By Becky Walz,
Six wrestlers had the job of representing northeast Iowa last week at the Iowa State Wrestling Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Three of them returned home with hardware. Ranked fifth at 145 pounds in Class 2A, Jackson Rolfs of Decorah finished the tournament in fourth place, while fellow Viking Keenan Tyler earned seventh place. For the second straight season, South Winn’s Damon Meyer brought home sixth place at 220 pounds.
Competing at state for the third time in his career, No. 5 Jackson Rolfs (145) opened the tournament with Sam West of Notre Dame/W.B./Danville. By the end of the first period, the Viking grappler claimed a 4-0 lead with a takedown and two-point nearfall. Again, in the second period, Rolfs earned a two-point near-fall to lead 6-0. The senior gave up a takedown late in the third, but advanced to the quarterfinals on a 6-2 decision. In Friday’s quarterfinals, Rolfs stayed in the championship bracket by throwing sixth-ranked Remington Hanson of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows in 3:25, after taking a 6-0 lead with a pair of takedowns and a near-fall. Moving into the semifinals, Rolfs met up with top-ranked and eventual Class 2A champion Matthew Lewis of Centerville, striking first with a takedown, before Lewis reversed the offense. The Centerville grappler later earned an escape in the second period and survived to knock out Rolfs by a 3-2 decision. Working his way to the third-place match, the Viking matman clung to a 2-1 decision over Landon Fenton of PCM on a third-period reversal. In the consolation finals, Rolfs wemt to work on Camanche’s Eric Kinkaid to no avail, falling by 4-2 decision and ending his season with a 31-4 record.
It was an active first-round match between Decorah’s Keenan Tyler and Spirit Lake Park’s Keegan Bradley at 182 pounds. Following a Tyler takedown, No. 6 Bradley earned the reversal to keep the score knotted 2-2 after the first period. Tyler began to pull away with a second period take down and another in the third, finishing with a two-point nearfall for the 8-3 win. Battling No. 2 Spencer Mooberry of Osage in the quarterfinals, Tyler fell in 1:00 to move into the consolation bracket versus Ayden Frazer of Washington. There the junior won 11-5 to continue on, eventually falling to West Delaware’s Cael Meyer in the consolation semifinals and drop to the seventh-place match. For the third time in three weeks, Tyler faced off with North Fayette Valley’s Kale Rodgers, twice coming away with the win; this time it was an 11-2 major decision to earn seventh place. Tyler’s junior campaign ended with a 26-7 record.
Senior Damon Meyer competed at state for the second time in his career. Meyer battled No. 6 Chris Gardner of Underwood in the first round and got control, pinning Gardner in 5:29. Up next in the quarterfinals for Meyer was sixth-ranked Jared Thiry of Don Bosco. Following a scoreless first period, Meyer chose down and earned the escape to lead 1-0 into the third. Thiry got the quick escape in the final period then a takedown on Meyer to get the lead, eventually defeated the Warrior grappler 5-2.
Moving into the second round of consolations, Meyer faced No. 10 Louis Hamlet of Starmont, getting the throw in 3:38 to keep his tournament alive and ensure a podium finish. In the consolation quarterfinals, Meyer survived a 5-4 decision versus Jayden Soard of South Central Calhoun. Southwest Valley’s Tallen Myers rolled Meyer in 5:35 in the consolation semifinals to drop the SW grappler into the match for fifth place. For the second time in the tournament, the Warrior met up with Don Bosco’s Jared Thiry, falling once again 7-5, to earn sixth place and wrap up his season with a 21-5 mark.
Brady Stille took to the mat first for the Vikings. The sophomore had used a wrestle back at districts to earn his trip to the state tournament. In his first match at 132 pounds versus No. 4 Logan Arp of South Tama County, Stille got caught in a takedown in both the first and periods and earned a pair of escapes, leaving him short on the 4-2 decision. In the first-round of consolations, the Viking was taken to the mat early by Albia’s Justin Keller and worked his way into a reversal for a 2-2 tie after the first period. In the second, Stille got an escape and takedown, turning Keller to his back for the fall in 2:55 to stay alive in the consolation bracket. The sophomore ended his quest in the second round of consolations versus West Delaware’s Reily Dolan, falling in 3:22. Stille wraps up his sophomore season with a 21-13 record.
In his inaugural trip to state, Austin Wilkins (138) faced No. 5 Reed Abbas of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows in the first round, falling in 2:44. The junior’s tournament ended in the first-round consolations to No. 10 Shea Parkis of Kuemper Catholic by a 3-2 decision. Wilkins and Parkis were deadlocked at 0-0 entering the third period; however, Parkis was able to get the escape and takedown on Wilkins for the win. Wilkins ends his junior season with a 23-14 record.
In this third trip to state, junior Ethan Maldonado was outmuscled in the first round by fifth-ranked Cade Siebrecht of Lisbon by an 11-1 major decision. Moving into the first-round consolation bracket, Maldonado was up against Beckman’s Nick Schmidt and led 5-3 entering the third period. Schmidt got the reversal to which the SW junior answered with an escape to maintain the lead. However, in the closing 25 seconds, Maldonado was taken to the mat and gave up nearfall points, to end his season by an 11-10 decision after a reversal. The junior ends his season with a 36-12 record.