Hello, My Name Is: Maddox Rye

The state-qualifying wrestler dedicated his career to growing the Wausau East program
Published: Feb. 27, 2023 at 10:15 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Maddox Rye’s parents gave him a choice on where he wanted to attend high school. Having lived all over the Wausau area, Rye chose Wausau East.

“It wasn’t really a big program when I came here,” said Rye. “It was just kind of a smaller one, we weren’t really doing so hot.”

The recent reputation wasn’t something that made Rye shy away. It was something he ran towards, wanting to grow wrestling at Wausau East.

“Just build ourselves up from a smaller program from a smaller program that wasn’t really alive to a program that now has some guys coming out that are competing with higher-level opponents,” said Rye.

Rye acknowledges that he could’ve picked a more traditional wrestling powerhouse school. However, that wasn’t what he was interested in.

“I didn’t just get into a program that continuously produced top-tier guys and I wasn’t just a part of it,” said Rye. “I actually helped build it to start gaining momentum.”

Over the course of his time in the East program, Rye has seen the program expand, with more competition in high school and a stronger turnout on the youth teams. However, he’s also grown himself.

Rye made it to Youth State as a middle schooler. In this, his senior year, Rye was able to taste state once again, qualifying for Individual State in Madison. In doing so, Rye became the first Lumberjacks wrestler to qualify in ten years.

”It was a relief to finally get there,” said Rye. “I felt accomplished. Like that was the best I felt all season.”

Rye lost his opening match but stayed for the entire weekend to share with his family and friends. For him, the entire experience is one that he’ll take with him forever.

“I don’t even know if I was nervous or excited,” said Rye. “You can’t tell what kind of feeling you have just walked out there. It’s exciting to be in front of all those people who came to watch you.”

State was just the tip of the iceberg in a sensational career for Rye. This season, he set the school record for pins in a season, and, became one of the winningest wrestlers in school history. The continued joy of wrestling is something that Rye never wants to end.

“Even though I’ve done it for 12 years, it’s my favorite thing to do,” said Rye. “It’s just like, what I do to relax almost. Every time I go in that wrestling room it just relaxes me. It’s hard work, but it’s 100% worth it to me.”

Rye now turns his attention to freestyle Greco competition. His hope is to join the U-W La Crosse wrestling team. No matter what the future holds, Rye is proud of the mark he’s left behind on the school he loves and hopes others can follow in his path.

“I will hope that younger guys after me will be able to experience it because there’s nothing really like it when it comes to wrestling,” said Rye.