After capturing the Big Rivers title last week, the Chippewa Falls wrestling team figures to be a force to be reckoned with when the WIAA regionals begin next weekend. Tonight we begin a new weekly segment featuring the top local prep athletes in our area. SportScene 13's Jenn Chapman takes an up-close look at the Cardinals' Izzy Balsiger.
When you win the state championship as a junior, you come in as a senior with a target on your back, but that's a role Chippewa Falls wrestling standout Izzy Balsiger has gladly accepted.
Izzy Balsiger: "Kind of cool when people challenge you because they think they want to beat you because they think if they do that, that would be the highlight for them."
Tom Pomietlo: "We just try to stress the point that there's always records to be broken, with much is given, much is expected. He needs to push himself harder if he's going to win that 2nd title."
This season Izzy has won the coveted Oshkosh invitational, has not been scored on by an opponent, and is currently on track to break the school's all-time win record of 152 wins, largely in part to the running, lifting, and drilling he does before most kids are awake.
Coach: "I always tell the kids if you want to be average come to practice, but if you work prior to that, come in the summer, come in the mornings, that's what's going to make you a champion, going to put you on the wall."
Jenn Chapman: "Until this year, wrestling has been about individual achievement for Izzy, but his hard work outside of practice has been noticed by his teammates and has been a motivational tool for the Cardinals."
Coach: "It's just been a great year, it's kind of recharged my battery, I've been coaching for 16 years and it's like this year, I have a lot of excitement because I just love what's coming up in the future, and you have to give credit to Izzy."
The team upset perennial powerhouse Hudson last week, ending the Raiders 7-year reign over the Big Rivers conference. The Cards currently have three other wrestlers ranked in the state. Izzy is excited his teammates are following his lead and says he has one more goal left to achieve.
Izzy: ""To have perfect record like a perfect season, but then again I know I'm just a human, I make mistakes so just be awesome, we'll wait and see."
For tonight's prep athlete of the week, I'm Jenn Chapman for SportScene 13.
Nats sound: "BRC!"