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D.C. Everest wrestling the Lehrke way

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:44 PM CST
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SCHOFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) - Since 1973 a Lehrke has coached at DC Everest. On Saturday, a third generation in the wrestling family will have a chance to make his mark at state.

When Freddy Lehrke clinched a 2nd straight appearance at state Saturday, it was a moment of joy

“It’s exciting, you know. All your hard work is just paying off,” Lehrke said just moments after winning his sectional in the 170-pound weight class.

Yet when the wrestling community sees the last name, it’s already familiar.

“Wrestling got me my first teaching job,” said Fred Lehrke, who coached at D.C. Everest from 1973-1990.

Fred Lehrke started it all. A football player in high school, he wanted a coaching job. Wrestling called.

“I took a wrestling job site on scene. I never wrestled. I had never even seen a wrestling match,” he explained.

That was in 1952, From there, he became one of the most well-known faces in wrestling. He first became a coach when wrestling was just becoming a sport.

Then, in 1973, he came to Everest. His passion rubbed off on his two kids.

“I just threw it out, you know, kind of tag along with my dad. And you know, we were little just kind of running around,” said Frtiz Lehrke, who is the youngest son of Fred and is Freddy’s dad.

“From what we remember, we were always around wrestling. I guess we wanted to be with my dad,” said Fred’s oldest son and current D.C. Everest wrestling coach Eric Lehrke.

With their dad at the helm, the brothers saw success. Eric placed second at state. four years later, Fritz won it all.

“That kind of steamrolled things in high school, just being able to do that,” Fritz said of his state title.

“You always wanted to do, you know how that brotherly competition and things like that,” added Eric about his relationship with Fritz.

Fred could see the passion in his kids.

“It got to them the same way it got to me,” he explained.

Both went to the Big Ten for college wrestling. Eric went to Minnesota and Fritz went to Michigan.

Flash forward to 2021, It’s a Lehrke once again in the fold donning a green singlet.

“It’s really cool and there’s a lot of stories behind it,” said Freddy about his family’s history in wrestling.

The craziest thing is he might be the best of the trio of wrestlers.

“Far as like talent and stuff and technique and stuff,” Fritz said, “He’s a hell of a lot better than I was”

“I don’t think he’s ever told me that,” added Freddy when he heard that his father described that about him.

He has a chance to make his mark Saturday, the third generation in a wrestling family.

“It means a lot to me because wrestling is so big in our family and I would love to carry on that tradition.”

And this time it’s his uncle Eric at the helm.

“Wrestling has become a part of the family,” said Fred.

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