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PdC native claims gold at Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championship

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Prairie du Chien native Alex Wasechek is pictured after placing first in the Super Heavyweight (222 lbs) Adult White Belt division of the 2024 International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Pan American Championship in Kissimmee, Florida. (Alex Wasechek/Submitted photo)

Former Prairie Wrestler and current Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor Alex Wasechek (right) poses with his IBJJF gold medal and coach Jesse Reine (left). (Alex Wasechek/Submitted photo)

By Derick Kelly

 

Alex Wasechek, a 2014 graduate of Prairie du Chien High School and a former sectional qualifying wrestler for the Hawks, recently became the top ranked Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation Adult Super Heavyweight Division white belt in the world after a first place finish at  the 2024 IBJJF Pan American Championships on Sunday, March 24 in Kissimmee, Florida.

Wasechek wrestled for the Blackhawks from 2010 to 2014 before becoming an assistant wrestling coach at West Salem High School from 2015 to 2018. While coaching for West Salem, Wasechek began his jiu-jitsu career. “I started training for Mixed Martial Arts at Ironworks in Holmen in 2018-2019, and while there, I got an introduction to jiu jitsu, but it wasn’t my primary focus at the time. I then took some time off the mats when I deployed to Afghanistan in 2019-2020 with the Army National Guard before returning home in the fall of 2020. After I returned home, I moved to Rice Lake.”

In Nov. 2022, after three years out of mixed martial arts, Wasechek heard about Origin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Rice Lake and has trained there ever since. “Origin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is ran by coach Jesse Reine, who is an IBJJF world champion black belt. Origin is a competition-focused jiu jitsu gym with no sign or advertising, according to Wasechek. 

“We train six days a week for about two hours each night. Three days are dedicated to technical drilling, two days are two-hour live sparring sessions, and Saturday is completion team conditioning. Our competition team consists of about 10-15 adults, who regularly compete in Minnesota and Wisconsin tournaments. But we also travel to larger tournaments in cities such as Chicago, Memphis and Nashville every couple months.”

The IBJJF Pan American Championship is one of the largest jiu jitsu tournaments in the world and the second most prestigious tournament IBJJF puts on each year. In 2022, there were over 4,600 athletes that competed at Pans across the different weight classes and divisions.

About the tournament in Florida, Wasechek aid, “We took eight members of the team to Pans. I fought in the Super Heavy (222 pounds) Adult White Belt division and was seeded third in my bracket. I received a first round bye, and then went on to win my quarter finals match 7-0, semi finals 6-0, and won by submission in finals match in 1:18. Getting gold at Pans gave me enough points to become the no. 1 ranked IBJJF Adult Super Heavyweight White Belt in the world. I was then promoted to blue belt on the podium after receiving my medal and will be making my blue belt competition debut on April 27 at the IBJJF Chicago Open.”

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