“Bird was a monster on the mat,” tweeted Abigail Ruckdashel, the managing editor of Wisconsin Wrestling Online.
Bird, a 2016 Burlington graduate, won the 120-pound state title as a freshman, was runner-up at 132 as a sophomore, and won the title at 132 as a junior.
He finished his high school career with a 152-10 record.
He was voted the All-Racine County Wrestler of the Year by the county’s wrestling coaches each of his first three years in high school.
He shared the award with fellow state champion Cody Nannemann of Waterford in 2013 as a freshman, won it outright in 2014 as a sophomore and shared the award with fellow state champion Max Fisher of Waterford in 2015 as a junior.
He finished his freshman season 44-4 and was 46-2 as a junior.
Bird earned All-County first-team honors each of his four years with the Demons program.
After Burlington, Bird planned to attend and wrestle at Chadron State College in Nebrasksa, but that apparently did not happen.
In the years since, Bird has returned to his hometown and was training to become a carpenter, Gribble said. Bird had purchased a house, was living in town and happier than ever, Gribble said.
“That’s the really sad, sad thing about this. He had really figured some things out and really knew what he wanted to do. He was on the right path,” Gribble said. “He was really happy. He was the happiest I had ever seen him.”