West Delaware advanced all 14 wrestlers to this week’s district tournament at Center Point-Urbana, winning 28-of-31 matches and qualifying in every weight class for the first time since the 2013 state championship season, scoring 305 points to nearly double second-place Anamosa’s 160.
The Hawks turned the championship round into a West Delaware against everybody else dual and won 11-of-14 first-place matches. If anyone was keeping score, it was 44-11.
Anamosa advanced three wrestlers, third-place Monticello advanced four with 140.5 points, Maquoketa three with 138, Jesup fifth with 125.5, advancing three, and Wahlert moved on three wrestlers with 109.
Nobody expected anything different in the team race, but putting all 14 wrestlers in the final round isn’t something you see every day.
“Our team is wrestling really well right now,” said West Delaware coach Jeff Voss. “But as I keep saying, I really feel our best is yet to come.”
Freshman Carson Less (22-10) got things rolling in the final round with a 9-7 decision over Monticello’s Kale Hansen (35-4) at 106 pounds, before Jesup’s Carter Littlefield won by tech fall over West Delaware senior Luke Farmer at 113. Farmer advanced without a wrestleback.
At 120, Blake Engel (29-5) took the gold for the second week in a row, pinning Monticello’s Owen Ray (35-10) in 1:19, and senior Evan Woods (25-7) followed suit with a 17-4 major decision over Monticello’s Ethan Tallman (25-11).
No.3 Kain Luensman (40-1), of Monticello, won a 6-2 decision over West Delaware’s Staveley Maury (22-10) at 132, but Maury left little doubt about the outcome in a wrestleback match, pinning Ivan Martin, of Maquoketa, in 1:34 to advance to district competition.
The Peyton brothers went back-to-back at 138 and 145, as freshman Logan Peyton (25-5) won a tough 4-3 decision over Anamosa senior Mitchell Engelbart (34-12) and Jadyn Peyton (29-5) won by fall over Jesup’s Jerret Delagardelle (29-7).
“I feel good and I’m really satisfied with how I wrestled today,” said Logan Peyton. “The finals match was a tough one, but I just try to go out and do my thing. We’re bonding really well as a team right now.”
Kyle Cole (8-1) grabbed a sectional title at 152 with a 6-1 decision over Jesup’s Izak Krueger (28-9). Cole was the only Hawk with a quarterfinal match, but after missing the majority of the season due to nagging injuries, that suited Cole just fine.
“I feel good. My mindset throughout the entire season was to make it to state,” Cole said. “I decided to push myself in practice even though I couldn’t be wrestling. I had to find other ways to get myself prepared. I put it all out there today.”
Cael Meyer (29-3) breezed through the 160-pound bracket, and won an 8-1 decision over Anamosa’s Nathan Keating (39-8) in the final, setting the stage for a rematch between No.1 Jared Voss (29-5) and No.4 Abe Michel (33-4) of Maquoketa at 170 pounds. Voss took the gold in a bracket that also included No. 9 Connor Dehn, of Wahlert, with a solid 8-3 decision over Michel.
“I’ve been really working on my mindset, not worrying much about technique, but just getting my mind in the right place,” said Jared Voss. “I’ve been dealing with tough brackets all year, so I just work on keeping every match the same.”
Senior Jack Neuhaus (29-3) and Wahlert’s Bryce Anstoetter (31-9) faced off at 182 in one of the better matches of the final round, and Neuhaus muscled his way to a 4-3 win.
“It was a good battle,” said Neuhaus. “We’re going to come back Monday and keep everything the same. Districts are no different than any other tournament for us.”
Wyatt Voelker (32-1) made it look easy at 195, winning twice by fall, and disposing of Maquoketa’s Lane Stender (26-11) in 3:23, before Christian Nunley (25-6) won an 8-0 major decision over Maquoketa’s Achilles Solomon (18-11).
“I just go out and try to score as many points as I can,” Voelker said. “I never actually saw who I was going to wrestle and I didn’t look at my bracket. I’m not focused on winning or losing anymore, I’m just solidly focused on scoring points.”
No.3 Carson Petlon (29-2) survived a tough bracket at 285, winning a 7-0 semifinal decision over Anamosa’s Connor Andreason (38-8), before meeting up with No. 2 Taven Rich (36-1) for the third time this season in the final. This time it was Rich winning a 5-1 decision to send Petlon to a wrestleback with Wahlert’s Marik Dickson(27-10). Petlon overcame a sluggish start to get the fall over Dickson in 3:38.
“I just knew I had to take one match at a time and let go of the past and focus on the future,” said Petlon. “I just focus on the match ahead and let everything else go.”
Coach Voss was happy with the way the Hawks competed and is excited for the week ahead.
“We wrestled better today than we did at the WaMaC, and that’s what you have to do this time of year,” he said. “There were a lot of good kids in this tournament. For us to get all 14 guys through we had to have every single kid wrestle well and they did that.”
“We’ll come in tomorrow (Sunday) and get organized and get in a light workout. Monday we’ll be back in the room and get better. We’ll be ready to go on Tuesday.”