NORTH ENGLISH — It was a busy day of wrestling at English Valleys High Shool on Saturday, and a memorable one for 14 of the Union area’s Class 1A wrestlers.
New London led the field at the Class 1A District 2 meet, advancing six matmen to the state tournament and winning the district team race with 121.5 points. WACO had three wrestlers advance. Sigourney-Keota and Highland each finished with two, and Pekin had one.
The Tigers had nine wrestlers in action after a great showing at sectionals, and two-thirds of those moved on. Marcel Lopez (113 pounds), Josh Glendening (120 pounds), Dominic Lopez (138 pounds) and Currey Jacobs (170 pounds) each won their bracket to clinch a state tournament berth in the finals. Gabe Carter (160 pounds) and Jaxon Allen (220 pounds) both advanced on in second-place wrestlebacks.
Marcel, the only returning state champion for the Union area, cruised in the 113-pound bracket. Lopez pinned BGM-Brooklyn’s Dallon Murty in 2:42 to get to the first place match, and then advanced over Belle Plaine’s Ethan Argo by injury to take the top spot.
Glendening had a dominant win in the semifinal, beating North Mahaska-New Sharon’s Michael DeJong on a 15-0 technical fall in 4:42. In the first place match, he outlasted Ethan Kpuka of Hartwick-Ladora-Victory 4-1.
Following in his brother’s footsteps, Dominic dominated at 138 pounds. He pinned HLV’s Marcus Kolesar in 2:33 and BGM’s Blake Mann in 2:33 to punch his ticket to Des Moines.
At 160 pounds, Jacobs had a pin over Belle Plaine’s Connor Timm in the semifinals, finishing him off in 4:53. He beat English Valleys’ Cael Hester 8-3 in the first place match.
After winniing his 160-pound semifinal in just 54 seconds, Gabe Carter was upended 6-0 by Iowa Valley’s Benjamin Smith in the first place match. Carter was forced to wrestleback against S-K’s Nate Schuster, beating Schuster on a 14-3 major decision to move on.
Like Carter, Allen won his semifinal match, beating L.J. Henkle of BGM 7-3, but had to wrestleback after falling in the first place bout, dropping a match to Belle Plaine’s Ethan Allie on a pinfall at 3:12. Also like Carter, Allen had to beat a Union area wrestler to move on, and he did that with a 7-3 decision over Pekin’s Mason Juhl.
WACO’s trifect of district qualifiers all made the state tournament. Jalen Collens (132 pounds) and Jaden Williams (152 pounds) both won their brackets, and Jonah Clark (145 pounds) advanced on a wrestleback.
Collins pinned BGM’s Shamus Keller in 1:05 to get to the first place match. He then won a battle against Pekin’s Bailey Frescoln, 8-5, in the 132-pound championship, to get reserve his spot at Wells Fargo Arena.
Williams wrestled for exactly 30 seconds. He pinned Traven Murray of Iowa Valley in 15 seconds in the semifinals, and did the exact same thing in the finals, taking down S-K’s Jack Clarahan in 15 ticks to roll to Des Moines.
Clark took the road less traveled. Clark lost his semifinal match, falling 10-6 against Iowa Valley’s Kayne Marshall, and had to beat the other two 145-pounders to advance on. Clark pinned Ryan Hopwood of BGM in just 39 seconds in the third-place match, and then closed out his day with a 57-second pin over Pekin’s Cael Baker.
S-K had four wrestlers in action and advanced half to Des Moines. Mason Dye won the 126-pound bracket, and Clarahan joined WACO’s Williams at 152 pounds.
Dye pinned HLV’s Mason Fruendt in 36 seconds to advance to the 126-pound championship. He faced off with Quinten Aney of Mediapolis in the final, pinning Aney in 3:42.
Clarahan began his day with a pin in 5:05 against Belle Plaine’s Jack Schwenn. As mentioned earlier, Clarahan fell in just 15 seconds against Williams of WACO, but Schwenn did his job in the third place match and Clarahan didn’t have to wrestleback for the second spot at his weight class.
Highland went 2-for-5 on getting wrestlers through to the next round. Bryce Thompson took first at 106 pounds and Cael Yeggy placed second at 182 pounds.
Thompson won a shootout in the semifinal, beating North Mahaska-New Sharon’s Paul De Jong 13-9. in the finals, he pinned Zane Keim of Iowa Valley in 2:55 to grab a spot in Des Moines.
Yeggy fell by pinfall in 5:20 in his semifinal round against Chase Wickwire of Belle Plaine. That meant he had to win and hope for a wrestleback, and he got everything he wanted. Yeggy pinned Iowa Valley’s Brody Hoyt in 2:24 in the third place match, and then advanced past New London’s Gavin Holmes on an injury in the second period of the 182-pound championship.
Pekin was the buble team of the day. Out of their four wrestlers in action, one placed second to advance to Des Moines, and the other three ended up in third, one spot away from qualification.
The aformentioned Frescoln was the only Panther moving out of districts, grabbing the second spot at 132 pounds. He shut Tanner Mihal of English Valley’s down 7-0 in the semifinals. Though Frescoln lost to Collins of WACO in an 8-5 first place battle, Mihal won his third place match and that gave Frescoln the win by rule, and the second ticket at 132 pounds.
All 12 of these wrestlers will compete in the 1A section of the state wrestling tournament in Des Moines, which takes place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday of this week.