E’Hawks Send Five To State Tourney
CHEROKEE – It took some doing on Saturday, but five E’Hawks will make the trip to Wells Fargo Arena this week to wrestle in the State Wrestling Championships. With one district champion and four runner-up finishes, the E’Hawks advanced five of their six sectional qualifiers out of Saturday’s Class 2A District tournament at Cherokee.
The E’Hawks’ Jake Morris, wrestling at 171 pounds, earned the lone championship on Saturday, while Joey Naig, wrestling at 152, finished second outright on the day. But for three fellow teammates, the road to Des Moines required a wrestleback.
Jordan Cody at 119, Matt Stillman at 145 and Adam Leuer at 215 pounds all had to win second place finishes in order to punch their tickets for the big show, which starts Wednesday evening.
For 171 pounder Jake Morris, his first round match with Thor Klinker of Sheldon/South O’Brien started out less than positively, as Morris trailed 7-2 to start the third period, but Morris battled back to tie the match at 7-7 at the end of regulation, and then took Klinker to his back and pinned him :19 in to the sudden victory period to advance to the finals.
Meeting Nick Larson of Algona in the finals, Morris went on to win by a 7-5 decision for the championship and state qualification.
Joey Naig, wrestling at 152, handed Brandon Ackerman of Sibley-Ocheyedan a 9-4 decision loss to move to the finals. Naig then met Nick Loughlin of Cherokee, and came up on the bottom side of a 4-9 decision loss to Loughlin, but earned second place automatically for the berth at state.
In action at 119 pounds, Jordan Cody won his first match, claiming a 7-1 decision win over Nate Taylor of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley. In the finals, Cody couldn’t repeat the magic of a week earlier as he lost a 7-5 decision to Matt Boyington of Humboldt.
Cody would be forced to wrestle-back for second place, and battled Julio Ayala of Sibley-Ocheydan in the wrestleback, earning a 5-3 decision win off a late reversal and a penalty point to take second place.
For Senior Matt Stillman, the day began with a bye at 145. Originally, Stillman was to have wrestled Shaun Ludwig of Sibley-Ocheyedan, but he failed to make weight that morning, giving Stillman the win. That set up the third meeting of the season between Stillman and Humboldt’s Tanner Kampen, but this time, Kampen caught Stillman in a cradle and scored a 1:09 win by fall over Stillman, forcing the E’Hawks to the wrestlebacks.
Stillman wasted no time earning his second place in the wrestleback, as he put Travis Butler of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley on his back and pinned him in just :17 to qualify for the state tournament appearance.
At 215 pounds, Adam Leuer opened the day with an abbreviated match against Sheldon/South O’Brien’s Pete Matthews. In the second period, Leuer reversed Matthews and as he rolled through on the reversal, Matthews was injured. The Orab wrestler was forced to injury default to Leuer.
In the finals, Leuer met his old nemesis, Alex Will of Spirit Lake Park. Leuer trailed through the match but fought hard in a 9-4 decision loss. Moving into the wrestle backs, Leuer met Tony Boersma of Sibley-Ocheyedan, and earned his trip to the state tournament with a 7-1 decision victory.
The final E’Hawk sectional qualifier, Joey Brandenburg, started his day at 140 pounds out losing a 13-2 major decision to Ted Kruger of Sibley-Ocheydan, and in the consolation match, Brandenburg drew Matt Taylor of Boyden-Hull/Rock Valley, but was caught and pinned in 5:10 of the match to end his chance at a state bid.
The five state qualifiers will now travel to the state championships, which get underway at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The E’Hawk wrestlers, participating in Class 2A will take to the eight mats in Wells Fargo Arena starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Other 2A Sessions are set for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, 2:15 p.m. Friday, 7:45 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday and the finals round will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday night.