(Prep Wrestling) Crossing Cultures

ISHPEMING – Fredrik Sidl has been wrestling for only about six weeks.

The exchange student from Sweden, however, is already showing he can hold his own on the mat by winning a match in last Saturday’s Mid-Peninsula Conference meet at Westwood High School

Sidl, now a senior at Ishpeming High School, finished 1-2.

He dropped a 4-2 decision to Manistique junior Michael Brock in his 189-pound opener, then bounced back with a 5-0 victory over Gwinn junior Jeff Daher. He was then pinned in two minutes, 36 seconds by Norway junior Shane Brasil in the second consolation round.

“We had a pretty long football season,” said Sidl, who played on the Hematites’ state championship team last fall. “This has been an incredible experience. It’s an opportunity to test your strength, but it also takes a lot of willpower. It includes a lot of different factors and technique is one of the keys. It’s a tough six minutes.”

Being new to wrestling, Sidl admitted he didn’t really know what to expect coming into this season.

“My goal at the beginning of the season was to win at least one match, and I have won a couple matches,” he said. “I’m happy with that. We don’t have wrestling in Sweden. It’s really cool to be able to do it here.”

Sidl said he was impressed with Norway, which retained its league title.

“They (Norway) are really motivated and focused,” he added. “I can see they take their wrestling seriously.”

Sidl is also impressed with the attendance at area sporting events.

“Sports don’t get as much attention in Sweden,” he said. “We wouldn’t see as big an audience over there.

“Football is such a big sport in America. At our football games we had a very big audience, which was pretty exciting. Football was a different experience for me. In Sweden, we have soccer which is called football.”

Once wrestling is over, Sidl plans to participate in spring sports at Ishpeming.

“I will probably try track and field,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about which events I’m going to do, but I’ll probably run middle distance.”