Following Saturday’s 2A District Tournament
HUMBOLDT – The E’Hawks of Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted/Ruthven-Ayrshire will send a complement of three wrestlers to this week’s Iowa High School State Wrestling Championships in Des Moines. All three of the E’Hawk grapplers earned their qualification for the state tourney after finishing in second place at Saturday’s Class 2A District Wrestling Tournament in Humboldt.
Freshman Isaac Lundgren and junior Joey Naig earned rematches with their Sectional Tournament foes of a week earlier, while Jake Morris had a little tougher row to hoe in his quest to qualify for the state tourney.
The District tournament format brings the first and second place finishers from two sectional tournaments together to wrestle for the state berth. In each weight class, there are just four wrestlers, with two sectional champions and two runner-up wrestlers. The runner-ups from each sectional meet the opposing sectional’s champion in semi-final matches, and the winners of those matches then meet for the district title, with the first and second place district finishers earning the trip to Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
But, it isn’t always so cut and dried, as Jake Morris found out.
As the Sectional Champion from Algona, Jake Morris met Joel Hanson of Humboldt in his 189 pound semi-final match. Morris opened the day in a hurry, scoring a quick takedown and earning three near-fall points before pinning Hanson in 1:17 of the match.
For the final, Morris met Keelan Richardson of Rockwell City-Lytton/Southern Cal, the champion from the Story City Sectional. The match was scoreless after one period but Morris, who started down in the second period, reversed Richardson before the RCL/SC wrestler escaped to make the score 2-1 going into the final 2:00 of regulation. Richardson started down, escaped and took Morris down, only to have Morris score a reversal and earn two near-fall points, but with time running out, Richardson managed to gain a reversal to tie the match at 6-6 at the end of regulation time.
The two wrestlers locked up in a wild scramble for the takedown in the sudden death overtime period, but Richardson managed to put Morris on his hip to be awarded the takedown and 8-6 win.
But, with Richardson’s win, his first round opponent, Coda Subject of Forest City, earned the right to meet Morris for the true second-place finish.
Morris, who had wrestled Subject twice before during the season and defeated Subject at the Algona Sectional a week earlier for that title, wasted little time in taking Subject down and scoring a win by fall in :57 to claim the runner-up finish and state tourney qualification.
For E’Hawk 152 pounder Joey Naig, his District semi-final featured a match with Nick Lamkey of Gilbert. Naig took a 7-3 lead after one period and extended his lead to 9-4 after two periods. In the final period, Naig dominated the Gilbert wrestler to claim a 17-5 major decision victory and advancement to the finals.
In the finals, Naig was paired with his Sectional foe, Christian Trebil of Clear Lake. Trebil took a 2-0 lead after the first period, but Naig earned an escape after starting in the down position to trail 2-1 to start the final period. Trebil scored an escape for a 3-1 lead, and then earned a late takedown to defeat Naig by a 5-1 decision, However, Naig was declared the outright second place winner without a wrestleback, like he had to win the week earlier at the Algona Sectional.
The E’Hawks’ final qualifier, freshman 103 pounder Isaac Lundgren, met the Story City Sectional Champion, RCL/SC’S Kwinn Kraft, in the semi-final round. Kraft, a ranked wrestler at 103, was quickly taken down by the E’Hawk wrestler, who released Kraft and took him down a second time in the first period for a 4-1 lead. After a neutral start in the second period, Lundgren took Kraft down again for a 6-1 lead and in the final period, after starting down, Lundgren reversed Kraft and then earned a penalty point after Kraft was called for stalling to win a 9-1 major decision and advance to the finals.
Like Naig, Lundgren met up with Sectional opponent Alex Spooner of Forest City for the 103 pound championship. Spooner, top-ranked at 103, took a 10-0 lead after the first period and held it till the third period, when Lundgren managed to score a takedown before Spooner escaped and scored a takedown to defeat Lundgren by a 13-2 major decision.
Despite the loss in the finals, Lundgren was declared the outright runner-up at 103 pounds to earn the qualification for his first-ever trip to the state tournament.
For Coach Zach Hamann and the E’Hawks, the State Tournament will begin on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.