CEDAR RAPIDS – The last time Cedar Rapids Jefferson won its home tournament Dick Briggs had much less gray hair and some of his staff hadn’t even wrestled a varsity match.
Don’t forget the fact that his son, Kyle, and his J-Hawk teammates weren’t even alive.
Jefferson defending its back yard Saturday, so to speak, claiming the team title at the J-Hawk Invitational for the first time since 1993. The J-Hawks crowned three champions, tallying 241 points, for a comfortable 69 advantage over runner-up West Delaware.
The 21-year stretch was snapped, because of a strong, balanced lineup.
“It was four, five six or seven years before these kids were born,” Briggs said. “It’s been way too long. I’m really proud of our team effort.”
No emphasis was put on claiming the J-Hawk team title, but they were aware of the potential.
“We expected it,” Jefferson 152-pound Kelly May said. “We’ve been working pretty hard for it and felt good to come away with it.”
The J-Hawks were strong throughout the day, advancing 10 to the semifinals and five into championship bouts. All but two wrestlers placed sixth or better, helping Jefferson post an 8-4 mark in the final round.
“It was 14 guys, who all contributed,” Briggs said. “It’s been like that all season long.
“We had a good final round. You want to finish on the odds – first, third, – and we did a pretty decent job of that.”
May, ranked eighth in Class 3A, recorded one of the more impressive victories, pinning Clinton’s third-ranked Dustin Caldwell for the 152-pound crown. May built a 7-3 lead, capitalizing on a desperation throw attempt to end the match.
He wasn’t worried about the challenge, taking the mat with the same approach as any other contest.
“I try not to pay attention to who I am wrestling,” May said. “I like to have a clear mind and wrestle every match like it’s the same kid.”
May took control with a reversal and three nearfall points in the second period. He felt confident after that move.
“He went to put the legs,” May said. “I felt an opportunity and just went with it. It worked out.”
Top-ranked Brenden Baker kicked off the finals with a strong 14-4 major decision over No. 4 Triston Lara of Fort Dodge in the 106 final.
Josh Allen notched the final Jefferson title, scoring a takedown in the final period for 4-3 win over Fort Dodge’s Riley Prescott for the 195 title.
Kyle Briggs (120) and 160-pounder Luke Sedlacek earned runner-up finishes for Jefferson.
West Delaware’s Class 2A top-ranked duo Pat Woods (113) and Jake Voss at 160 took home titles. Voss used three takedowns to top Sedlacek, 7-3, in the finals.
Woods faced a familiar foe in the championship match. The defending 2A state champion edged Alburnett’s 1A second-ranked Zach Fowler, 6-5. It was a good test to tune up for the upcoming postseason.
“It’s always great to get good matches like that,” Woods said. “I was glad with the way it ended and how I fought.”
The pair exchanged takedowns in the first, but Fowler took his first lead in the third with a reversal. Woods was down a point with less than 15 seconds remaining and made the most of a restart. It reversed a trend of being ridden out to lose in past finals matches in this event.
“I thought about that for a second,” Woods said. “I knew I needed to give it all I had left. I just told myself to keep wrestling.
“I was trying to explode off the bottom. I felt pressure change and I went for the reversal.”
Alburnett matches Jefferson with three champions. Top-seeds and defending state champions Hunter Washburn (132) and Dylan Windfield (170) had shutout wins in the finals.
The Pirates’ 145-pound sophomore Bryce Paul won a battle between fourth-ranked wrestlers. Paul, ranked in 1A, notched an 8-3 win over Clinton’s 3A No. 4 Alex Caldwell in the final.
“That is a big confidence booster,” Paul said. “It sums up the season. You work hard and it pays off.”
Paul learned a tough lesson last year, getting pinned with a six-point lead in a district match, which prevented him from advancing to state. He dictated the tempo with four points in the first period and added a reversal in the second and third-period takedown.
Not only does the win fuel his fire to reach the state meet, but increases the motivation for state gold.
“I’ve been thinking about a state title since last year,” said Paul, who improved to 28-4. “I’m ready for the grind and getting that state title.”
At C.R. Jefferson
Teams - 1. C.R. Jefferson 241, 2. West Delaware 172, 3. Clinton 166.5, 4. Alburnett 159.5, 5. Dubuque Hempstead 135, 6. Fort Madison 127, 7. Boone 105, 8. Fort Dodge 102.5, 9. Johnston 92, 10. Oskaloosa 86.5, 11. Marshalltown 50, 12. Benton Community 42, 13. Council Bluffs Thomas Jefferson 37, 14. Muscatine 30, 15. Waterloo East 17, 16. Lake Forest (Ill.) 0.
106 pounds - Brenden Baker (CRJ) major dec. Triston Lara (FD), 14-4; 113 – Pat Woods (WD) dec. Zach Fowler (Alb), 6-5; 120 – Henry Pohlmeyer (John) dec. Kyle Briggs (CRJ), 7-0; 126 – Hunter Genco (Clin) dec. Bryce Meyer (FM), 1-0; 132 – Hunter Washburn (Alb) dec. Chase Seaney (FM), 3-0; 138 – Jacob Duccini (DH) dec. Beau Vaske (WD), 5-2; 145 – Bryce Paul (Alb) dec. Alex Cadlwell (Clin), 8-3; 152 – Kelly May (CRJ) pinned Dustin Caldwell (Clin), 5:41; 160 – Jake Voss (WD) dec. Luke Sedlacek (CRJ), 7-3; 170 – Dylan Windfield (Alb) major dec. Brent Lammers (WD), 10-0; 182 – Mason Wisse (Osk) pinned Dillion Chase (Clin), 4:54; 195 – Josh Allen (CRJ) dec. Riley Prescott (FD), 4-3; 220 – Gannon Gremmel (DH) dec. Mason Frost (Boone), 6-1; Hwt. – Kyle Springis (Boone) pinned Quintin Taylor (BC), 3:52.
Outstanding wrestler - Hunter Genco (Clinton)
Gregorrian Award (Most falls in least time) - Sam Phillips (West Delaware), Four falls in 4:03.
Alburnett, Brenden Baker, Bryce Paul, Cedar Rapids Jefferson, Dick Briggs, Dylan Windfield, gallery, Hunter Washburn, J-Hawk INvitational, J-Hawks, Jake Voss, Josh Allen, kelly May, Pat Woods, Pirates, video, Wrestling