No finalists? No problem.
The West Delaware Hawks became the first-ever team to win an Iowa traditional team championship without having a top-three finisher, and became the first program since Urbandale, in 1996, to win without a wrestler in the championship round.
The Hawks topped the Class 2A field with 76.5 points — using the wealth of depth shown all season with seven wrestlers placing and all eight state qualifiers scoring points — to outdistance runner-up Spirit Lake Park (63-5), Clear Lake (63.5), Union (60.5) and WaMaC foe Solon (58.5) in an incredibly balanced team race.
“This year’s tournament showed the strength of our team — both in the duals and the individual tournament,” said West Delaware coach Jeff Voss. “Scoring points at all of our weights is something this team had done all year long, which is key to competing for the individual tournament title.”
The Hawks had three fourth-place finishers to lead the way.
At 132, senior Ryan Phillips grabbed a first round win over Cody Calvelege, of Louisa Muscatine (fall 3:39) before dropping a 9-0 decision to Jalen Schropp, of Williamsburg, in the quarterfinals. Phillips worked his way back to the third-place match with wins over Bock Radeke, of Vinton-Shellsburg (MD 11-1), Remington Hansen, of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (fall 1:58) and Kruise Kiburz, of Winterset (8-3) before dropping a rematch with Schropp in the consolation final (7-0).
Freshman Jadyn Peyton took fourth at 138, dropping decisions to Perry senior Kaleb Olejniczak in the quarterfinal round (7-3) and the third-place match (12-1) but placed fourth on the strength of wins over Brody Roll, of Osage (fall 1:44), in the opening round and victories over Gunnar Rodgers, of North Fayette Valley (fall 3:51), and Jared Kadel, of Columbus (7-2), in the consolation bracket.
Wyatt Voelker completed a strong freshman campaign by taking fourth at 170. Voelker took his opening round match over Dylan Koresh of Charles City (4-3) and advanced to the semifinal round with a 5-4 decision over Spencer Mooberry of Osage. Voelker’s semifinal foe was a familiar one — top-ranked and unbeaten Paul Ryan, of Mount Vernon. Voelker again gave Ryan all he wanted, but dropped an 8-5 decision. Voelker then defeated Jarron Trausch, of PCM, to reach the third-place match where he dropped a 3-1 decision to Colter Bye, of Crestwood.
Mitchel Mangold matched his 2018 season with a fifth-place finish at 152, opening with a 6-3 loss to Clear Lake’s Braxton Doebel before winning three in a row in the consolation bracket. Mangold decisioned Kalen Meyer, of Central Lyon GLR (5-1), and Zack Bevans, of Solon (3-1), before winning by technical fall over Connor Pellett, of Atlantic (4:57 18-3), to move to a consolation semifinal match with nemesis Scott Betterton, of Vinton-Shellsburg. Mangold led 1-0 in the third period before Betterton took a reversal that led to a fall in 5:53. Mangold came back strong in the fifth-place match and turned the tables on Clear Lake’s Doebel, winning a major decision (11-1).
Carson Petlon wrestled well and took fifth place at 285, decisioning Darrin Sesker, of Van Meter-Earlham (3-2), and Drew Evans, of Independence (UTB 3-2), to reach the semifinal match. Unbeaten Spencer Trenary, of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, advanced to the final with a fall in 1:24, sending Petlon to the consolation bracket where Maquoketa’s Taven Rich won by fall in 1:22 sending Petlon to the 5th-place match where he won a virtual repeat of his earlier match with Evans (UTB 3-2).
Cael Meyer was eighth at 145 and Jack Neuhaus matched that at 182.
Meyer dropped a 9-6 decision to Jack West, of Winterset, in the first round, but powered his way through the consolation round with wins over Washington’s Dylan Sanders (fall 2:20) and Miles Hansmeier, of Waukon (8-2), before losing to Keaton Wilson, of Clarion-Goldfield-Dows (9-5), and Max Babcock, of NH-TV (7-4),
Neuhaus lost a tough 3-2 decision to Ethan Reed, of Carlisle, in the first round, but bounced back with consolation wins over Clarion’s Sam Wigans (8-3) and Abraham Michel, of Maquoketa (4-1). Neuhaus then lost a third-round consolation bout to Luke Jenness, of Sheldon-South O’Brien (fall 2:42) and dropped the seventh-place match to Dylan Jeffers, of Keokuk (fall 0:27).
Jordan Bries (195) took a first-round match over Treyton Murphy, of Crestwood (5-4), before dropping a quarterfinal to Dalton Chipp, of Hampton-Dumont (fall 3:46) to move to the consolation bracket, where Decorah’s Andy Murphy won a 7-2 decision to end Bries’ run.
“Our mindset going in was to continue what we have done all year long, “ said Voss, who was named Class 2A Coach of the year along with his staff. “We want to be thankful for the opportunity to wrestle, be aggressive and relentless, have no fear of losing or making mistakes and never give up. We say these four things before and after every practice. If we tell ourselves something long enough we start to believe it. We wrestled with that in mind the entire tournament and the results took care of themselves.”
“We appreciate the support of the West Delaware community over the course of the entire season. The crowd that came down to the state duals was incredible,” said Voss. “Section 104 at the individual tournament was loud and supportive of our wrestlers every time we entered the arena and came back from our matches.”
“I would like to thank this year’s seniors for leading us through this great season. Daniel Woods, Ben Ridenour, Mitchel Mangold, Kody Wenger, Ryan Phillips and Jordan Bries have shown great perseverance and leadership. They have left a great legacy for others to learn and grow from.”