DES MOINES — Belle Plaine Coach Bob Yilek would be one good salesmen. Listen to the pitch he sold his team and you’d understand why.
Yilek told his team the state tournament was just another tournament, and the Plainsmen bought it.
Belle Plaine won seven of eight first-round matches and are planted in third place after the opening day of the Class 1A state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena.
Don Bosco dominated the first round, going a perfect 9 of 9 and scoring 27 points. Nashua-Plainfield was second with 17, a half-point ahead of Belle Plaine.
“In all reality, it is just another match,” Yilek said. “Just like the first match of the year, first match after Christmas, the end result is the same, to get your hand raised.”
Easier said than done, until you saw plenty of Belle Plaine hands being raised. The Plainsmen won their first six bouts and have all but one wrestler alive for Day 2.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better round,” said 140-pounder Colton Wagner, who dominated No. 10 Dray Carl of Corning, 16-1. “Everybody performed great.”
Zakk Buch (103), Jack O’Brien (119) and Tony Jones (285) defeated higher ranked foes.
Buch topped No. 3 Brennan McNitt of Council Bluffs St. Albert, 2-0. O’Brien edged No. 3 Augustine Martinez of Sioux Center, 11-10 in overtime. Jones used an escape and penalty point to upset Nodaway Valley’s No. 9 Luke Meisenheimer, 2-1.
“We had some tough matches,” Yilek said. “To go 7-1, I’m ecstatic.”
Top-ranked Drew Hinschberger advanced with a one-point win at 130 and Cameron Wagner followed with a major 10-2 major decision over No. 7 Ethan Kronemann of Britt West Hancock at 135.
Plainsmen 145-pounder Brad Recker gutted out a 6-4 win over Tri-Center’s Kyle Ring, scoring a winning takedown on the edge of the mat with 13 seconds left. Recker missed much of the start of the season to a broken ankle.
“That was great for Brad,” Yilek said. “It was a good win for him.”
They notched five wins over ranked foes, but Yilek has them sold on that too.
“It doesn’t matter who you’ve got or what they’re ranked,” Colton Wagner said. “This is just another match.”
Not many would consider his next match “just another match”. No. 2 Colton Wagner faces top-ranked Chris LeClere of North Linn in the quarterfinals.
“I’m going to have to wrestle physical,” said Colton Wagner. “I have to go out and do what I have been doing.”
LeClere started slow but pulled away late for a 13-2 major decision over AGWSR’s Ryan Roberts.
“I need to get things going better than that,” LeClere said. “My next match I can’t do that.”
They have split their previous two meetings as a prep with LeClere winning earlier this year.
“I have to set the tone for the match,” said LeClere (41-1). “People are looking forward to this match. It’s going to be a good one.”
LeClere was joined in the quarterfinals by teammates Logan Mulnix (125) and top-ranked 215-pounder Alex Burkle. Mulnix (39-1) beat New London’s Jon Swafford, 9-0, while Burkle needed just 12 seconds to pin cade Lambson of Mount Ayr.
The pin was Burkle’s first win in the first round at state. Valley Community’s Matt Fassbinder was in the same boat until stunning No. 3 and previously unbeaten Quinn Wilson of Oakland Riverside, 12-5.
After surrendering the opening takedown, Fassbinder took control with a reversal and nearfall points. He cinched up back-to-back cradles for an 8-2 lead.
“For a guy like me, it works,” Fassbinder said about using a cradle with his stocky frame. “I saw the opening and hit it.”
Alburnett’s top-ranked duo Tyler Shulista (103) and Christopher Halblom (112) each advanced. Shulista (40-2) manhandled Nick Drenth of HMS, 9-3, and Halblom (6-0) edged No. 5 Jesse Partlow of Manson-Northwest Webster, 5-4.
“I was extremely impressed with Tyler,” Alburnett Coach Kane Thompson said. “Chris struggled … We want him to dominate, but at this stage, winning is what we want (more).”
Elkader Central had to quarterfinalists in 103-pounder Mitch Funk and Nick Winter at 125.