At 2008 State Wrestling Tournament
DES MOINES – For the second year in a row, Matt Stillman’ quest for a state championship came up just a bit short. In the championship match at 145 pounds on Saturday night, Stillman lost a well-wrestled 3-1 decision to Tanner Kampen of Humboldt to finish second in the 2008 Towa State Wrestling Championships.
Stillman’s finish was the highlight of the Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted E’Hawks’ appearance at the 2008 State Tournament, which was wrestled this past weekend at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. The E’Hawks sent five wrestlers to the state meet, but the quality field of competitors whittled away at the E’Hawk entries until just Stillman remained for Saturday night’s finals.
Opening Day Action
The E’Hawks joined other 2A wrestlers in taking to the mats for the first time on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena. At 119 pounds, Jordan Cody wrestled Blake Sorenson, a sophomore from Denver-Tripoli, and was pinned in 3:37 of the match to drop into the consolation brackets.
Matt Stillman wrestled Issiah Sullivan of Ballard-Huxley in his first round match at 145, and claimed a 4-1 decision win to advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday.
At 152, Joe Naig, in his first state tournament appearance, earned a 6-3 decision victory over Levi Davishofer of Clarinda to also advance to the quarterfinals on Thursday.
Jake Morris, also in his first trip to state, came up short in an 11-10 decision loss to Trevor Voelker of Dallas Center Grimes at 171 pounds, and at 215 pounds, Adam Leuer was pinned in 4:38 of his match with Drew Sheeder of Davenport Assumption in his first appearance at state.
Moving into the consolation brackets, Cody drew David Stubblefield of Bishop Heelan of Sioux City, and jumped out to a big 16-7 lead going into the third period. However, as Cody worked for back points, he was caught and ended up being pinned in 5:09 to end his tournament appearance with his second loss at 119.
Jake Morris met Blaize Cubell of Independence in the first consolation match at 171 and stayed alive with a 2:46 win by fall over his opponent. At 215, Adam Leuer would need an overtime period before he came up with a 6-3 win over Phillip Miller of Vinton-Shellsburg to keep his medal hopes alive.
With two wrestlers moving to the Quarterfinals, the E’Hawks were cautiously optimistic on Thursday, but things would change quickly.
At 152, Joe Naig would run into Trent Weatherman of Ballard-Huxley, who claimed an 18-3 Technical Fall in 5:21 over the E’Hawk wrestler.
At 145, Matt Stillman had a battle on his hands with Gage Westbrock of Sergeant Bluff-Luton, coming up with an escape in the final moments of the match to win an 8-7 decision and advance to the semifinals on Friday.
Moving into the consolation bracket, Naig drew Ethan Cramer of Dallas Center-Grimes, but lost a 6-1 decision that eliminated him from the tournament at 152 pounds.
At 171, Jake Morris wrestled Tyler Manternach of West Delaware and battled to a 3-3 tie at the end of regulation, but Morris was taken down in the sudden-death overtime to be eliminated from the tournament in the 5-3 decision loss.
Adam Leuer would wrestle Bryant Hummel of Clarinda in the 215 pound consolation match, but was pinned in 5:04 of the match to be eliminated from the tournament, leaving Matt Stillman to carry the E’Hawk banner the rest of the way.
For Stillman, Friday’s semi-final match with Dylan Azinger of Clinton-Central DeWitt was a good tune-up for the finals matchup with Tanner Kampen. Stillman and Azinger battled to a 3-3 deadlock at the end of regulation time in their match, but Stillman would come away with the takedown as the sudden-death overtime ended to win the 5-3 decision and right to wrestle in the finals.
The finals match was the fourth meeting of the season between Stillman and Kampen, with Kampen holding the advantage in each of the previous meetings over the E’Hawk. Stillman and the Wildcat wrestler tied up repeatedly in the match, but Stillman scored an escape in the second period before Kampen earned a takedown. Kampen would then escape in the third period before the two wrestlers jockeyed for position and control in the remainder of the final period before Kampen earned the 3-1 win and Stillman settled for his second consecutive second place finish at state.
“Everyone wrestled very well,” noted E’Hawk Head Coach Mike Lester. “I wish Matt could have gotten his title, but he wrestled very well and we’re proud of him.”