The first three times Whitnall/Greendale wrestler Nathan Hensley met Mukwonago's Aaron Schulist, he came up short, but not the fourth time.
Hensley (44-2) rode out Schulist (31-3) with a lead in the 126-pound sectional title match Feb. 18 and even scored a late takedown for good measure in a 10-6 victory.
It was one of the higher-profile matches at the West Allis Central sectional, and it gave Hensley a third crack at the WIAA Division 1 state meet, which gets underway at 3 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Kohl Center in Madison.
“Today, I was just able to finish my shots,” Hensley said. “I kept attacking him and finished.”
It was a fitting conclusion for the Greendale senior, who took third place at the state meet as a sophomore two years ago but was sidelined all of his junior season by injury.
“I’m just going to try and take it all in (at state),” he said. “It’s my senior year. Last time, I was confident going in thinking I could win it, same as this year. I’m just trying to keep that mindset that I can win it, and take it all in and enjoy it.”
Hensley, who lost his first state match two years ago before wrestling all the way back to third, registered two pins prior to the final bout with Schulist, a two-time state runner-up.
Hensley will take on Zak Nelson of Green Bay West (40-7) in his first state match.