Five Gaels are state bound
JEWELL – Wells Fargo Arena will be the next stop for five St. Edmond wrestlers.
Competing at a Class 1A, District 4 meet, the Gaels advanced three champions and two runners-up to this week’s traditional state tournament.
In the team race, fourth-ranked SEHS placed third with 92 points.
No. 5 West Marshall (109.5) took home top honors, moving on five individuals. Ninth-ranked Clarion-Goldfield (102) settled for second, pushing through four.
For the Gaels, No. 8 Ryan Szalat (106 pounds), top-ranked Teddie Harvey (145) and No. 1 Vinnie Harvey (220) each collected gold medals, while fourth-ranked Kaden McClintock (113) and Dillon Nelson (182) both grabbed silver.
“We kind of did what I expected,” St. Edmond head coach Tanner Utley said. “Our guys had some tough matches all day long, which you know you’re going to get this time of the year. I thought overall, though, our guys really battled out (on the mat).”
After narrowly edging Clarion-Goldfield’s Evan Ulven by a 6-5 decision in his semifinal match, the sophomore Szalat avenged last week’s sectional finals loss to Ogden’s 10th-ranked Kolby Munson with a 4-2 victory in the title round.
“I knew I could beat (Munson) because I was winning against him at sectionals when he pinned me (in a time of 5:36),” said Szalat, who improved to 40-4 on the season. “Making it to state has always been my goal ever since I was four or five years old, and I finally achieved it.
“I owe a lot to my three workout partners Nick (Johnson), Kaden and Colten (Lastine) for helping make me better in our practices.”
Teddie Harvey, a senior, had no problems staying unbeaten and earning his third straight district title. Following a 16-2 major decision over Klayton Lamereux of West Hancock, Teddie needed just 1:20 to pin Ogden’s Austin Lentz in the finals for his 40th triumph of the year and 140th of his career.
“I’ve just been taking it one match at a time,” said Teddie, who placed fifth at state last winter. “My previous experiences down (at state) will definitely help me a lot.”
Keeping his perfect season firmly intact at 40-0, junior Vinnie Harvey blanked Luke Worden from Belmond-Klemme by an 11-0 count in the semifinals. Vinnie, who also qualified for state a year ago, then recorded a fall (1:40) against West Hancock’s Kevin Tlach in the championship for his 115th varsity win.
“It feels good, but I’m not satisfied yet,” Vinnie said. “I look at every match the same way. You’ve just got to focus on whoever (the IAHSAA) puts you against.”
On the heels of a 13-3 major decision over Zach Andrews of Belmond-Klemme, McClintock suffered a 4-2 setback – his first of the season – to West Marshall’s No. 5 Cole Needham in the finals. McClintock, a junior and three-time North Central Conference champion, later punched his second consecutive ticket to Des Moines with a 7-0 wrestleback victory against Joey Helgeson from Clarion-Goldfield. Last week at sectionals, McClintock stuck Needham in only 1:24.
“(Needham) is a good kid, who gave it all he had,” said McClintock, who owns 40 wins this season and 116 in his career. “I didn’t go down (to Des Moines) the way I wanted to, but it’s still a big accomplishment.
“Being a state champion is what I’ve been working hard for all season. I just have to improve on some things in the room now this week.”
Despite falling barely short of a district crown, Nelson wasn’t about to be denied his first state appearance. In the semifinals, Nelson prevailed by a 13-3 major decision over Lake Mills’ Ben Irons. The senior then rebounded from a hard-fought 8-6 overtime championship loss to fourth-ranked Gunnar Clark of West Hancock by pinning (3:09) West Marshall’s Brandon Overman in the wrestleback round for his 35th triumph of the year. A week ago, Nelson posted a 3-1 decision against Overman in the sectional finals.
“This really feels awesome,” Nelson said. “I just want to take it one match at a time now and try to place in the Top-8 at state.”
Johnson, a freshman, finished third for the Gaels. His lone win came by fall (3:02) against Harry Haglund from Ogden. Johnson, who finished the year with 34 wins, was upended by Clarion-Goldfield’s No. 5 Joel Haberman in a 3-0 semifinal decision.
“Teddie and Vinnie continue to dominate, and we felt good about Ryan’s chances coming in, too,” said Utley. “Kaden and Dillon both went through a little adversity to move on, and Nick can use this as a learning experience after just falling short in a tough bracket.”
No. 9 Taylor Lehman (132) secured the only district title for the Cowboys, moving to 33-7 on the year. Lehman, a junior, pinned (2:52) Reed Lette of Belmond-Klemme in the title round.
Joel Haberman, No. 4 Jake Haberman (160) and eighth-ranked Mitch Gambrill (285) will all be making return trips to state as well for Clarion-Goldfield, which recently earned a second straight state duals bid.
Senior Taylor Clough (152) will head to state as a district runner-up for the Warriors. Clough, who is 34-6 on the season, downed Clarion-Goldfield’s Logan Nelson by a 9-2 decision in the semifinals, before being pinned (3:54) by No. 6 Tanner Arnold from West Marshall in his title bout.
Logan Klingson (132) and ninth-ranked Matt Streit (195) both checked in third for Prairie Valley, while Brandon Ure (138) and Grant Bockoven (220) were fourth.
Dylan Sporaa (106) and Cole Beecher (152) each placed fourth for the Eagles with 0-2 records.
Class 1A individual state tournament action begins Thursday at 9 a.m.