Here is a look at five major match-ups in each class Wednesday for the first day of the state tournament. The first round of the Class 2A tournament begins competition Wednesday at 1 p.m. Class 3A opening round is set for the second session, beginning at 6 p.m.
#2 Josh Greiner (Ottumwa) vs. #5 Jake Rizzio (C.R. Prairie) at 135: Greiner enters the tournament undefeated at 42-0. Rizzio has battled concussion problems and returned a few weeks ago. Rizzio was second to Des Moines North/Hoover’s Brian Warren at district. Greiner scored a win last year over Stephen Hernandez of WDM Valley, who went on to place fourth at 119, but then was beat out the third and sixth place wrestlers. Rizzio, a 4-time state qualifier, was sixth at 130 last year.
#3 Elijah Sullivan (Lewis Central) vs. #9 Dominic Chase (Bettendorf) at 140: Chase was the 125-pound state runner-up last year, while Sullivan placed third at 130. Now they’ll have to go through each other just to make the quarterfinals. A win here could help Bettendorf’s title hopes.
Take you pick at 152: You have opening round bouts between #1 Justin Koethe of IC West and #5 Peyton Wagner of C.R. Prairie, #4 Adam Cartwright of Ft. Madison and #8 Ryan Flagel of Maquoketa and #2 Michael Kelly of Cedar Falls against C.R. Kennedy’s Ryan Sheldon, who recently beat Flagel in a dual, The weight class only gets more exciting as Flagel/Cartwright winner faces Kelly/Sheldon winner and Koethe/Wagner winner likely gets #3 Joey Trizzino of Bettendorf.
#2 Matt Riley (Des Moines Roosevelt) vs. #9 Dexter Curry (Iowa City High): The pair only has five losses combined. Riley won district by toppling Urbandale’s two-time state champ Evan Knight again. Curry was victim to an upset by Linn-Mar’s A.J. Garcia, but battled back to earn a berth with a wrestleback win. Two quality opponents facing off early.
#2 Nolan Proehl (Davenport West) vs. #3 Colin White (Glenwood) at Heavyweight: White was an eyelash away from being in the finals, losing an 4-2 overtime decision to state champion Brandon Burrell of Cedar Rapids Washington. White then ran into Tray Pendleton of Waterloo East and Brodie Berrie of Bettendorf, placing sixth. Proehl moved up to heavyweight from 215, where he qualified for state last year.
#4 Mitch Funk (MFL MarMac-Central) vs. #7 Brock Wenndt (Monticello): Funk, a junior, is making his debut in the Class 2A tournament after qualifying for the 1A meet last year, where he was 1-2, losing to the third and sixth place finishers. Wenndt has put together a solid season. The road doesn’t get any easier with possible matches against #5 Doug Miner of Spirit Lake Park and #2 Pryce Creighton of Dallas Center-Grimes looming in the coming rounds.
#3 Skyler Rice (Emmetsburg/AR/RA) vs. #6 Tom Mahoney (New Hampton) at 135: Rice, who transferred from his brother Stacey’s program at Manson-NW Webster, is up to Class 2A and faces Mahoney in the opening round. Mahoney came out of a very tough NE Iowa district and needed a huge comeback just to reach the district final. The winner could likely look at a semifinal date with #2 Kyle Paulsen of Wilton.
#2 Blake Sorenson (Denver-Tripoli) vs. #4 Ryan Valline (East Marshall/GMG) at 152: Sorenson is no stranger to opening round battles, but he’ll look to change his fortune. Last year, Sorenson entered the 145-pound bracket top-ranked and lost to Wilton’s No. 3 Ryan hand in an overtime bout. Sorenson rebound to place third, behind Hand and Matt Mougin of Columbus Jct. The winner of this one will go a long way.
#3 Will Hansen (Waterloo Columbus) vs. #7 Kyle Lux (South Tama): Both only have two losses this season, but one of Hansen’s came in the district final to top-ranked and undefeated Landon Williams of Davenport Assumption, which set up this first-round bout. In a weight class that has six of the top-9 wrestling the opening round (#2 Moorman, Centerville, vs. #8 Savage, Indee & #1 Williams vs. #9 Schossow of East Marshall/GMG), the consolation bracket will be brutal for someone trying to make the awards stand by wrestling back.
#2 Marcus Streit (Harlan) vs. #5 Cole Jackson (Gilbert) at 215: Streit, seventh at heavyweight last year in 3A, drops down a weight and a class. He had a surprising district runner-up finish to Creston-OM sophomore Collin Bevins. A tough task right out of the gate for both wrestlers. Even better is the potential quarterfinal match the winner might have against top-ranked and unbeaten James Morris of Solon, who opens with Williamsburg’s Tom Malloy.