Gaels host 1A sectional
The first of two steps towards the state wrestling tournament begins today.
St. Edmond will host a Class 1A, Sectional 13 meet inside the Gael gym. Action begins at noon.
Joining the seventh-ranked (1A) Gaels will be Eagle Grove, Manson Northwest Webster, Pocahontas Area, Prairie Valley, Southeast Webster-Grand, South Central Calhoun and South Hamilton.
The top-two individual finishers in each weight class advance to next Saturday’s district tournament in Clarion with the top finishers from Sectional 14.
Also, the overall and runner-up in the team standings will compete Tuesday night in Rockwell City at regional duals with a spot in state duals on the line.
St. Edmond features three of the 10 ranked individuals, led by No. 1 (120 pounds) Kaden McClintock and second-rated (220) Vinnie Harvey.
McClintock and Harvey are returning state qualifiers, along with No. 8 (113) Ryan Szalat. Harvey placed fourth a year ago, while McClintock was sixth and Szalat seventh. They went a combined 9-7.
“Having those three back, knowing what needs to be done, that helps our entire team,” SEHS head coach Tanner Utley said. “They understand the process and have been good for the younger guys to feed off – not only on the mat, but in the room too.
“They know how to keep a clear head and still have fun, while preparing for their matches.”
The other ranked wrestlers include Manson Northwest Webster’s Payton Rice (No. 4, 145) and Caleb Simacek (No. 9, 132), Pocahontas Area’s Danny Sommerlot (No. 10, 160) and South Central Calhoun’s Tyler Kutz (No. 9, 170), Rylan Richardson (No. 8, 182) and Cody Schoop (No. 5, 220).
Rice placed fifth at state last year and Richardson was a qualifier.
The Gaels competed a week ago, placing second to the Titans at the South Central Calhoun duals.
“We’ve had a great week of practice, which you want to see this time of year,” Utley said. “It’s been encouraging to see how the kids have been preparing because you always worry about burn-out.
“We’re ready to go and I feel like we can have a really good day (today).”
Teams in Sectional 14 include No. 3 Clarion-Goldfield, West Bend-Mallard, Belmond-Klemme, Central Springs, Lake Mills, Mason City Newman, Northwood-Kensett and West Hancock.