of Thunder.
“I’m wrestling in the summer and fall when people are messing around and playing other sports, I was committed to wrestling.”
His commitment paid off this past weekend at the IHSA Matoon Sectional meet, where he placed second in the 182 pound weight class, making him the first-ever Waterloo wrestler to qualify for state.Pictured, from left, are Waterloo wrestlers Austin Stewart, freshman, and Pat Bieber, junior, who competed at the IHSA Matton Sectionals Saturday. Not pictured is Denis Wilson, senior, who also competed. That is the most wrestlers WHS has ever taken to the sectional meet.
Waterloo coach Pat Stewart is proud of his wrestler’s achievement, saying that it’s “fantastic, being the first one (to go to state).
“It was a big deal,” Stewart said, describing the team’s feelings after Bieber qualified Saturday.
WHS had three athletes (Denis Wilson, Pat Bieber and Austin Stewart) wrestle at sectionals, the most ever for the Bulldogs.
The history making didn’t end there. Senior Denis Wilson broke a WHS record for most wins in a season with 34 at the meet. Bieber’s current record is 33-7, putting him in position to possibly break the record this week in the three-day state tournament that starts Thursday.
“He will make some good history here,” Stewart said.
It’s history that will only be satisfactory to Bieber if it’s a state title.
“That’s the game plan, win it. Get on the top of the podium,” Bieber said with determination. “I won’t be happy with anything less.”
Bieber, ranked No. 9 in Illinois in his weight class, according to Illinois Matmen, could face the top five ranked wrestlers in the state this week.
But he says rankings don’t matter, pointing out that he is wrestling an unranked kid in the first round.
“It doesn’t come down to rankings anymore, it just comes down to who wants it,” Bieber said.
And you can be sure that Bieber wants it.
He has come a long way since he first took to the mat in eighth grade. Bieber says, he was an overweight child when he first started out.
“Then I found wrestling and fell in love with it,” Bieber said explaining that wrestling has inspired a healthy lifestyle and lit his fire and drive within.
“I just fell in love with the sport and wanted to do everything I could to get better.”
Despite his achievements, Bieber says he still has a long way to go to get better.
“I’m nowhere near where I need to be,” Bieber said. “I want to get a D-1 scholarship and win a national championship.”
“And it starts this weekend.”