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Seeking precious medals
Times photo: Mark Nesbitt The official raises Brodhead-Juda junior Hunter Coldens hand in victory after his pin of Port Washingtons Josh Meins in a Division 2 state quarterfinal match at the Kohl Center.
MADISON - Brodhead-Juda junior Hunter Colden couldn't fight the itch to run and warm up early before his quarterfinal match Friday at the WIAA Division 2 state wrestling tournament at the Kohl Center.

The junior 170-pounder assured himself of a medal by pinning Port Washington junior Josh Meins in 45 seconds in the quarterfinals.

"I started warming up earlier than I usually do when the 106-pound wrestlers were on the mat," he said. "I just wanted to get my first win at state. I came out and stuck him. I'm assured a spot on the podium."

In a semifinal bout between Oconto Falls junior Jacob Morrissey, ranked No. 1 and the defending champion and No. 2-ranked Colden, it was a slugfest. Morrissey (42-1), who is 86-1 the last two years, defeated Colden 6-1. Colden trailed 4-1 with about 20 seconds left and tried a roll.

"He's tall, lanky and has good leverage and hips," Brodhead-Juda coach Tim Colden said of Morrissey. "He's the real deal. He (Hunter Colden) just couldn't get away. Any time you get to the state semifinals, it's a pretty big deal."

Monroe junior Kevin Klopfenstein's medal hopes are still alive after he defeated East Troy freshman Andy Strey in a technical fall 16-0 in a wrestleback. Both Klopfenstein and Colden need to win one more wrestleback match today to have a shot to wrestle for third place. Klopfenstein will wrestle Ellsworth's Roarke Langer (35-4) and Colden faces St. Croix Falls' Jake Rademacher (45-3) at 11 a.m. today.

"It would mean the world to me to come back and get third," Klopfenstein said. "My goal is to place."

Colden is Brodhead-Juda's first three-time state qualifier and is the program's first state medalist since 2003. Colden's pin in the quarterfinals came on a familiar move.

"He hit him with that slide by, he got that chicken wing in there and it was a done deal," said Tim Colden, who is Hunter's father. "He has got a lot of mileage out of that chicken wing this year."

Klopfenstein got off to a tough start by losing to Luxemburg-Casco senior Zach Skarda 7-2 in the quarterfinals. The turning point in the match came when Klopfenstein turned fighting for an escape. Instead, Skarda locked in a cradle and earned a three-point near fall to take a 5-2 lead.

"He got caught in a scramble situation," Monroe coach Jeriamy Jackson said. "We thought he was going to get an escape and take a 3-2 lead and he got caught on his back for three points. That changed the complexion of the match. At that point you are shooting from behind."

Klopfenstein said all he was thinking about at that point was not getting pinned.

"I wanted to do everything I could to get off my back," he said.

Skarda scored on a takedown with about 45 seconds left in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Klopfenstein battled back with a reversal at the end of the first period to tie the match at 2.

"It's about what I was expecting," he said. "I thought I wrestled OK in the first period. I felt I went down the last two periods."

Jackson is excited with how Klopfenstein bounced back and put himself in a position to win a medal.

"At this level, they are all elite wrestlers," Jackson said. "It's a tough tournament more mentally and physically."

Hunter Colden also is looking for a big finish.

"I don't want to get sixth," he said. "I still have a lot of juice left in the tank."