*-Returning champions: Cory Clark, Southeast Polk (112), Brandon Jones, West Des Moines Valley (119), Adam Perrin, North Scott (125), John Meeks, Des Moines Roosevelt (125), Jake Ballweg, Waverly-Shell Rock (140), Cody Caldwell, Waverly-Shell Rock (145), Michael Kelly, Cedar Falls (152), Nick Mooe, Iowa City West (160), Kyven Gadson, Waterloo East (189), Evan Knight, Urbandale, (189), Cody Krumwiede, Waverly-Shell Rock (215)
*-Other individuals to watch: Colby Knight, Urbandale (103), Jack Hathaway, Iowa City West (112), Eric DeVos, Waverly-Shell Rock (119), Kirk Sallis Jr., Waterloo East (119), Jordan Rinken, Waverly-Shell Rock (130), Bo Schlosser, Bettendorf (135), Josh Greiner, Ottumwa (135), Julian Feikert, Keokuk (140), Gabe Moreno, Urbandale (140), Justin Koethe, Iowa City West (152), Michael Moreno, Urbandale (171), Matt Riley, Des Moines Roosevelt (189), Brodie Berrie, Bettendorf (Hwt.)
*-Teams to watch (qualifiers): Bettendorf (13), Indianola (10), Iowa City West (9), Waverly-Shell Rock (9), Urbandale (5)
*-Prediction: 1. Waverly-Shell Rock, 2. Iowa City West, 3. Bettendorf
Synopsis: I’ve already changed my mind four times. Saying I have a confident in any pick would be false, because the potential for any of these three teams to come away with a state title is high. Bettendorf has an advantage in numbers, but is it simply Quantity vs. Quality or do the Bulldogs have the high level of balance to place enough wrestlers – especially in the top 6 – to counter the big guns from WSR and West. The Go-Hawks and Trojans have been battling at this level for a few years now and they certainly know what they need to do to come through at WFA. One interesting bit is the MAC hasn’t won a Class 3A state title since 1987 when Clinton earned a championship. Coincidentally, that was the year Bettendorf head coach Dan Knight won his fourth state crown for the River Kings. West’s Nick Moore, who is looking to join Knight by becoming Iowa’s 19th 4-time state champ, and Justin Koethe give West its best title chances at 160 and 152. They are going to need big performances from Jack Hathaway (112), Gradey Gambrall (135), David Solis (171) and freshman Mickey Pelfrey at 215. Contributions from Jon Skarda (119) and Garrett Hathaway (140) will be key also. WSR may not have the depth as the others but they do have three state champs (Ballweg 140, Caldwell 145 and Krumwiede 215) and title contenders Eric DeVos (119) and Jordan Rinken (130). They proved last year they had enough to capture a second-straight title. This three-way battle royal could have different outcomes each time it’s wrestled.