Prep wrestling: Cal Hansen of Deerfield shooting for state title

Deerfield High School senior wrestler Cal Hansen, top, will take an undefeated record into Saturday's WIAA regional competition. After taking second in Division 3 at 132 pounds last year, he hopes to emerge with a state championship this season.

CONTRIBUTED

One achievement remains for Deerfield wrestler Cal Hansen, and it weighs heavy on his mind these days.

Over the next three weeks, Hansen wants to close his high school career by earning a WIAA Division 3 state championship.

He has taken fifth, third and second at state over the last three years — and his 179-14 career record includes a 38-0 mark this season.

Not only is Hansen undefeated this year, he has yet to surrender a single takedown or near-fall.

“So often it seems like he is three steps ahead of his opponent,” Deerfield co-head coach Trevor Dyreson said. “Cal uses his hips almost perfectly, which means he rarely finds himself in an unfamiliar situation on the mat.”

He stayed another step ahead by cutting weight late in the season, dropping to the 132-pound weight class for last Saturday's Trailways Conference tournament. The move — which resulted in a conference title — came after Hansen spent the entire season ranked No. 1 in Division 3 at 138 pounds by wiwrestling.com.

Cutting weight after almost a full season at 138 was anything but easy. But with the postseason arriving — Hansen will compete in the Marshall regional at 10 a.m. Saturday — Hansen and co-coaches Dyreson and Paul Haag decided it was the best way to approach the final stretch.

“Maintaining 132 has been a little rough,” Hansen said. “I definitely felt a little bit weaker the past week or so, but that’s just how it goes. My body has already adjusted for the most part, so I feel pretty good.”

According to coaches Haag and Dyreson, his greatest improvement this season has been an increased willingness to alter his approach and step out of his comfort zone. Being more aggressive on the mat has made quite the impact for Hansen, as well.

“I haven’t been too much of an offensive wrestler in the past, especially last year,” said Hansen. “One of the things we have really focused on is not being content with a lead — but instead you go out, gain control of the match and just continue to dominate.”

As a wide-eyed freshman, Hansen beat defending state champion Hunter Dischler of Weston/Ithaca in the sectional and went on to finish fifth at state at 113 pounds, finishing 47-5.

Last year, Hansen worked through the field but fell, 5-3, at the hands of Dischler (who has since graduated) in the final at 132, wrapping up a 47-5 season.

While this is Hansen's final season at Deerfield, a college career looms just around the corner. However, Hansen remains officially uncommitted and is keeping his options open. He has been in contact with a number of schools, both in-state and out.

His coaches are confident he’ll be a difference-maker at the next level, regardless of his path.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he can be a Division 1 wrestler,” Haag said. “Cal is as skilled and as technical a wrestler out there.

“Wherever he decides to go, he’s going to have an big impact.”

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