Once is not enough for Erik Lux.
The South Tama senior was not satisfied with winning a state title last year. It only made him hungrier for another.
Lux has the chance to win a second straight championship when the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 2A state wrestling tournament begins Wednesday night at 7 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
“After you win a state title, you want one more,” Lux said after claiming a sectional title at Clear Creek Amana High School in Tiffin. “It helps you push the pace and set my goals. It helped me get to the level I am now.”
The top-ranked Lux is 45-0 at 170 pounds. He won the 160-pound crown last year. South Tama’s 10 individual state titles have been won by 10 different wrestlers, and an 11th would make Lux the Trojans first two-timer.
The program has produced champions Matt, Stacy and Wes Hand, Paul Bradley, current head coach and former Luther wrestler Nathan Van Dyke, Bryce Chyma, Chris Harrison, Tyrone Roberts and Kyle Lux, Erik’s brother.
“Everybody’s hero is Dan Gable, though,” Lux said. “I definitely looked up to them when I was younger.”
The opportunity for bragging rights over his brother is attractive as well. Kyle Lux won the 160-pound title in his senior season of 2011. Erik Lux would like to be able to “one-up” his older brother.
“A little bit, yeah,” he said with a laugh. “He’d just have to take it, hopefully.”
His brother’s title run planted a seed for his own. He experienced the atmosphere of Saturday night during state and wanted his own chance. He capitalized last season, which supplies the confidence of a repeat performance.
“Instead of thinking or hoping I can, I know I can because I already did it,” Erik Lux said. “People are gunning for me so I have to try harder.”
Erik Lux opens with Grinnel’s eighth-ranked Jack Leshen (41-5) with the winner facing another ranked opponent. Complacency and overconfidence do not exist, despite already owning a title.
“He’s got to get better,” Van Dyke said. “He’s never won a championship at 170. He’s never won a championship in 2013.
“It’s cliche, but you can’t look past anybody. Every match is important.”
Van Dyke said Erik Lux has many intangibles necessary to win a state title. He also praised his technique and strength, including the ability to dead-lift 480 pounds. Van Dyke said Erik Lux has a strong work ethic, lifting at 5:30 a.m. in the spring and working out daily during the summer.
“He’s lanky so he can create mismatches with guys, but he’s really patient, staying calm in positions where some might give up points. He stays in the fight and keeps battling,” Van Dyke said. “Hands down one of the hardest workers I’ve coached.”
Now, he just has to parlay that into another title and his own page in the South Tama record books.
“I just need to stay healthy, wrestle my matches and do my thing,” Erik Lux said. “I’m always pushing the pace and wrestling on the edge. I have really good conditioning and it allows me to push the whole match.”
Schott, Reth among area unbeatens
Nine Gazette-area wrestlers, including four defending state champions, enter the Iowa High School Athletic Association state wrestling tournaments Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines with unbeaten records.
North Linn’s Brendan Schott and West Delaware’s Adam Reth will attempt to post their second straight unbeaten season. Schott is top-ranked in Class 1A with a 38-0 record. He was 46-0 in winning the 170-pound title in 1A last year as a junior.
Reth, nationally ranked at 220, is 39-0 and a favorite to win in 2A. He owns an 83-match win streak, going 44-0 and winning the 2A 195-pound championship. His mind has been filled with thoughts of another title.
“It would be pretty awesome,” Reth said. “It’s all I’ve been able to think about. It would be a great way to go out.”
He said fundamentals and wrestling consistently is key. It will help to keep a business-like approach.
“Everyone goes to state with a 0-0 record,” Reth said. “It’s a new season. Lots of funny things happen there so you have to take it one match at a time and wrestle your best.”
Among the other undefeated state champions, are South Tama’s Erik Lux, who is 45-0 at 170 in 2A, and Union Community’s 126-pounder Max Thomsen, who is 43-0 in 2A.
West Delaware heavyweight Dean Broghammer (41-0) and Mount Vernon’s 160-pounder Trey Ryan (38-0) are also unbeaten in 2A.
In Class 1A, Iowa City Regina’s Daniel Gaffey is 36-0 at 220 and Edgewood-Colesburg sophomore Sawyer Amling is 22-0 at 126.
Linn-Mar’s Joel Northrup is one of six undefeated wrestlers in 3A. The Lions’ top-ranked 145-pounder and two-time state medalist is 47-0 this season.
Creston’s Jake Marlin and Brandon Sorensen of Denver-Tripoli are looking to join an elite group of Iowa prep wrestling.
They will try to become the 22nd and 23rd four-time state champions in Iowa history when the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 2A state tournament begins Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Both have signed to wrestler at the University of Iowa and Coach Tom Brands next year.
Marlin is 49-1 at 138 pounds. Sorensen is 52-0 at 145. Sorensen enters the state tournament tied with Underwood senior Andrew Foutch with career 204 wins. Both could overtake current all-time wins lead T.J. Sebolt, who had 207 at Centerville from 2003-06.
Marlin has won titles at 130, 135 and 138. Sorensen has claimed championships at 119, 130 and 132. If both accomplish the feat, it will be the fourth time two wrestlers have won their fourth in the same year, but the first time it will be done by two wrestlers in 2A.
Cory Clark, of Southeast Polk, and Des Moines Roosevelt’s John Meeks achieved it last season. Clark is now at Iowa, and Meeks wrestles for Iowa State.