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Local wrestlers begin state tournament

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Craig Henquinet
February 27, 2009
— Even as the competition gets ramped up, Siven Furseth keeps earning impressive victories and accolades.

The Janesville Craig High School sophomore claimed two more victories Thursday in the opening day of the WIAA state individual wrestling tournament at the Kohl Center to reach the Division 1 semifinals, which are at 7 tonight.


Furseth opened with a pin of Chippewa Falls’ Izzy Balsiger (36-8) in 3:24. In the 112-pound quarterfinals, Furseth followed up with a 9-0 major decision over Josiah Bobier (35-12) of Kaukauna.


“I just wanted to take it to him,” Furseth said after his win over Koch. “I can’t let up. Otherwise, he’s going to get some air.”


Furseth took control early, with a near-fall in the first period for a 5-0 lead and never let Bobier back in contention.


“It was the exact same thing that happened in the sectional finals,” Furseth added. “He sat outside, but I brought him straight back and got the near fall.”


His coach is certainly impressed.


“I don’t know who can stop him,” Craig coach Jeff Kaster said. “He’s got that look, and he’s determined. He’s really focused. He learned a lot from last year. He’s got to take it to them.”


Furseth reached the quarterfinals last year, but lost to eventual champion Alex Dieringer of Port Washington and did not place. Furseth will face Blake Koch (39-5) of Reedsburg in the semifinals for a berth in the title match.


“Siven is the best wrestler Craig has ever had,” Kaster said. “He already has 86 wins, and he’s only a sophomore. A hundred wins is a milestone for a wrestler in his career. Siven will have over 100 pins in his career.


“I just sit in the corner and watch. Once in awhile I hand him the water bottle.”


Elkhorn also had a notable day as Ryan Slack and Richard Kessler reached the Division 1 semifinals.


Slack defeated Logan Cudd (40-5) of River Falls, 15-4, in his preliminary round match at 119. Then, he broke away from a slim 3-2 lead after the first period and won an 8-3 decision over Sun Prairie’s Chase Steiner (42-9) in the quarterfinals.


“He got a takedown right away, but I kicked it in gear,” Slack said. “Then I just controlled him on top.”


The sophomore will face Shane McQuade (47-1) of Appleton West in the semifinals.


Kessler rebounded from his runner-up finish in the sectional tournament with two victories Thursday at 171. He did not give up a point, claiming a 7-0 decision over Andrew Fix (23-12) of Racine Case and a 1-0 win over Luke Ortscheid (36-18) of Wausau West.


The quarterfinal match was scoreless after two periods, until Ortscheid conceded a free release of Kessler for an escape to start the third period. The lone point stood up as Kessler held off Ortscheid over the final two minutes.


“He was just looking for points off of his front headlock and he wasn’t going to get them,” Kessler said. “He thought he was going to score a takedown, but he wasn’t going to get it. I don’t feel bad about it, a one point win for me is not that unusual.”


Milton had two wrestlers reach the Division 1 quarterfinals, but both Shaun O’Neill and James Miller lost decisions.


At 140, O’Neill lost a 7-3 decision to Joey Woppert (44-4) of Brookfield East, while Miller lost a 3-2 decision to Tyler Christensen (40-3) of Middleton.


“I feel like in our two quarterfinal matches we allowed the matches to be dictated by forces outside of our control,” Milton coach Pat Jauch said. “You can’t put the referee in a position to decide a match. The truth is you are allowed to sit on a lead a little bit more up here.”




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