BEAVERTON – If the past year can teach us anything it is that a positive attitude and hard work lead to success. You don’t have to look any farther than Beaverton’s Jake Fischer for an example. Fischer finished second in last weeks Division 4 State Tournament in the 285-pound class. “It was kind of a rough year this year wondering if we were going to get to wrestle,” said Fischer. “But I was still having fun going to practice. I have always enjoyed practice and hanging out with my team and coaches.
Coaching is a family affair at Beaverton with Bryan Cassiday and his sons Eric and Kyle teaming up to work with the wrestlers. Eric and Kyle are former state champions so the Cassiday’s know what it takes to compete at a high level. They instilled a belief in Fischer that he had what it takes to compete for his own state championship. When schools finally got permission to begin contact practices Fischer was ready to go.
Fischer spent most of the season wrestling at 215lbs. along the way he collected his 100th career win. “I would occasionally bump up to 285 if Eric wanted to look for better competition,” said Fischer. “I wrestled at 215 last season and dropped down to 189 for the post season.” Fischer qualified for the state tournament at 189lbs. in 2020 but did not medal.
The decision to wrestle at 285 in the state tournament was made midseason after looking through all of the weight classes. “I was still considering dropping to 189, but we figured that the best road to the finals would be at 285,” continued Fischer. “I would be quicker than most guys and still have a lot of strength.”
At 208 pounds it would seem like wrestling in the 285-pound weight class would put Fischer at a big disadvantage, but he didn’t think so. “I wrestled with heavy weights every night in practice for three years so I am used to wrestling guys with more weight. Playing football and weight lifting all the time definitely helped,” he said. When Beaverton’s heavy weight graduated early Fischer lost his sparing partner forcing Eric Cassiday back to the mats. Having a former state champion to wrestle a couple times a week definitely helped prepare him for the post season.
McKabe Swanson from Manistique provided the competition in the opening round of the state tournament. Fischer, a number 2 seed, won that match with a pin at 1:39. From there the competition got significantly harder as he faced nothing but number 1 seeds the rest of the way. His second round opponent was Brandon Crawford from Colon. Trailing late Fischer scored a takedown to win the match 5-4 to move on to the semifinals.
In the semis Fischer faced Wally Gilbert of Jackson Lumen Christi. The match was scoreless for two periods before Gilbert got a reversal to take a 2-0 lead midway through the third period. He still held that lead when with 18 seconds left he made a series of mistakes that would cost him the match. Fischer scored three points the last of which was with four seconds left to secure the 3-2 win and a trip to the finals.
Fischer then had about two hours to prepare for his third match of the season against the states overall number one seed Isiah Pasik of New Lothrop. The two had faced each other in both the district and regional tournaments leading up to the state finals so Fischer and the coaching staff were familiar with their opponent. Pasik is a big man, which required some creative tactics to counter the huge size differential. “Kyle devised a plan to use elusiveness and speed to try to catch him off guard. I didn’t want to get underneath him, so I tried to go around the outside and get a take down.” Ultimately it didn’t work and Pasik came away with the victory.
“Jake Fisher had two goals at the beginning of the season,” said Coach Bryan Cassiday. The first to reach his 100th win, and second was to get his name on the All State banner on Beaverton’s gymnasium wall. His strong work ethic and positive attitude had everything to do with his success this season. Beaverton will miss its senior leadership.”
Fischer has also played tackle and defensive end on the varsity football team at Beaverton High School since his sophomore year. As he stated earlier he attributes some of his wrestling success to having played football. Football coach Aaron Seiser said that he is very proud of him “Jake is self-made. He dove into the weight room as a youngster to make himself the football player and wrestler that he is. Jake sets a high standard for himself. He is able to accomplish his goals through his work ethic and determination. Jake is a great example for BHS.”
After spending time this summer working for the Department of Natural Resources Field Office in Clare he will attend Delta College. He plans to study criminal justice with the hopes of becoming a Conservation Officer. He has an older cousin who is an officer and ever since he visiting the Career Technical Education program at Mid Michigan College he has wanted to go into criminal justice.
Beaverton fans won’t soon forget the joy Fischer exhibited after beating Gilbert. It’s what makes high school sports so special. He hugged everyone in site. It was easy to see how much it meant to him. “It felt really good to get to the finals because ever since we decided to go with the heavy weights Eric (Cassiday) has been telling me over and over again that you are going to the finals,” said Fischer. “He said you are going to meet Pasik in the finals and be wrestling for first place. I never saw myself getting there, I thought that I would place top five, but going to the finals as a heavy weight was a dream.” With the semifinal win all of the hard work had paid off and the uncertainty was gone. He had achieved a huge goal and proved that good things do happen to good people when they put the work in.