February 28 Folley Tosses Way Into 126 Final

            Madison – With one solid headlock, Wauwatosa junior Justin Folley threw himself into the finals at the WIAA state individual tournament Saturday night at the Kohl Center.

Folley, a junior, locked up previously undefeated West Allis Central senior Tere White with 1 minute 31 seconds remaining in the first period and quickly tossed White to his back and registered a pin 5 seconds later in the Division 1 126-pound semifinals.

Folley improved his overall record to 44-1 and advanced to his first final. White fell to 42-1 and dropped into the wrestlebacks.

The finals in all three divisions are scheduled to be held at 6 p.m. today. In the 126 final, Folley is to face Stoughton senior Zach Hasselberger (48-5). Hasselberger defeated Arrowhead junior Aidan Yde (37-10) by a 5-3 decision in the other 120 semifinal.

“When I got it, I wanted to lock that in,” said Folley, a semifinalist a year ago at 126 who lost and went on to finish fifth. “I told myself I’d get back here. I promised myself that I’d be back.”

Central coach Jon Nelson was pleased with how White opened the match with a physical attack. Folley just countered well and landed in the final after winning the top all-area semifinal of the session.

“(White) looked great,” said Nelson. “He was mentally prepared. He almost got the first takedown – he was in there deep. He represented himself well out there. I’m proud of him.”

Folley wasn’t nearly as nervous as last year in the semifinals when he was at Milwaukee Riverside. This was a more confident version one year after a surprising run to the semis. And he’ll wrestle in the same confident manner against Hasselberger.

“It feels good,” said Folley. “I’m much more confident this year. Everything is better. As far as the next guy, I’ve just gotta do what I’ve gotta do to win it.”

Central junior Thus White (38-6) returned to the finals by pinning Oshkosh North senior Brandon Green (41-5) in 3:23 in the semifinals at 113.

Tyus, who won the 106 Division 1 title a year ago, is to face Janesville Craig senior Arik Furseth (44-0) in the final. Tyus is seeking to become the first two-time state champion at Central.

White has been on a roll since the sectional and hasn’t been threatened in the tournament.

“Tyus takes peaking at the end of the season to a whole new level,” said Nelson. “When he has to wrestle his best, you will see his best. He has been there (in the final before). He knows what to do.”

Samson rolls on: Oconomowoc junior Brett Samson (47-11) caught Kenosha Bradford senior La’Ryan Johnson (31-2) out of position and rolled him through for a pin in 4:26 in the semifinals at 220. It was Samson’s third pin of the tournament and sent him into a showdown with No. 1-ranked Bay Port senior Alec Ingold (40-0). Ingold also pinned his way into the final.

Samson trailed, 3-1, entering the third period but quickly caught Johnson riding high, grabbed Johnson’s head and rolled through for the pin to reach the finals for the first time.

Burlington duo moves on: A pair of Burlington Demons wrestlers reached the finals for the first time in school history.

Demons junior Josh Bird (45-1) defeated Merrill senior Scott Arneson (47-2) by a 12-5 major decision at 132 to advance to his third consecutive state final. Bird is to face Kaukauna senior Tres Leon (45-3). Bird won the 126 title two years ago and finished second at 132 last year.

Bird nearly fell behind early when he was tossed by Arneson but he rolled through to avoid damage. Bird then went on a takedown spree to put the match out of reach.

Demons senior Ben Hornickle (51-1) held off Wilmot junior Jake Morgan (32-2) by a 3-2 decision at 138. Hornickle is to face Kaukauna senior Robert Lee (42-1) in the 138 final. Lee has won two state titles, splitting with Bird the past two years, and won the 113 title as a freshman.

Hornickle had to avoid a late takedown attempt by Morgan in the final seconds.

“I’m proud of those guys,” said Burlington coach Jade Gribble. “I have confidence in Ben. He’s been wrestling well all year. And the nice thing about Josh is he just keeps scoring.”

Hakes vs. Gundrum: The Division 1 160 final will be an all-area affair as No. 1-ranked West Bend East senior Jordan Gundrum (49-0) is to face Oak Creek senior Ben Hakes (28-1).

Gundrum caught Bradford junior Oscar Ramos (38-1) three times in their match and built an 8-0 lead before registering the pin in 5:02.

Gundrum finished third here a year ago at 160 with his lone loss of the year coming in the semifinals as he went 49-1. He’s expecting a battle against Hakes.

“I think it will be a good match,” said Gundrum. “I’ve had my mind on this all weekend. I’ve put 15 years of work into this.”

Hakes’ takedown with 23 seconds left in the match gave him a 5-4 victory over Marshfield senior Mitch Hertel (28-2) and pushed him into the finals a year after losing in the semifinals.

“I saw I was down and needed a score to win and I wanted it more than him,” said Hakes of his winning takedown. “The matches are close now at state. Anything is a possibility now. It would be great to be a state champ.”