Weight up: Craig's Furseth sets hefty goals
Airk Furseth had big wrestling shoes to fill and much bigger opponents to try and fill them against.
The Janesville Craig wrestler spent his first two seasons feeling the pressure to live up to the accolades of older brother, Siven—one of the top wrestlers in Janesville history in terms of record.
The expectations were lofty enough before taking into consideration that Airk Furseth was wrestling opponents 20 pounds heavier than he was.
Now a junior, he has scaled back the pressure and bulked up to match his opponents at 106 pounds. It has led to an early season No. 3 ranking in Division 1 and a goal to finish on the podium in what Furseth hopes is his first trip to the WIAA state tournament in February.
“It’s just nice that I’m finally the same size as everyone,” Furseth said after winning the 106-pound title at the Whitewater Invitational on Saturday. “I was always a lot smaller than everyone. I grew about 15 pounds this year, and now I’m just as big as everyone, if not bigger.”
Furseth arrived at Craig in 2011 as a 80-pound freshman, the younger brother of a dynamic wrestler who lost just four matches over the span of his high-school career.
Figuratively and literally, there was an enormous weight on his shoulders.
The 106-pound class is the lightest, so he was wrestling competitors who were 20 percent bigger than he was. He quickly lost more matches in his freshman year than Siven Furseth—a state champ as a junior in 2010—lost in four.
“He only lost four career high school matches; I had 10 in one year, but I was only 80 pounds,” Airk Furseth said. “I put a lot of pressure on myself, and it was hard. Whenever I lost a match, I’d think about it.
“It’s less now that I know just how hard it was to do what he did.”
Furseth’s sophomore season was much more impressive.
He lost just three matches last year, but ran into heavier competitors at sectionals and fell short of a state berth.
“I should’ve made it to state,” he says, still a bit disappointed almost a year later. “But it’s hard (when you’re so much lighter). The guys are always so much stronger than you, so you can’t really do much. It was upper body, mostly. It made you tired just because they had all their weight on you, and they could just wear on you.”
Those days are over.
Furseth knew based on his brother’s experience that he was due for a growth spurt. Siven Furseth put on about 15 pounds after his sophomore year. Airk matched that, and grew three inches, this offseason.
“I knew (a growth spurt) was coming at some point,” he said. “I ate and lifted, worked out a lot. I ate a lot of hard-boiled eggs, milk, steak. I tried to just eat as much protein as I could.”
At No. 3, Furseth is one of the area’s highest-ranked wrestlers to start the season. Delavan-Darien’s Daniel Loomer (106, Division 2), Milton’s Nolan Shea (120, D1), Evansville/Albany’s Jordan Meyer (132, D2) and Brodhead/Juda’s Logan Maurer (285, D2) are each ranked No. 2.
Furseth hopes he can parlay the skills he learned while wrestling light into more than simply a trip to state.
“I used to just rely on my quickness, now I can use that quickness and my strength,” he said. “My goal is to win state or place top three at state. I think I can do it. I’m a lot bigger now.”