DES MOINES – Be all you can be, and then a little more.
With the idea that nine qualifiers won’t produce a championship effort, the West Delaware Hawks hope their collective effort results in a “10th man.”
Top-ranked West Delaware won seven of its first nine matches and have eight wrestlers remaining after Thursday night’s opening rounds of the Iowa High School Athletic Association Class 2A state wrestling tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. The Hawks had 23 points, trailing leader Davenport Assumption by seven. Charles City, which won all seven of its matches, is third with 22 1/2.
The Hawks emphasis on bonus points to account for another wrestler worked, winning four by pin.
“That was great for our team,” said 145-pounder Zach Muller, who stuck Spirit Lake Park’s Kenten Murray in 2:44. “Coach talks about we only have nine wrestlers but he wants 10, so we score so many bonus points. If we want a state title, we want bonus points.”
Assumption already stung West Delaware, edging them for the dual championship Wednesday. The Hawks have additional motivation to overcome Assumption’s early surge.
“We’ve been talking about winning a state championship the whole year,” Muller said. “Since we lost the first one, it’s important we show the team’s hard work and get this one.”
Muller built a big lead before cinching up a cradle and getting the pin and two extra points that come with it. He kept pressuring Murray until he broke.
“I wasn’t expecting a cradle right there,” said Muller, who improved to 35-10. “Once I got it, and I got it tight, I knew it was going to be over.”
Top-ranked Pat Woods opened the round with a fall at 106. Zach Less followed with a decision at 113. Fourth-ranked Jake Voss took the mat after Muller and scored an 8-2 decision over South Tama’s Levi Kaufman at 152.
The Hawks’ big hammers capped the round with pins from Jacyn Goebel (182), Adam Reth at 220 and a decision by heavyweight Dean Broghammer.
Goebel was in an early 2-0 hole, but scored eight straight points before dropping Knoxville’s Colton Spaur in 5:20.
“He took me down first but conditioning kicked in towards the end,” Goebel said. “He just wore out. I took advantage of that.”
Union Community’s Logan Thomsen has excellent wrestling credentials, but one thing is missing from his resume. Thomsen does not own a state title, placing second as a freshman and junior and third as a sophomore in brackets won by Denver-Tripoli’s Brandon Sorensen (twice) and Creston’s Jake Marlin, who are both attempting to win their fourth titles this season.
Thomsen decided to beef up from 145 to 152, focusing on weight training to add mass.
“It’s the best position for me to get a state championship,” Thomsen said. “Since the day I decided, I’ve been working every single day. I can tell I have made huge gains in strength and conditioning.”
Thomsen started out slow, surrendering the first takedown to Decorah’ Hans Holkesvik, but took control late in the first with a pin in 1:55.
“As long as I keep motoring, usually things fall into place,” Thomsen said. “The kid just wanted to hold on to my head when I had the Russian (arm) tie-up. He was not protecting an outside carry so I hit it.”
Thomsen (42-1) advances to the quarterfinals for a tough test against Charles City’s second-ranked Jesse Etherington (28-1). He has adjusted to the larger weight class and tries to utilize his skills learned when he was smaller.
“At the beginning, the guys felt stronger,” Thomsen said. “They’re not in as good as shape or as good in scrambling. I try to use my scrambling and conditioning.”
Thomsen’s brother, Max, is attempting to win his second state crown. Union’s top-ranked 126-pounder opened with a 15-0 technical fall over No. 8 Chase Goodman of South Central Calhoun. Jacob Holschlag, who is now at 145, won by decision and second-ranked heavyweight Josh Clark recorded a fall, giving the Knights four quarterfinalists. Union is fifth with 13 1/2 points.
Third time was a charm for Mount Vernon’s Trey Ryan. In his third trip to state, the Mustangs top-ranked junior won his first first-round match, dropping Gilbert’s Jake Rhoads, 9-5.
“It’s good to get that first win,” said Ryan, who is 40-1. ”Once you get that down, the nerves go away a little bit.”
Ryan placed sixth last season at 145, but a big influence was watching older brother, Jacob, wrestle in the state finals for Mount Vernon. It would be special to compete Saturday night.
“Getting to the finals is a real cool experience,” Ryan said. “it would be nice but you have to take it one match at a time.”
He wasn’t satisfied with the victory, but will accept it since it means he advances.
“I think I could have got my offense going more,” Ryan said. “A win is a win down here. I ahve to keep going.”
The Mustangs James Wenzel won his first round match at 126, beating Clarinda’s Cole Race, 3-1. Kyle Jilovec (138) and Josh Cannon (220) won consolation matches for Mount Vernon.
Independence’s second-ranked Chase Straw (43-1) reached the 145-pound quarterfinals with a pin over Estherville-Lincoln Central’s Blake Gjerde.
Center Point-Urbana’s Brock Rathbun won an exciting bout in his state tournament debut. The second-ranked 106-pound freshman scored a takedown with about 20 seconds remaining for a 6-5 win over Crestwood’s No. 3 Brandon Mayer.
Rathbun fought back, trailing most of the match. A regular-season win in overtime against Dubuque Senior’s Chase Lynn, ranked third in Class 3A, paid dividends Thursday night.
“It feels pretty good,” Rathbun said. “I just had to fight for all six minutes, because if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have gotten that takedown.”
He is serious at becoming the Stormin’ Pointers first state champion. Rathbun (39-2) handled butterflies and is now acclimated to the state atmosphere.
“It’s good, because I know what to expect in my next couple matches,” Rathbun said. “I can just build off of it.”
While state title hopes remain for some, others’ dreams were ended. South Tama’s Kyle Lux won the 160-pound title last year and entered the state tournament top-ranked with a 45-0 mark. He had goal to become the Trojans’ first two-time state champ, but Grinnell’s Jack Leshen ruined that with a 6-3 win at 170. Lux won by fall in the wrestleback.
Defending state champion Nick Georgean, of Assumption, was upset in the first round as well. Albia’s Griffin Osing (48-1) clipped Georgean (36-1), 1-0, at 152.