Anything worth having is working overtime for.
That's what Franklin wrestlers Steve Djurina at 182 pounds and Murphy McCutcheon at 195 did Saturday, Feb. 18, in the WIAA sectional at Burlington, as both had to earn their berths in this week's state tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison via the wrestleback route.
For coach Devoll Sino and his staff, what made it even more interesting, satisfying and, frankly, chaotic, is that they were on separate mats simultaneously.
"Murphy wrestled Kenosha Tremper, and they battled to a 2-2 tie through double overtime," said Sino. "At that point Tremper chose the down position, and Murphy needed to ride him out for 30 seconds to win the match. Murphy did a fantastic job riding for the entire 30 seconds to win at a time when he was exhausted. His win was a credit to his and our team’s work ethic.
"At the same time, on the other mat Steve was taking care of business against his opponent from Milwaukee Bradley Tech with a 6-3 win. It was an exciting end to a very satisfying day. I am extremely happy at how far we came as a team in the last 14 weeks. I am proud of our two state qualifiers, but their success is directly linked to the growth and hard work of the entire team."
The pair will now take part in first-round matches at the WIAA state individual tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23.
The senior Djurina (33-6 overall) will take on Pewaukee's Jacob Sklenar (40-9), while the junior McCutcheon (17-8) will challenge Bay Port's Jake Flisakowski (26-6). First- and second-round bouts will be held Thursday; wrestling will continue through the Saturday, Feb. 25, championship round.
Before the wresleback, Djurina beat a Racine Park opponent (11-1 major decision) and a South Milwaukee wrestler (4-1) before falling to Burlington's Nate Crayton (30-3) on a 4-1 decision in the final.
McCutcheon had a little harder go of it. He beat a Kenosha Bradford opponent, 5-1, before falling to a South Milwaukee opponent, 2-1, in overtime. He came back to pin an Oak Creek opponent to set up the wrestleback.
Three other Sabers advanced out of the quarterfinals, but all finished fourth: Deylin Ealy at 106 (13-13), Noah Rugaber at 160 (15-10), and Alex Riel at 220 (22-16).
Ben Ewig at 113 (7-11), Mike Jaber at 138 (19-17), and Yaman Jaber at 145 (1-17) all lost first-round bouts. Aaron Simmons at 152 (13-17) suffered an injury during the week in practice and could not take part in sectionals.
Sino said the sectional effort is a major high point for the season.
"The Sabers had a successful day," he said.