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State Champs: Undefeated
Div. 2: 144 lbs Owen Seffrood Darlington-BH
Darlington-Black Hawk’s Owen Seffrood won Division 2 state wrestling title this past weekend at the Kohl Center in Madison. Seffrood won at 144 lbs with a 2-1 victory over Kellen Kelly of Saint Croix Falls. - photo by Natalie Dillon

MADISON — Owen Seffrood entered the WIAA individual state tournament as one of 24 undefeated male wrestlers, but he didn’t let the thought of a perfect season cloud his mind. He just wrestled.

“My main thing is to not think about the match or try to game plan too much and overthink things,” Seffrood said. “I know if I just wrestle like myself nobody is beating me.”

The strategy paid off, as Seffrood became the 144-pound champion in Division 2 on Saturday, Feb. 24 and was one of 14 wrestlers to finish the 2024 season unbeaten. Others included Haakon Peterson of Dodgeville (D2, 113), Jake Fitzpatrick of Aquinas (D3, 113), Charlie Meudt of Dodgeville (D2, 120), Reid Spurley of Dodgeville (D2, 126), Wyatt Unser of Glenwood City (D3, 126), Dawson Johnson of Cumberland (D3, 138), Jacob Herm of Neenah (D1, 144), Charlie Millard of Homestead (D1, 157), Liam Crook of Kaukauna (D1, 165), Jake Stoffel of Appleton North (D1, 175), Connor Mirasola of West Bend West (D1, 190), Aeoden Sinclair of Milton (D1, 215) and Ian Smith of Northwestern (D2, 215). 

“It’s a dream come true — ever since I was little,” Seffrood said. “All my hard work has paid off, and I’m excited to keep going and get better.”

Seffrood earned his spot in the championship with major decisions victories over 8-seed Melvin Finkley (20-6) and 4-seed Isaac Jerabek (16-4).

In the title match, Seffrood faced Kellen Kelly of Saint Croix Falls, who was the 2-seed. 

After a scoreless first period, Seffrood chose bottom and escaped in just 10 seconds. Kelly was warned twice for stalling before the referee awarded Seffrood a point. Kelly chose bottom to start the third period and escaped quickly, too. Down just one point with time winding down, Kelly looked to take a shot for a 2-point takedown, but Seffrood held strong for the win.

“I haven’t been taken down all year, my coach kept reminding me,” Seffrood said. “I had confidence in myself and attacked the whole match.”

Individually, Darlington has had five state champions — Josh Malott (2007, 120 pounds); Chad Chellevold (1990, 152); Mike Harper (1988, 152); Pat McGowan (2001, 160); and Larry Green (1991, 170) — but the Darlington-Black Hawk co-op has not had an individual champion. In fact, Seffrood is the first state wrestling champion from Black Hawk High School.

“All of my high school career, people have brought it up to me at school that I could possibly be the first one, but once again never let it get to my head,” Seffrood said. “It is an honor. Coming from Black Hawk, you always have a lot of pride for the amount of success we expect coming from such a small community.”

Seffrood has made the state tournament each year of high school. In 2022, he was runner up at 132 pounds, and last season he took third at 138 pounds. As such, he one of four wrestlers in DBH program history to medal three times, joining teammate Ethan Aird. If Seffrood places in 2025, he will be the first Warbird to medal four times.