CADOTT — Brayden Sonnentag has been on a truly special path over the last several years.
It seems many have taken notice.
The Cadott standout wrestler put pen to paper in a ceremony on Wednesday as he officially signed to wrestle for the University of Wyoming, a Division I program that competes in the Big 12 Conference. Sonnentag will make the move from the small town of Cadott to Laramie, an environment he said that will still feel like home.
“It’s lots of goals all coming together at one time, and I went through that situation in my head before, accomplishing this big goal of mine to be a DI wrestler and it feels great,” Sonnentag said.
Sonnentag certainly brings the credentials to make the jump to high-level college wrestling. The senior has a 139-2 career record on the mat despite a shortened COVID-19 impacted 2020-21 season and three Division 3 state championships, winning titles at 106, 120 and 126 pounds to cap each of his first three seasons. He has entered rare air and is just one of 76 wrestlers in state history to win three championships. This season starts on Monday, and Sonnentag will aim for even loftier company as a four-time state champion — an achievement just 22 wrestlers in Wisconsin history have accomplished thus far.
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“This does not just happen,” Cadott coach Josh Spaeth said of Sonnentag during the ceremony. “Brayden set a goal at a very young age to be a state champion and it might’ve been at the youth level, state level and did he reach all his goals right away? Nope. But he always kept going back to work. So he chose to be rare. He is willing to do what others are unwilling to do. He’s not content in winning or defeat but rather always looking to improve so he can reach the end goal.”
He has joined John Burns (1979-81) as the only Cadott wrestlers in program history to win three state championships. Sonnentag also trained as CrassTrained in Altoona under owner and coach Jordan Crass, a former wrestler at the University of Wisconsin and a three-time state champion in his own right at Medford.
“I have a very awesome support staff from my family to my coaches — coaches here at Cadott, coaches at CrassTrained — everybody, they’re all great,” Sonnentag said. “For them to all be here with me today it’s very special.”
For Sonnentag, wrestling has truly been a year-around sport as he’s traveled across the country to wrestle in other tournaments. He’s taken losses there but has always learned from them.
“Cadott wrestling is not responsible for Brayden’s success,” Spaeth said. “Brayden is responsible for his success. He chose to be different and sought after the best coaches and the best training partners. He seeks out the best competition fully aware that he could lose and most important he practices when no one else wants to.”
Wyoming is entering its 15th season under coach Mark Branch and last year and is in its eighth year of competing in the Big 12.
But before that time comes, Sonnentag will start his final season as a Hornet on Monday with the peace of mind knowing his future is secured. Cadott returns a number of heavy hitters in its lineup led by five state qualifiers from a season ago including Sonnentag.
Cadott is scheduled to start the season with a tournament at Ellsworth on Dec. 3 and hosts Boyceville in a dual on Dec. 8 as Sonnentag begins his pursuit of rare air as a four-time champion and the possibility of becoming the winningest wrestler in program history.
“I train all the time,” Sonnentag said. “I’ve always been training, not taking the foot off the gas pedal (and) crossing the fingers a little bit, too. Anything can happen. I feel very prepared.”
Photos: Action from throughout the Individual State Wrestling Tournament in Madison