Janesville Craig wrestlers eye run at Big Eight title
Are the days of Janesville Parker and Janesville Craig dominating Big Eight Conference wrestling finally coming to an end?
Don’t count on it.
Craig High likely will be in the title hunt in Saturday’s conference meet at Parker, while the host Vikings have two returning individual conference champions.
Sun Prairie, however, remains the team to beat. The Cardinals went 9-0 in winning the Big Eight dual- meet title this season and are the defending conference tournament champions.
Sun Prairie beat Craig, 38-36, in this year’s battle for Big Eight supremacy during the regular season.
“Our success starts with what we’re trying to do with our youth and middle school programs,” Sun Prairie coach Jim Nelson said. “We’re getting kids out, and that’s something we haven’t always been able to do.
“We’d still like to get more kids out, but the effort we’ve gotten from this year’s group is tremendous.”
Janesville has three conference champions returning, led by Craig’s Siven Furseth. The senior and defending Division 1 state champion at 130 pounds is 31-0 this season at 135 and is looking for a fourth straight Big Eight title.
“Siven is wrestling as well as anyone I’ve seen in a long time,” Craig coach Mark Mullen said. “He has had a dominating season.”
Mullen said Sun Prairie is the team favorite but knows the Cougars can contend.
“We have to pick up some bonus points with pins wherever we can,” Mullen said. “We’ll likely move some kids up in a few weight classes because we want to try and do whatever we can to win the tournament.
“Everybody in the lineup is going to have to contribute points. If that happens, our lightweights will really help in the overall team score.”
Along with Furseth, the Cougars’ Jamie Kumlien (119), Kyle Upmann (125) and Chris Pierce (130) are a combined 119-10 this the season.
Parker seniors Adam Cavey (27-8) and Brennan Casey-Schmidt (32-4) will defend titles at 125 and 130, respectively.
Other returning champions are Brian Woods of Verona, Collin Enstad of Sun Prairie, Kurt Lindeman of Middleton and Cedric Hooser of Sun Prairie.
Saturday’s preliminary bouts begin at 10 a.m., with the title bouts scheduled for 5 p.m.