Cale Anderson is only 15 years old, but he has always looked for opportunities to challenge himself as a wrestler.
Sometimes that happens in the Coulee Region, sometimes it doesn’t.
Anderson is leaving home again on Wednesday. Actually, he is leaving the country on a flight out of Chicago.
The Viroqua High School sophomore-to-be will represent the United States at the Cadet World Team Championships in Zagreb, Croatia, later this week after qualifying for a spot on the roster a couple of weeks ago in Akron, Ohio.
“This has been a goal for me for awhile,” Anderson said on Saturday.
“I’ve been training for this. It’s one of the big things on the schedule, and it worked out.”
This will be Anderson’s second international competition since finishing third in the Division 2 106-pound bracket at the WIAA individual state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison on Feb. 24.
He also wrestled at the Tallin Open in Tallin, Estonia, at the end of March. He placed second in Greco-Roman and third in Freestyle, winning five Greco matches and five Freestyle matches. Anderson was selected to compete for that team before qualifying for this one.
“It is the biggest tournament they have in Europe,” said Anderson, who was there for six days. “I competed and then went to a camp there and saw a lot of international competition.”
Anderson, the son of Viroqua wrestling coach Eric Anderson, burst onto the scene and won 49 matches as a 106-pound freshman. He placed fourth at the Bi-State Classic before winning Coulee Conference, regional and sectional championships.
It paved the way for a successful run in his first attempt to qualify for this team, which has 10-person Greco and Freestyle roster for both boys and girls. Anderson is one of four competitors from Wisconsin and is eligible to be part of the team three more times.
Stoughton’s Hunter Lewis joins him on the Greco roster at 121 pounds. Anderson is wrestling at 100 pounds and wrestles his first matches on Saturday morning.
Stratford’s Macey Kilty, and Mosinee’s Kiana Pugh are on the girls Freestyle roster.
While Anderson is comfortable in both disciplines, he said Greco — focused on upper body attacks instead of leg attacks — suits his style a little better.
Regardless, he is happy to get the chance to represent his country this week and test himself against elite competition.
“I just want to represent the U.S. and give it my best and see how I rank against the world competition,” Anderson said. “I want to see where I am (wrestling) on this level.”
Then, it will be time for a break. Anderson has been busy since the high school season ended. He also competed in state Greco and Freestyle events and drove to Rochester, Minn., for the Northern Plains Regional in each discipline. He won his Freestyle bracket and placed second in Greco in Rochester.
The time off will give Anderson some down time before having to figure what he will do follow up his freshman season with the Blackhawks.
“I’ll do this, take some time off and just let my body grow,” Anderson said when asked what weight he might wrestle next season. “We’ll see where I am in the fall. I’m not sure where I’ll be next year.”