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SVE wrestling: Underclassmen put Cards over the edge

Senior Cruze Hurlburt in the sectional final against Durand. (Herald photo by Jalen Knuteson)

BOYCEVILLE -- At the beginning of the year, success hinged on how quickly an inexperienced group could learn on the fly at the varsity level.

On Tuesday, Feb. 14 in the WIAA Division 3 wrestling sectionals the Cardinals advanced to the team state tournament after defeating St. Croix Falls, 34-27, in the sectional semifinal and Durand, 48-30, in the sectional final at Boyceville High School.

It will be the fourth year in a row that Spring Valley/Elmwood is headed back to the UW-Field House on Saturday, March 4 where it will face Fennimore in the state semifinal.

“We got some big pins from the upper-middle weights and that’s what we needed,” SVE head coach Carter Turner said. “In a high pressure situation like this, you hope they can do it but sometimes they don’t.”

Sophomore Kenny Fesenmaier and freshman Clayton Neisinger are two of the inexperienced wrestlers that the Cardinals got major contributions from.

“(Neisinger) works hard,” said senior Cruze Hurlburt, who broke the school record for career wins. “(Dylan Bune and Seth Schlegel) make sure to take care of him at practice. They throw him around a bit and it has paid off.”

With the Cardinals leading St. Croix Falls, 28-27, in the sectional semifinals, Neisinger took the mat.

“I told him, this kid is a first-year kid and you have more experience than him,” SVE head coach Carter Turner said. “Don’t make this more than it is. Just go out there and wrestle like you know how to.”

Clayton Neisinger completes a pin against St. Croix Falls in the sectional semifinals. (Herald photo)Neisinger pinned his opponent in 1 minute and 53 seconds to send the Cardinals into the sectional finals.

And then there’s Fesenmaier.

“I’m really proud of Kenny,” Hurlburt said with excitement. “He runs a lot and is in great shape. He is always coming up to me in practice when I’m tired to wrestle live. He knows what’s going to happen but he’s always pushing himself.”

Fesenmaier pinned his opponent in 3:14. As Fesenmaier completed the pin, his teammates erupted. One of those excited teammates was senior Seth Schlegel.

“When you see a teammate wrestling a really tough kid and they can get him like that it really gets the team going,” Schlegel said.

In the first dual, Fesenmaier earned an 11-7 decision over Clay Carney, the ninth-ranked 152-pounder in Division 3.

Schlegel also added that it was great to see the underclassmen coming up clutch in the big moments.

“They’ve grown a lot,” he said. “They’re really getting the feel of what it’s like to be on varsity and handling all of the (emotions) that goes with it. They’ve really matured quickly and when it matters most.”

The seniors took care of business, too. Dylan Bune had a pin in 1:40 to get the semifinals match started and a pin in 1:24 to close out the sectional finals match. Schlegel pinned both of his opponents. Austin Turner had a first period pin in the sectional final and earned a 3-2 decision in the semifinals match.

This senior class was the first to win four conference titles, and now they’re the first class to go to state all four years.

“I’m pretty pumped,” said Hurlburt, who earned a pin and received a forfeit. “Mr. Turner has been working hard for a long time to make this program what it is, so to do this for him is really cool.”

SVE 48, Durand 30

106: Humphrey, D, pinned B. Anderson, :26; 113: Casey, D, pinned Deppa, 1:43; 120: Neisinger, SVE, dec. Dorwin, 11-5; 126: Bune, SVE, pinned Bauer, 1:24; *132: Se. Schlegel, SVE, pinned Crowell, :31; 138: Stevens, SVE, dec. Boardman, 10-3; 145: Casey, D, pinned Rielly, 6:36; 152: Hurlburt, SVE, pinned Schlosser, 1:42; 160: Hartung, D, pinned Hartung, 5:40; 170: Fesenmaier, SVE, pinned Biesterveld, 3:14; 182: SVE received a forfeit; 195: Hofacker, SVE, pinned Gilbertson, 2:43; 220: Turner, SVE, pinned Zeilinger, 1:33; 285: Abramson, Du, pinned Elsenpeter, 3:03.

SVE 34, St. Croix Falls 27

106: Thaemert, SCF, pinned B. Anderson, 3:17; 113: Yira, SCF, dec. Deppa, 10-5; 120: Neisinger, SVE, pinned Semmens, 1:53; *126: Bune, SVE, pinned Bushweiller, 1:40; 132: Se. Schlegel, SVE, pinned J. Wilson, 5:28; 138: Langer, SCF, dec. Stevens, 11-9; 145: SVE received a forfeit; 152: Sedok, SCF, dec. Sa. Schlegel, 10-3; 160: Fesenmaier, SVE, dec. Carney, 11-7; 170: Merth, SVE, mdec. McCurdy, 13-0; 182: SCF received forfeit; 195: Bastin, SCF, dec. Hofacker, 9-2; 220: Turner, SVE, dec. Drinken, 3-2; 285: Gearhart, SCF, dec. Elsenpeter, 5-3.

Jalen Knuteson

Jalen Knuteson started as a reporter in the sports department for the Pierce County Herald in October of 2016. He has spent time working for the Portage Daily Register as a freelance reporter and as a sports assistant for the Wisconsin State Journal.

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