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Schmitt's perfect season over, but third place still looms
Sugar Rivers Ben Schmitt tries to roll over Valders Caynen Klessig in the 160-pound quarterfinals at the WIAA Division 2 Individual State Wrestling Tournament. Schmitt won, 16-0, but lost in the semifinals.
MADISON - For Sugar River senior Ben Schmitt, losing his first match of the season in stunning fashion in the semifinals of the WIAA Division 2 state wrestling tournament was a hard pill to swallow.

Schmitt (36-1), ranked No. 1 at 160 pounds in the Crossface poll, jumped out to an 8-0 lead on Oconto Falls freshman Jacob Morrissey. Morrissey stormed back and capped an improbable comeback by pinning Schmitt right before the buzzer at the end of the second period Friday night at the Kohl Center.

"Everything I worked for came to an end," Schmitt said. "I will come back strong tomorrow and take third."

After the match, Schmitt talked with former teammate Kalvin York, who is wrestling for the University of Wisconsin. York lost at state last year and ended up finishing fifth.

"He told me not to let it get in my head and come back strong," Schmitt said.

It was a whirlwind second period when Morrissey scored on a takedown and had three near falls that sparked a 10-8 lead. Schmitt tied the match at 10 late in the second period on an escape.

"The first time when he got back points, I just never recovered from it," he said. "I let him do it three times."

Morrissey (42-1), ranked seventh, set up the pin with a fireman's carry.

"The kid has been doing the fireman's carry all season," Sugar River coach Peter Swenson said. "That is his bread-and-butter move."

Swenson expects Schmitt to bounce back from his first loss. Schmitt will wrestle Kewaskum junior Bo Seibel in the wrestlebacks today.

"He has had one goal this season and that's to win a state championship," Swenson said. "He has worked his butt off all year. If it didn't hurt something would be wrong. It will sting for a while. Knowing Ben, he will come back strong tomorrow."

In the quarterfinals, Schmitt defeated Valders junior Caynen Klessig, 16-0, in a technical fall to advance to the semifinals.

"I see a lot of other guys ranked just as high as I am getting upset in other divisions," Schmitt said. "This is the state tournament. You can't screw around. You can't take any risks because anything can happen."

Swenson has seen Schmitt develop and become even harder to score points against.

"When it comes to competing, he doesn't get caught up in the rankings," Swenson said. "He has a great work ethic."