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March 21, 2024
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Like Father, Like Son

Senior continues family’s wrestling legacy with State Championship win
While+his+father+Joe+Wier+celebrates+behind+him%2C+senior+Andrew+Wier+kneels+down+after+winning+the+MSHSAA+190+pound+State+Title%2C+Feb.+24.+Wier+finished+runner+up+at+State+last+year%2C+but+he+came+back+with+a+32-4+record+and+a+State+Championship+in+his+senior+season.+The+Lancers+finished+2nd+as+a+team+at+State+this+year.++
Mya Anspach
While his father Joe Wier celebrates behind him, senior Andrew Wier kneels down after winning the MSHSAA 190 pound State Title, Feb. 24. Wier finished runner up at State last year, but he came back with a 32-4 record and a State Championship in his senior season. The Lancers finished 2nd as a team at State this year.

“I scored a takedown and then I just sat there while the time ran out and held him down. I watched the clock run down and then it finally hit me when it hit zero that I won. As I went over to talk to my dad, he was crying,” senior Andrew Wier said.

The reason for wrestling Head Coach Joe Wier’s tears: Andrew had become a State Champion.

Andrew’s journey to becoming a State Champion started early as the Wier family is a wrestling family.

“At first I didn’t want to wrestle and [my dad] forced me to do it. But then I began to like it so then I kept doing it,” Andrew said.

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Despite Andrew’s initial dislike of wrestling, Joe, a two-time NJCAA All-American and Big Eight Gold Medalist at Mizzou, made him continue due to his respect for wrestling as a means of growth. 

“The impact that the sport has had on me as a person, the discipline that I’ve gained from it, the things I’ve felt like I could accomplish in the future. [It] made me want them to go through those same trials and tribulations of wrestling. It’s a brutally tough sport but what you become of it is everything,” Joe said.

On top of his dad motivating him, Andrew was further motivated to wrestle by his brother. 

“I was around [wrestling] all the time. I would go watch my brother at the State Tournament when he was in high school and I would watch him win. That would make me want to win too,” Andrew said.

With his father’s coaching and his brother’s wrestling, Andrew has been around Lafayette since he was young, according to Joe.

“He grew up just living in tournaments and he knew all the Lafayette stars,” Joe said. “ Andrew always knew he was gonna be a big guy because he was always playing with the big guys. But they would treat him like he was like a younger brother. So he’s been a younger brother for this program for eight years before he got here.”

Even before Andrew started officially wrestling, Joe knew he’d be a great wrestler.

“Andrew grew up more sturdy and physical, probably from being the youngest. He would do things like take a water balloon and put it under his sisters’ beds and then they would beat the mess out of him. So he was used to learning how to learn how to fight and battle most of his life,” Joe said.

Despite being able to see his son’s progression, there have been challenges to being a coach and a dad.

“It’s tough for them and it’s tough for me. Everybody thinks they are getting special treatment. I try to not be too overbearing because imagine living with your coach 24/7. I got better with Andrew than I was with my older boy. I felt like I was a little over the top sometimes. I think as a dad coach you get too emotional and you’re not a very good coach,” Joe said. 

It was more important for me to have a good relationship as a dad than it was to be a good wrestling coach to the kids. 

— Joe Wier

To keep a good father-son relationship, Joe tries to keep wrestling talk out of the house

“When I leave the wrestling room and I’m near him I don’t talk about wrestling. I just become Dad at home,” Joe said. 

For Andrew, while it’s difficult being a coach’s son, it has some upsides. 

“Sometimes it’s annoying because, when he’s coaching you all the time, it’s hard to listen to him. So that’s rough, but some of the other coaches will step instead. But, when it’s actually time to perform when he’s right there, it’s a lot easier to listen, because I know I trust him to come and do the right things,” Andrew said. 

Andrew had extra motivation for this season from his runner-up finish at State last year.

“When I finished 2nd, the whole summer, every time I was working out, that’s all I was thinking about,” Andrew said.

However, he wasn’t the only Wier to lose in a State Final.

After his win in the State Title match, senior Andrew Wier points up to his grandfather in the stands. Andrew lost his grandmother less than two months before the State Championship. “When I won I pointed up, I was pointing up to my grandpa, because he was holding something to remember her by and it felt pretty good,” Andrew said.(Mya Anspach)

“It was ironic that we lost by the same scores in the State Finals. I felt his pain. I was 42-1 in my senior year in Illinois. That was the only match I lost all year, a 6-5 match in the State Finals. But it changed me. I think if I would’ve won State I might have backed off. I was training the next week and I was working for my goals right away. I think Andrew was very similar, he knew he did not accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. So he got right back on the horse and started to work,” Joe said. 

Although Andrew used these roadblocks as motivation, he would face another obstacle in his journey only a month and a half before State, his grandma passing away.

“She would come to every event, and she always wanted me to win State,” Andrew said.

Joe believed this event powered Andrew to his State Title.

“My mom, his grandma, was hard-nosed. She was a tough lady in a loving way, but she also expected a lot,” Joe said. “Her mentality and her toughness, we’ve both celebrated it throughout our lives. Watching her become a little bit more frail and weak was hard. I think you feel like you have that loving spirit, that power behind you. Andrew definitely felt that all the way through the end of the season. He felt like he had his grandma with him the whole time.”

She always told me I was gonna end up being a State Champion.

— Andrew Wier

While Andrew usually doesn’t have his father coach him, he had Joe next to him on the mat at State.

“The only time I sat in [Andrew’s] chair was to coach him at the State Tournament this year,” Joe said. 

While it was different for Andrew, he still benefitted from this coaching change. 

“It was weird, because normally, I don’t really listen to the coaches, but I knew he knew what he was talking about, so I could just get that extra edge when he was talking,” Andrew said. 

When Andrew won State, Joe enjoyed the celebration around his son.

“[Lafayette] is his family. His whole entire life, he’s been here,” Joe said. “That was just very cool to see how much support from the community, from Lafayette, from everybody just celebrating with Andrew.”

This story was originally published on The Lancer Feed on March 26, 2024.