Gaels advance six to districts
OGDEN – Head coach Tanner Utley saw his St. Edmond wrestling team put together a respectable showing at Saturday’s Class 1A, Sectional 8 meet.
Behind five individual champions and one runner-up, the No. 4 Gaels settled for a second-place effort in the team race, compiling 202.5 points. Fifth-ranked West Marshall (244) took home top honors, advancing eight.
Prairie Valley (170.5) finished fourth with two gold medals and two silvers.
“I knew we’d have a good shot to get six guys through,” Utley said. “We lost some tough matches in the first round where things didn’t go as planned, but I liked the way we wrestled back.”
Winning titles for St. Edmond were No. 4 Kaden McClintock (113 pounds), Nick Johnson (126), top-ranked Teddie Harvey (145), Dillon Nelson (182) and No. 1 Vinnie Harvey (220). Eighth-ranked Ryan Szalat (106) also moved on after earning a victory in his second-place wrestleback.
Seeking his second straight state bid, McClintock improved to 38-0 on the season with a pair of first-period pins, including a 1:24 fall time against West Marshall’s No. 5 Cole Needham in the finals.
“I knew (Needham) was supposed to be good, but I kind of prepared myself not to get too overhyped,” said the junior and three-time North Central Conference champion McClintock, who now owns a sparkling 114-8 career record. “I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I just need to take it one match at a time, and there should be a positive outcome.”
Johnson, a freshman, needed less than a minute to topple all three of his opponents. In the title round, Johnson stuck Harry Haglund of Ogden in 39 seconds en route to his 33rd triumph of the year.
“I feel like I can do anything right now,” Johnson said. “I’ve just got to keep working hard.”
Teddie Harvey, a two-time defending state qualifier, impressed again by pinning his way to the top of the podium. Teddie, who also remains undefeated this year, downed (2:52) Ogden’s Austin Lentz in his title bout for his 38th win of the season and 138th of his career.
“I like to go into every tournament and just dominate,” said Teddie, who placed fifth at state last winter. “At the beginning of the season, I was concerned with possibly cutting weight, but I feel great now after moving down to 45 (from 152).”
Following a 3:04 pin of South Hamilton’s Brady Clabaugh in the semifinals, Nelson edged Brandon Overman from West Marshall in the finals, 3-1. Nelson, a senior, upped his season’s mark to 33-8.
“Getting to state is what I’ve been striving for since I started wrestling six years ago,” Nelson said. “I feel like I’ve made tons of improvement since the beginning of the season.”
Remaining perfect on the year at 38-0, Vinnie collected a pair of falls of his own. Vinnie, who is aiming for his second consecutive state trip, prevailed (1:45) over Zach Stanley from South Hamilton in the semifinals, while upending (1:33) Prairie Valley’s Grant Bockoven in the championship.
“You always want to face tough kids because they push you to be your best,” said Vinnie, who has registered 113 varsity wins.
After reaching the finals with a technical fall and decision, Szalat was pinned (5:36) by No. 10 Kolby Munson of Ogden in the title round. The sophomore then rebounded in his wrestleback with a 5:50 fall time against Prairie Valley’s Spencer Johnson.
In addition, Colten Lastine (120) and Jimmy Averill (160) each placed third for the Gaels, while Matt Stumpf (138) was fourth and Eddie Harvey (132), Parker Huebsch (152) and Jacob Salisbury (195) were all fifth.
“How fitting was that to see Eddie get a pin in his final varsity match (Eddie pinned CMB-Baxter’s Ethan Cozad in 5:45 for fifth),” Utley said. “That’s as good as it gets right there.”
McClintock, Teddie and Vinnie all repeated as sectional champions for St. Edmond, which will next face Aplington-Parkersburg in the regional semifinal team duals Tuesday night in Clarion.
Logan Klingson (132) and No. 9 Matt Streit (195) both secured crowns for the Warriors, while Bockoven and Taylor Clough (152) were each second. Johnson, Brandon Ure (138) and Doug Jorgensen (182) all placed third, narrowly missing out on qualifying for districts.
Klingson, who is 24-9 this year, picked up a 6-4 decision in the finals over Ogden’s Austin McCloud. Streit also won by an 8-2 decision against West Marshall’s Christopher Sjoblom, moving to 40-2 on the season.
Brad Hemmestad (145) finished fourth for the Eagles, and Daniel Eslick (170) checked in fifth.
The 1A district meet is set for noon Saturday in Jewell. Traditional state competition will take place Feb. 14-16 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.