HARLAN – Five of the nine Creston/Orient-Macksburg Panthers that entered Saturday Class 2A District 4 tournament qualified for state, a mark that pleased many in what some considered a “down year” for the program.
Mitchel Swank (145 pounds) was the first to clinch his spot in the state tournament after pinning his two opponents to win the district title. His final match came against Oscar Olmos of Harlan, who Swank dispatched in 4:52 to clinch his third career trip to the state tournament.
The senior didn’t hesitate when asked about another chance at a state title.
“I’ve got some unfinished business up there,” said Swank.
Panther head coach Darrell Frain said he would have been disappointed in Swank if he went into the state tournament thinking about anything but a title.
“He had chances last year and came up a little short, but you never know,” said Frain. “Hopefully it’ll be a
good week for him.”
Swank even added that the state’s No. 1 wrestler
at 145 pounds, Noah Fye from New Hampton, is “No. 1 on the hit list,” when it comes to wrestlers Swank wants to face.
Two Creston/O-M wrestlers fell into winner-take-all wrestlebacks. Cade Vicker (138 pounds) seems to have become all too familiar with the scenario.
Vicker’s route to the district tournament ran through a wrestleback at sectionals, but Saturday was no laughing matter for the senior.
With a tech fall (18-3) victor over Collin Wiederin of Kuemper Catholic, the wrestleback veteran locked up his first appearance on the individual state mats.
“He’s been in that situation before, it’s not like it’s new to him,” said Frain about Vicker continuing to find himself in wrestlebacks. “I don’t think people realize once you get to tournament time, being in certain situations make up so much.”
Vicker admitted to a little anxiety before the second-place match, but knew it was just another match.
“The main thing is, prepare the same,” said Vicker, “and just go out and wrestle my match.”
Fellow senior Kelby Luther dropped his wrestleback against Jack West of Winterset, ending his career as a Panther wrestler.
“Just sad for him because you realize how hard those kids work,” said Frain. “People that are outside of wrestling don’t really get it.”
The Panthers had three athletes seal their fate without the do-or-die situation of a wrestleback.
Kaden Bolton (113), Kolby Hulett (126) and Blake Sevier (285) all fell in the finals, but weren’t forced into a wrestleback thanks to opening round wins over opponents who went on to win their consolation matches.
Sevier, whose first round victory ended with a pin over Thomas Wilson of Southwest Iowa, who boasted a 25-4 record, hopped up after the whistle and pounded his hands together while looking at the Panther fans with satisfaction.
“I remember last year when we got to state duals and I got to wrestle a match at state duals and I said ‘I hope this is what it feels like next year,’” said Sevier. “Feels pretty good.”
In his first year at the high school level, Bolton qualified thanks to a 7-6 decision win in the first round over Aybren Moore of Atlantic/CAM. Tied at 4-all early in the second period, Bolton used advantageous back positioning to push Moore into a nearfall situation, giving him a 7-4 lead and enough points for a victory.
Bolton’s finals match was against Andrew Flora, ranked No. 3 in the 113 pound weight class by The Predicament. With only three wrestlers in the weight class, both athlete and coach knew he had already punched his ticket to state beforehand.
Hulett’s road to qualification quickly became interesting after he defaulted due to injury in the finals match at 126 pounds. The freshman has been battling a knee injury since the conference meet, according to Frain.
But, Frain said they expected him to wrestle in a wrestleback if the situation had arose. As far as his chances to wrestle at state, Frain put any doubt to rest.
“He’s going, there is no doubt about it,” Frain said.
The Panther won his first match of the day by 2-1 decision over Colton Hauschild of Southwest Iowa.
Kolby Tomas (160), Beau Barncastle (170) and Sam Chapman (182) all fell in their consolation matches, preventing them from a shot at a wrestleback.
Barncastle and Chapman will have another shot next year to make a run to state, but Tomas’ career with the Panthers came to a close following an 11-5 decision defeat.
Overall, Frain was excited about getting five of his wrestlers through to the state tournament.
“Getting five through, pretty satisfied where we are at,” added Frain.
UP NEXT – Those five Creston/O-M wrestlers will head up to Des Moines with their first round matches happening Thursday between 9 a.m. and noon. Outside of Swank, the other four Panther wrestlers will be making their first appearances in the state individual tournament.
Weight class results
106 – Champ: Benjamin Schmitz (Kuemper) dec. Jonathan Erp (RO) 7-4. Conso: Hunter Pierce (WoGr) dec. Trey Allen (Wint) 6-2. Wrestleback: Erp (RO) pinned Allen (Wint) 1:06.
113 – Champ: Andrew Flora (ADM) pinned Kaden Bolton (C/O-M) 1:55. Conso: Bolton (C/O-M) dec. Aybren Moore (Atl/CAM) 7-6. No wrestleback.
120 – Champ: Bryce Hatten (Wint) pinned Ryan Munoz (WoGr) 1:55. Conso: Steele McLaren (Atl/CAM) dec. Ethan Lemon (Har) 7-5. Wrestleback: Munoz (WoGr) pinned McLaren (Atl/CAM) 1:56.
126 – Champ: Kole Hansen (Atl/CAM) inj. time Kolby Hulett (C/O-M). Conso: Colton Hauschild (SWI) pinned Trenton Cook (Wint) 1:55. No wrestleback.
132 – Champ: Chase McLaren (Atl/CAM) dec. Jack West (Wint) 6-1. Conso: Kelby Luther (C/O-M) dec. Cam Vanderhoof (RO) 6-4. Wrestleback: West (Wint) dec. Luther (C/O-M) 5-1.
138 – Champ: Kruise Kiburz (Wint) dec. Cade Vicker (C/O-M) 5-0. Conso: Collin Wiederin (Kuemper) pinned Wyatt Obrecht (Har) 2:37. Wrestleback: Vicker (C/O-M) tech. fall Wiederin (Kuemper) 18-3, 5:45.
145 – Champ: Mitchel Swank (C/O-M) pinned Oscar Olmos (Har) 4:52. Conso: Blake Ryerson (Wint) pinned Colton Mudd (Atl/CAM) 5:07. No wrestleback.
152 – Nolan Harsh (ADM) dec. Justin McCunn (RO) 4-0. Conso: Austin Scharlau (WoGr) pinned Payton Fewson (Atl/CAM) 1:45. No wrestleback.
160 – Champ: Connor Pellett (Atl/CAM) dec. Gabe Yingst (WoGr) 6-4. Conso: Yingst (WoGr) dec. Kolby Tomas (C/O-M) 11-5. No wrestleback.
170 – Champ: Kyle Owens (Shen) pinned Carter Maynes (RO) 3:01. Conso: Brock Wuebker (GrCo) dec. Beau Barncastle (C/O-M) 8-4. No wrestleback.
182 – Champ: Nick Dickerson (Shen) pinned Thomas Bentley (RO) 1:33. Conso: Charles Craigmile (ADM) dec. Sam Chapman (C/O-M) 7-4. Wrestleback: Bentley (RO) pinned Craigmile (ADM) 2:37.
195 – Champ: Nick Foss (Har) inj. time Cody Fisher (WoGr) 0:09. Conso: Cole Nebel (Shen) pinned Leo Tauke (ADM) 0:58. No wrestleback.
220 – Kaden Sutton (ADM) dec. Tyler Courtier (Shen) 5-0. Conso: Colton Kinnison (RO) dec. Dillon Fogarty (WoGr) 13-6. Wrestleback: Kinnison (RO) pinned Courtier (Shen) 3:10.
285 – John McConkey (Atl/CAM) pinned Blake Sevier (C/O-M) 1:52. Conso: Thomas Wilson (SWI) pinned Bradley Tolley (Wint) 1:03. No wrestleback.