Gaels push five through to districts
South Central Calhoun outshined the rest of the field in a Class 1A, Sectional 13 wrestling meet here Saturday.
Behind two individual champions and six runners-up, the Titans accumulated 211 points. Manson Northwest Webster (194.5) and host St. Edmond (150) were next in line, advancing five apiece.
Winning titles for South Central Calhoun were ninth-ranked senior Tyler Kutz (170 pounds) and No. 8 sophomore Rylan Richardson (195).
Cody Smith (106), Colin Corey (120), MJ Sittig (126), Logan Peed (152), fifth-ranked Cody Schoop (220) and Aron King (285) all moved on as silver medalists for the Titans.
“I thought we wrestled to our ability at times,” SCC head coach Lance Schultz said. “Rylan and Tyler continued to do what they’ve been doing all season, but we had too many second places.
“Now, we have to see what we can do to turn some things around at regional duals, but it’s a good thing that we get to host it.”
The Titans and Cougars will now both compete against opponents to be determined in 1A regional semifinal duals on Tuesday night.
For Manson Northwest Webster, No. 4 Payton Rice (145), Skyler Michalski (152), Lucas Dolder (182) and Tim Butcher (285) each captured gold. Ninth-ranked Caleb Simacek (132) settled for second.
“I thought we wrestled well overall (yesterday),” said MNW head coach Stacey Rice. “Going in, I figured getting four or five through (to districts) was reasonable. We’ve put all the work in, and now we have to take a deep breath and see where everything falls.
“Skyler wrestled an excellent tournament, beating Peed in the finals after losing to him earlier this year. Butcher also had another big win against King, and Payton has been a solid leader for us all season.”
Payton – head coach Stacey son – improved to 44-1 this winter with a 16-0 technical fall over South Hamilton’s Austin Roys in the title round. Payton is a three-time state placewinner.
Earning crowns for the No. 7 Gaels were eighth-ranked junior Ryan Szalat (113), No. 1 senior Kaden McClintock (120), sophomore Payton Sitzmann (126) and second-ranked senior Vinnie Harvey (220). Senior Jimmy Averill (182) was a runner-up for St. Edmond.
“This was just step one of the whole process,” SEHS head coach Tanner Utley said. “It’s always easy to break everything down on paper going in, but you never really know how things will play out. When you have holes in your lineup, it makes it tough to score a lot of points.
“Our top guys (Szalat, McClintock and Harvey) came out and controlled the pace again and forced their style. Jimmy also had a great day after battling a lot of injuries all year.”
Following a 10-2 semifinal major decision over Manson Northwest Webster’s Chase Bulten, Szalat (27-4 overall) edged Pocahontas Area’s Mitch Brinkman in the championship, 4-3. Szalat, who now owns a career mark of 93-20, finished seventh at state a year ago at 106 pounds.
“I imagined getting my hand raised all week every day before practice,” said Szalat. “I just tried to keep good thoughts in my head. Last year, I kind of got burned out towards the end of the year. Coach Utley has been training us all year, though, to peak at the end. Every day I get to wrestle the No. 1 guy (McClintock) in the state, which not many people get to do. I really couldn’t ask for better workout partners.”
McClintock (22-1) prevailed by fall in a time of 1:22 over Corey in the finals after needing just 49 seconds to pin Collin Bulten of Manson Northwest Webster in the semifinals. McClintock, who recently became only the sixth-ever four-time North Central Conference champion, is a two-time state participant with 129 varsity triumphs..
“I feel like I’m a lot more aggressive and dominant than I was last year,” McClintock said. “I went out and did what I expected by staying calm and focused. (Winning a state title) is my goal, but I just have to take it one notch at a time from here on out. I honestly don’t feel any pressure (being ranked No. 1), and I use it as a motivational deal.”
Sitzmann (22-12) collected a 55 second fall against South Hamilton’s Brian Greenfield in the semifinals, while downing Sittig in an 11-7 title decision.
“I was 4-5 in varsity last year, so (a sectional championship) kind of surprised me,” said Sitzmann. “Everybody seems to be peaking right now for us. I just have to keep pushing the pace and can’t give the other guy an opportunity.”
Staying unbeaten on the season at 31-0, Harvey pinned Manson Northwest Webster’s Kody Butler in 16 seconds in the semifinals. Harvey, who owns the school record with 151 wins, then registered a 39 second fall over Schoop in the finals. Harvey is a two-time state competitor, who was fourth inside Wells Fargo Arena in 2013.
“(Saturday’s performance) was pretty much the best I could hope for,” Harvey said. “I’m more focused than I’ve ever been because I know this is my last shot. I feel like I’m a lot better this year both conditioning-wise and mentally.”
In the semifinals, Averill (15-7) pinned Pocahontas Area’s Tyler Case in 5:49. Averill then suffered a tight 11-10 championship setback to Dolder.
No. 10 sophomore Danny Sommerlot (160) took home gold for Indians. Brinkman and Tyler Hubrich (170) each received silver.
Sommerlot escaped with a 1-0 finals victory over Southeast Webster-Grand’s Spencer Fluckiger, upping his season mark to 39-5.
Spencer Johnson (106) was the lone champion for the Warriors, while Grant Bockoven (195) finished as a runner-up.
Johnson moved to 38-3 on the year with a 2:29 pin of Smith in the finals.
Dylan Huse (138) secured top honors for the Eagles with a championship win by injury default over Prairie Valley’s Logan Klingson
Fluckiger will be the only Eagle representative at districts.
The 1A district meet is set for noon Saturday in Clarion. Traditional state action will be held Feb. 20-22 at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.