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Familiarity helps Panthers duo advance

MADISON - It's difficult being a prep wrestler trying to focus in on a match along with trying to deal with all the sights and sounds of the WIAA State Individual Wrestling Tournament.

But having familiar opponents helped Ellsworth's Sam Huppert and Jordan Borst advance to today's quarterfinal round with wins Thursday evening.

Huppert had wrestled Portage's Ryan Hayes at the Bi-State Classic last December and lost by a point.

This time Huppert scored the early advantage with a takedown and three-point nearfallk on a cradle that put him ahead 5-1.

Although he almost lost the lead due to penalty points, he was able to escape with a 6-5 win at 119 pounds in Division 2.

"Sam wrestled a good match for the most part," Ellsworth Head coach Jack Radabaugh said. "Having wrestled him before he knew him well enough to know where to get advantages on him and he did so."

Borst had beaten Prairie du Chien's Evan Sinram at Bi-State and the result at state was the same, a win, this time by an 8-5 decision at 171. Borst scored key takedowns in the second and third periods to stay ahead of Sinram.

"He didn't let me cradle him like I did the last time so I just waited for him to take shots and me and counter," Borst said. "Fortunately he let me do the stand-and-switch just like at Bi-State."

Radabaugh said that having a familiar foe was a big help for Borst in his first state meet.

"Sam's a veteran wrestler so having someone he wrestled was a bonus," Radabaugh said. "It was a big help for Jordan because for a first time state wrestler, you have to find a way to be comfortable in these surroundings and he was because he could focus on the opponent."

Two other Ellsworth wrestlers did not fare as well. Noah McLay was tech. falled in 5:35 by a 16-0 score to Oconto Falls' Codi Ness at 160.

The much taller Ness made it hard for McLay to generate any offense against him.

Ales Hoyer was pinned at the second period buzzer by Clintonville's Cody Wedde at 215, a call which Radabaugh and Ellsworth's coaching staff vigorously disputed.

Huppert and Borst will join teammates D.J. Yarwood, Hayden Hauschildt and Shawn Helmueller wrestling in the quarterfinals.

Winners will advance to the semifinals, also today.