PRINCETON — There have been a number of great champions to come through the Princeton Invitational Wrestling Tournament in the first 50 years of the annual showcase of the state’s small school talent. None have accomplished what Dakota’s Josh Alber has done.
The Dakota senior standout became the first to win the PIT championship four times, defeating Plano senior Shawn Wollenweber by a 15-0 tech fall Saturday evening at Prouty Gym.
It was just another day in the office for the defending state champion and No. 1 ranked wrestler at 132 pounds by Illinois Matmen. He’s now 156-0 for his high school career.
“It’s been a great year, just a year for firsts,” Alber said. “I wrestled Jared Cortez, No. 1 ranked in the nation, and I beat him. Now I did (won the PIT). It just feels great to reach the level I knew I could get at, to do things that haven’t been done yet. I’m kind of in uncharted waters. It feels good just to be the only guy who has done it.
“I’m looking at the PIT shirts and got Eddy Martinez, who was one of my idols. It’s an honor to be the only guy to do it. I’m sure there’s been a lot of guys in the same situation as me and couldn’t capitalize. So it just feels to get through it and get over it.”
Alber rolled to Saturday’s championship, turning and rolling Wollenweber to the tune of a 15-0 whitewash. The only real thing to slow him down was a tumble to the mat, but he was able to pass the inspection of tournament trainer Dr. Rich Everett and continue on.
“I didn’t really know Shawn. He looked quick and strong. (I just wanted to) keep a good stance and my dad told me go out and wrestle hard and try to have fun,” Alber said.
Wrestling is a way of life for Alber, who's uncle Pete Alber is the Dakota head coach and his dad, Tony, is the assitant coach. The Albers are either on the mat or talking wrestling 24/7 and that’s the way the young Alber likes it.
“We eat and sleep wrestling, but that’s how I want it to be. That’s all we talk about it. We watch wrestling videos more than we watch TV. That’s the kind of life I love. When you’re born into it and grow up doing it, you love everything about it.”
Alber has signed to wrestle for the University of Northern Iowa. Before that, he wants to finish off the rest of the season and take care of business down the state tournament trail.
“I can’t wait to finish it off and do it all right,” he said.
PHS coach Steve Amy doesn’t doubt Alber will do just that.
“He’s always going to be the wrestler in the gym. Goes out and proves it every time he steps out on the mats,” Amy said.
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