Janesville66°

Underwood, back from injury, gives Milton a boost

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THOMAS J. MILLER
February 28, 2008
— Wrestling wasn’t an automatic sell to Seth Underwood.

The uniform was a problem to start with.


“I tried it in second grade,” the Milton High senior said. “I didn’t do it because I didn’t like the singlet.”


Five years later, he got over that. The success of the Milton High squad when he was in middle school attracted many youngsters to the demanding sport.


“A lot was watching the older guys,” Underwood said. “The 2002 season when they went to state and won it—that got all of the young kids into it.”


Now, Underwood and his Red Hawk teammates are creating their own recruiting run. Milton will take on Kaukauna in a quarterfinal match of the WIAA state team tournament at the UW Fieldhouse in Madison on Friday night.


“This is do-or-die,” Underwood said. “This is our last tournament. Us seniors want to go out with a bang.”


Underwood will take a 14-8 record into his 189-pound match. He is facing the biggest challenge of all the Red Hawks as he is scheduled to take on two-time state champion Joe Budi, who is a combined 99-0 during his junior and senior seasons.


Underwood is ready for the challenge after returning back from knee surgery, which delayed the start of his senior season. Underwood is coming off his third state individual tournament, and won his second Southern Lakes championship this year at 189 after earning the 171-pound title as a sophomore. He was conference runner-up at 160 pounds last year.


While Underwood’s senior season had a delayed start, one of his closing matches will be his most memorable. Underwood wrapped up Milton’s stirring 33-27 victory over Stoughton with a 7-4 decision to put the Red Hawks in the team state tournament.


“I was confident,” Underwood said of the match in the packed Stoughton gymnasium. “I had wrestled him in the (Kaukauna) Cheesehead (tournament), and it was my first tournament back from my knee injury. I lost to him, but I wasn’t wrestling that good, so I knew I was going to beat him.”


Underwood lists that win and making it to state as a sophomore at 171 as the most memorable events of this career.


Underwood says his strength on the mat is takedowns. He is most comfortable wrestling on his feet.


“It’s something I’ve always been strong at,” Underwood said. “And I’m gotting better and better at it.”


He has spent summers wrestling in Greco-Roman and freestyle tournaments. Greco prohibits moves below the waist, putting the emphasis on throws. Freestyle puts the emphasis on wrestling on your feet.


For someone who got a rather late start to the sport, Underwood doesn’t plan on having it stop once his high school career is over. He plans to attend UW-Whitewater and wrestle for the Warhawks.


He will be joining his older brother, Derek, at Whitewater. Derek will be a junior running back on the Warhawks’ defending NCAA Division III national championship football team.


Seth said his brother has been helpful getting him prepared for college during his senior year.


His high school athletic career will end this weekend at the UW Fieldhouse.


He can smile about how he turned from watching some great Red Hawk wrestlers into becoming one of them himself.


“At dual meets, kids are always calling your name and giving you high fives,” Underwood said. “It’s neat.”



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