2013 Mark Schmitz  Mineral Point (Small).jpgMark was raised on the family farm in Mineral Point by his parents Helen and LaVerne (Curly) Schmitz along with his 5 brothers and 2 sisters. It was the farm house and the front yard where Mark got introduced to wrestling from older brothers Doug and Dan. Many nights involved wrestling matches on the living room carpeted floors brother against brother. When dad saw someone was dominating the other he would pull a leg or an arm to even things out and keep the score close.

Like most large wrestling family's, wrestling has always a big part of our lives. Knowledge would be passed down from brother to brother. Mark recalls his older brother Dan, who wrestled a year for the Badgers, would come home and show new moves learned, out in the front yard.

Mark was blessed by being surrounded by the best wrestling coaches and teammates from junior high through college. Mark was coached in HS by Al Bauman and Richard Bingham. These two men knew that matches were won in the practice room. They made sure we had the best competition and work out partners in the wrestling room where you had to bring it every night. Mark's sophomore season he had to wrestle off his team captain (a state runner up the year prior) to make varsity squad every week. In HS Mark was a 4 time state qualifier from 1976 to 1979, placing 6th at 112, 1st at 132 and 3rd at 138 lbs. Mark was the first undefeated wrestler in the southern eight conference history. Mark finished with the most single class system wins in MPHS with 120. Mark was always recruiting to get class mates out for wrestling and made many lifelong wrestling friends from competing in AAU tournaments throughout the summers in high school.

Mark was recruited by Duane Kleven and the badgers. At Wisconsin Mark was coached by the best and wrestled among the greatest. The coaches were Duane Kleven and Russ Hellickson, both Hall of Famers. Mark was a five year letterman from 1980-84. Workout partners included, Andy Rein and Lee Kemp (also Hall of Famers) who were graduate assistant coaches, training for the 1984 Olympics. Although making varsity as a freshman at 142lbs, Mark found things tough going with a record of 12-12 while placing 4th at the Big Ten tournament and qualified for the NCAA tournament. Mark's parents could not be in two places at once, so they sent older brothers Doug and Dan to Michigan State to support him while they stayed back to support brothers Scott and Mike wrestling at the state tournament. As a sophomore Mark was seeded second at the Big Ten's but was upset in the first round. Mark's junior year at 150 lbs. he was the MVP at the Northern Open beating defending NCAA champion Nate Carr from Iowa State and a month later beating defending NCAA Champion Andre Meztker from Oklahoma in the Midlands tournament. Mark was chosen to compete in the East West All Star meet mid-season in Lehigh against Nate Carr where Mark lost a controversial match 8-7. Mark went on to win the 1982 Big Ten tournament. At the 1982 NCAA tournament Mark made it to the semi-finals getting beat by Kenny Monday and finishing the tournament with 6th Place All American honors. Mark's senior year was cut short in late December with a nerve injury in his upper back and was awarded a medical redshirt. Mark came back for a 5th year after a long summer of hard training with Andy and Lee. Mark moved up a weight class to 158lbs where he came up short taking 2nd in both the 1984 Big Ten finals and NCAA finals getting beat by Jim Zalesky from Iowa.

Mark's has many college memory's from being a co-captain of the team that set a team dual meet record of 22 wins, tying the school record with 5 individual All Americans in 1984, and beating NCAA champions Nate Carr, Andre Metzker, Kenny Monday and Kevin Jackson. The most memorable was beating Gary Langer from LSU (Ellsworth High School) in the Virginia Duals in the finals Wis. vs. LSU, 5 years after Mark was beaten by Gary in the quarter finals at the WIAA state wrestling tournament his senior year.

Mark was inducted into the Mineral Point Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Charter Member in 1997. Mark is currently assisting the local wrestling club in Monona Grove/McFarland with the youth program which is planning to have a JV team in the coming year. The wrestling program was dropped in both schools in the 90's.

The discipline, commitment and work ethic that was engrained on the wrestling mat is the same dedication Mark values in his life.

Mark and his wife Jody have been married for 28 years. They have two children, Samantha 26 and Lucas 22, raised in McFarland. He is very proud of both their academic and athletic achievements with being 3 sport athletes and competed at the college level.

Today, Mark is a Vice President with Rent-A-Center managing the company's retail division and has worked for this company since graduating from UW Madison, 29 years ago.