From West Salem to Worlds - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

From West Salem to Worlds


LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- The world of Devin Bahr is fairly simple--wrestle and win.

The freshman to be from West Salem doesn't much care what new challenges high school will bring, except for those challenges on the mat.

"Yeah, I'm pretty excited to wrestle in high school," said Bahr.

So, it's no surprise then that the six-time Wisconsin youth state champion went into the FILA National Tournament this past May with a singular focus.

"He was trying to qualify for Fargo," said La Crosse Area Wrestlers (LAW) coach Jeff Van Maanen. "That's another national tournament. That's a big USA national tournament. That was one of the qualifiers."

Qualifying for that proved no easy task.

Van Maanen said, "There's a three-year age group. He's on the low side of that, so he's wrestling juniors in high school. He wrestled a couple of state champs--high school state champs."

Winning, however, carried a little extra incentive.

"For cadets its a world championship qualifier," Bahr said. "So, if you win, you go to Worlds."

Bahr did just that. He earned his spot on Team USA for the World Wrestling Championships this August in Serbia.

"I don't know what to expect going down there, but I'm pretty excited," he said.

Don't let the understatement fool you. Bahr understands just how big it is to represent the United States against the best athletes from more than 15 different countries across the globe. Those who know him said that's just his "nose to the grindstone" nature.

Van Maanen added, "He's a great athlete. He's grown a lot more as a person--got more mature, but just a great kid."

Now, Bahr will face what's undoubtedly his greatest test yet. Still to him, it's just business as usual.

"[There's] a lot of practicing, just getting my weight down, getting ready for the tournament."

It's a simple approach to a world-class challenge.


La Crosse Area Wrestlers (LAW) Scholarship Fundraiser

- Proceeds to help Devin Bahr cover the cost of competing for Team USA in Serbia
- Saturday, September 7th, 6:00 p.m. at LAW Center (W3733 State Hwy. 33 in La Crosse)
- Tickets: $30 or 2 for $50

Order tickets by calling (608) 769-4471 or emailing

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