It was a busy day on the mats as area wrestlers competed for a berth in this week’s state tournament.
Highland sent four to state and also won the team title by a point over Mediapolis in Class 1A District 8 meet at Wilton. The top two finishers in each weight qualify for state. WACO was ninth and Sigourney-Keota 10th. Mason Dye won the title at 113 pounds for SK. WACO’s Jonah Clark was second at 120 and Jalen Collins was second at 126. Brady Hahn at 145 and Cory Stewart at 152 were champions for the Huskies. Geoff Streb was second at 132 as was Dan Burton at 160.
In the Class 2A District 8 meet at Washington, five Demons made it to state including champions Tristin Westphal-Edwards at 182 and Logan Escher at 195. Washington finished second to Solon in the team race 147.5-108. Columbus/Winfield-Mt. Union was seventh and Mid-Prairie ninth. Walker Ikerd at 120, Garrett Ikerd at 138 and Dillan Sanders at 145 were all second for the Demons.
C/W-MU’s Jarod Kadel won at 138 and intends to win the state championship he missed out on last season when he was called for stalling with a second left in the title match.
“That’s the plan,” Kadel said. “I just have to stay focused and keep going at it.”
Escher won his district title over Mid-Prairie’s Isaac Boucher, who placed second after winning his wrestleback.
Escher pinned Boucher with 3 seconds remaining in the match, but had hime in a headlock for what seemed like half of the first period and couldn’t pin him.
“Logan’s pretty good with that headlock,” Washington coach Brent Van Weelden said. “So that tells you a lot about that kid that he didn’t get pinned then.”
I was really challenged in my last match. I got him in a headlock but “I just could not quite get him turned over,” Escher said. “It was really hard to hold on when the guy is squirming around like he was.”
Westphal-Edwards stayed unbeaten and is focused on state.
“In my finals match I got rolled through on my back,” he said. “That was a humbling moment because you never know how a match is going to go.”
While Van Weelden was happy with his qualifiers, he wanted all nine wrestlers to make it through, especially senior David Hora at 160.
“My heart goes out to him. Him and his family have been instrumental in our program for a long time. Unfortunately things did not go his way today.”
Hora finished third with a pin in 3:09 to win the last match of his career.
“Walker got through for the second year,” Van Weelden said. “He slowed his match down in the final and had an opportunity to win if he got a takedown at the end.”
Garrett Ikerd has not wrestled since the second week of January.
He won his first match in a battle to the end, giving up a reversal with 15 seconds left and then got a reversal himself after that to win but lost to Kadel in the final.
Sanders won his first match, then lost in the final to place second.
“He’s getting a lot of experience,” Van Weelden said. “He wrestled extremely well last week and this week.”
Brandon Dickel placed third at 126.
“He is as tough as nails and probably the toughest kid pound for pound on our team,” Van Weelden said. “He has a heart of gold.”
Ayden Frazier was fourth at 152 in what may have been the toughest weight class.
“Those top three kids are tough,” Van Weelden said. “Those top two will place at state for sure.”
Tristan Allendar was third at 220.
“I’m real proud of how he wrestled these last two or three weeks,” Van Weelden said. “He did a lot for the team just by coming out. And then he contributed even more. It takes a lot of character to do that. To have your heart in it for the team instead of as an individual says a lot about your character. That tells you what kind of kid he is.”
The coach was also impressed with the crowd.
“We have a lot of good people around this community. I am real real pleased with the fan support.
“I wish we could’ve got a couple more through. Five is pretty good so I’m not going to complain, but I can wish for more.”