For 30 years, Joel Viss has not only coached the Chatfield wrestling team, he’s driven the team bus. That humble, do-whatever-it-takes attitude has certainly rubbed off on his team.
The Gophers completed a one-loss campaign with an impressive performance in the Class 1A team tournament, winning the state championship with a 38-22 victory over Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City. Chatfield took a 23-3 lead early and never let the No. 1-seeded Falcons gain any momentum.
“We definitely had a little extra drive today,” said senior 170-pounder Cody Bly.
For more than half of the members of the wrestling team, it was the second state championship of the school year. Chatfield won the Class 2A football title in November, which Viss credited as being a catalyst for the wrestling season.
“I told the guys on the football team that we were practicing the day after the Prep Bowl and you know what? Some of them showed up!” Viss said.
Viss knew he this team had a chance to be special this year. But he also knew that they would have to kick things up a notch to win a state title.
“We’re pretty positive with our guys, but I said that we would have to step things up to beat Atwater,” he said. “We had to win every match. Even the ones we lost, we had to be defiant. We wanted our body language to say we won.”
As if the night needed to get any better, Viss admitted that he had been relieved of driving duties for the state tournament. “I didn’t have to drive,” he said. “They got us a coach bus. Told us we needed to go in style.”