Out to make a mark at Craig

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Gazette staff
December 9, 2010
— As a high school wrestler, Mark Mullen thrived at Stoughton.

The 1987 graduate was on the Vikings’ 1986 and 1987 state championship teams, as well as qualifying twice for state as an individual.

Mullen now hopes to bring that same rich tradition of the Stoughton program to Janesville Craig. He’s in his first season as coach of the Cougars, and has set the bar high for his young, but talented team.

“We expect to do well, and that starts by making sure every kid that takes the mat is mentally and physically tough,” Mullen said. “There’s no reason this team can’t be wrestling through the end of February, and that’s our goal.

“The tempo has definitely picked up in the wrestling room, and I’ve got 43 wrestlers coming to practice who are athletic and willing to work hard.”

Mullen’s transition from Craig’s assistant coach for six years to head coach is made easier by the return of senior Siven Furseth. All Furseth did last season was win the school’s first individual state championship, finishing 40-0 en route to the 130-pound title in Division 1. Furseth is wrestling at 140 so far this season.

“Siven is not only a very good wrestler, but a great role model,” Mullen said. “He pushes each and every kid at practice to get better.

“He did a lot of work in the off-season, came into camp in great physical shape, and really, has no weakness on the mat.”

The other senior varsity wrestlers are Chris Pierce at 135, Jamie Kumlien at 125 and Kyle Upmann at 130. Kumlien also was a state qualifier last season, while Mullen said Pierce gives Furseth a better workout at practice than he often gets in his matches.

Freshman Anthony Skrede is the scheduled starter at 103, with sophomore Collin Leu at 112 and junior Ryan Ruble at 119.

Freshman Zach Mulrooney will wrestle at 145, while junior Chris Kubiak is at 152, senior Austin Clay at 171 and junior Nate Mather at 171.

Junior Zak Kurtz, sophomores Tyler Chilson or Drew Grassi, and sophomore Dakota Pearson will fill the varsity spots at 189, 215, and 285, respectively.

“Beside a great group of kids to work with, I’m really excited about two things this season,” Mullen said. “One is to work with a great coaching staff of Jason Vogt, Tom Treiloff and Lane Furseth.

“The other is to implement the leadership skills and strategies I learned while being an assistant here under Bill O’Leary. I think it’s going to be a great season for Craig wrestling.”

Craig’s schedule:

DECEMBER: 10—At Madison Memorial, 7 p.m.; 14—Middleton, 7 p.m.; 17—West Allis Central Invitational, 11 a.m.; 23— Badger State Invitational (Alliant Energy Center), 10 a.m.

JANUARY: 7—At Verona, 7 p.m.; 8—Craig Invitational, 8 a.m.; 14—Madison West, 7 p.m.; 15—South Milwaukee Invitational, 8 a.m.; 22—At Beloit Memorial (with Madison East, Madison La Follette and Sun Prairie), 8 a.m.; 28—At Janesville Parker, 7 p.m.

February: 5—Big Eight Conference meet, at Janesville Parker.

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