Jensen Second at 145 In Class 1A
DES?MOINES – Nobody ever said it was easy. To be one of 16 wrestlers to qualify at a weight to wrestle in the state tournament, and then to end up as the best has never been easy. But when you are one of the eight best in that weight in the state, you have to take pride in what you’ve accomplished – even if it wasn’t that gold medal of the champion.
For the E’Hawks of Emmetsburg/Armstrong-Ringsted/Ruthven-Ayrshire and the Knights of Graettinger/Terril, the long journey to the State Wrestling Championships came to a close Saturday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
Out of six wrestlers from the two county programs that qualified for the state tournament, five returned home with medal placings, no small accomplishment in anyone’s book.
Here is a recap of each wrestler’s State Tournament adventure.
E’Hawks Earn Trio Of Placings
Opening Round Action
For the E’Hawks of Emmetsburg/AR/RA, the action began Wednesday afternoon, At 112 pounds, Isaac Lundgren opened the tournament meeting Chas Flack of Jefferson-Scranton/Paton-Churdan/East Greene. The match started out well for the E’Hawk sophomore, but suddenly Flack was able to catch Lundgren and cradle the E’Hawk to score a 1:38 win by fall over Lundgren, putting Lundgren into the wrestle back to stay alive.
At 135 pounds, junior Skyler Rice started his tournament quest out meeting Tom Mahoney of New Hampton. Rice would earn a 12-4 major decision to advance to the quarterfinal round on Thursday.
Senior Joey Naig, wrestling at 160, drew an opening round match with Tyler Down of Odeboldt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove, and claimed a 12-6 decision victory over the Falcon to earn his trip into the quarterfinals as well.
At 189 pounds, senior Jake Morris was paired off with Jack Manning of Woodward-Granger. Morris battled hard to come away with a 4-3 decision to earn his advancement to the quarterfinal round.
But now it was time to wrestle back. A win was necessary for Lundgren to remain in the hunt for a placing, otherwise, a loss would end his tournament appearance.
In the wrestle back, Lundgren met Chas Goodman of Rockwell City-Lytton/South-ern Cal. In the second period of the match, Lundgren was caught and pinned in 2:32 of the match, bringing an abrupt end to his hopes of a medal placing at the state tournament.
Thursday afternoon’s matches turned rough for the E’Hawk trio, as the field was thinned through attrition.
At 135, Skyler Rice wrestled Jacob England of Winterset and earned a 3-0 decision victory to move on to the Friday semi-final round.
Joey Naig was matched up with Landon Williams of Davenport Assumption in the quarterfinal at 160, and struggled against the Assumption grappler, losing a 10-2 major decision to drop into the consolation bracket.
At 189, Jake Morris squared off against Stewart Holloway of West Burlington Notre Dame, and ended up on the wrong end of an 11-9 decision in that match, which sent the E’Hawk to join Naig in the wrestle back round.
Stepping onto the mat in the the mat for the 160 pound match, Joey Naig met Cam Savage of Independence. Naig would go on to score a 10-2 decision to keep his medal hopes alive.
At 189, Jake Morris met Bruce McWilliams of Sheldon/South O’Brien, and scored a 12-7 decision to also remain alive in the consolation brackets for Friday’s action.
Skyler Rice would meet Kyle Paulson of Wilton in the semi-final at 135 on Friday afternoon, and saw his hopes of a championship dashed in an 8-4 decision loss to Paulson.
Rice would drop into the wrestleback round, where he met Josh Schaefer of Odeboldt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove and won a 5-2 decision to earn the right to wrestle for third place in Saturday’s Consolation Championships.
At 160, Joey Naig squared off against Will Hansen of Waterloo Columbus Catholic and found himself on the wrong end of a 7-2 decision. The loss would send Naig to the seventh place match in Saturday’s Consolation Championships.
At 189, Jake Morris met Spencer Lueders of Northeast Goose Lake, and earned his first win by fall of the tournament, pining Lueders in 3:02 of the match to earn a berth in the fifth place match in Saturday’s consolation championship matches.
With the Wells Fargo Arena nearly packed at noon on Saturday, the three E’Hawks took to the mats for the last time in the tournament.
Skyler Rice would wrestle an old foe in Osage’s Trevor Hejhal for the third place medal on Saturday, and Rice gained a measure of revenge for a loss to the Green Devil wrestler at the Osage Duals last month. Rice would control the match and earned a 5-3 decision to claim the third place honors in Class 2A at 135 pounds.
Joey Naig was paired off with Kyle Lux of South Tama in the seventh place match at 160, and Naig would win the placing with his 5-4 decision victory.
However, it would be a different outcome for Jake Morris, as he wrestled for fifth place at 189 pounds against Chaps Wilcke of Odebolt-Arthur/Battle Creek-Ida Grove. After pinning Wilcke in the OA/BCIG?Tournament back in January, Wilcke would give Morris a battle before handing Morris a 5-3 decision loss, forcing the senior to settle for a sixth place finish.
While the State tournament is just a memory, the E’Hawks as a team still have a week of work ahead of them as they prepare for their appearance in this weekend’s State Team Duals on Saturday, Feb. 27, at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids.
The task for the E’Hawks at the state duals will not be easy in Class 2A, as they will wrestle the Ballard Bombers in the first round match at 12 noon on Saturday.