TRURO – More than half of the News Advertiser area wrestlers who qualified for the Class 1A District 2 tournament in Truro Saturday punched their tickets to Wells Fargo Arena to compete in the Tradition State Wrestling Tournament.
Seven of the 11 wrestlers in action advanced to the final destination of the wrestling season.
A number of which are bringing back valuable experience from previous trips to Wells Fargo Arena.
Bryce Shaha (113 pounds) and Trae Ehlen (126 pounds) both picked up the two wins needed to win the Class 1A District 2 tournament by way of the pin.
Shaha – the No. 7 wrestler in Class 1A, according to The Predicament – needed 2:24 to get through Nodaway Valley’s Ben Breheny and 3:59 to defeat Moravia’s Wil Martin, whom Shaha faced and pinned last weekend at the sectional tournament.
Now in his sophomore season, Shaha has clinched his second consecutive trip to the state tournament.
After placing eighth last season at 106 pounds, Shaha was brief about his goals this season
“The gold,” Shaha said.
Ehlen needed even less time on the mat to punch his ticket to his second trip to state with a pin in the second round to start things off and one in the first period of his finals match to win the district.
“It feels really good,” said Ehlen, the No. 9 wrestler at 126 pounds. “I think we should both do pretty good at state.”
The 126-pounder went down 2-0 in his opening match, but was able to turn a takedown into a pin in the second period.
Josh Cox’s route to the state tournament had a little more complication as the senior heavyweight was pinned in the championship match by Interstate 35’s Ryley Snell.
In the wrestleback Cox was nearly pinned on a takedown in the first period, but used two takedowns in the latter half of the second period to go up 6-3 before pinning his Panorama opponent in the final seconds of the match.
Both wrestlers battled through exhaustion in the final match of the day, but despite needed a trip to the bucket, Cox tied up his second trip to the state tournament.
Bedford/Lenox sends both
Qualifying just two wrestlers for districts didn’t stop both Bedford/Lenox wrestlers from advancing to the state tournament Saturday.
Drew Venteicher, the No. 2 ranked wrestler at 160 pounds needed just 2:29 and 2:35 to punch his ticket to Wells Fargo Arena.
The junior did fall behind early in both matches after being taken down to start each match, which is something he is looking to clean up by Thursday.
“My feet weren’t moving good at all. ... At least I got it out of the way for next week,” said Venteicher. “I definitely need to pick up my feet movement. ... I can’t be starting off slow.”
Despite the slow starts, Venteicher only had one thing in mind after claiming his bracket.
“I want to be wrestling Saturday night,” said Venteicher, who is making his second straight trip to The Well.
Chance Strough pinned his first round opponent, No. 6 Gavyn Fischer of AHSTW, before matching up with Southeast Warren/Melcher-Dallas’s Alex Hommer for the second time in as many weeks.
A 4-4 contest in the third period was decided by a takedown in the middle of the period as Hommer walked away with a 6-4 decision win.
“I kind of understood more of what was coming at me this time,” said Strough.
Strough still clinched his spot thanks to the first round win, avoiding a wrestleback.
“One of my biggest things I’ve been trying to work on is my offense,” Strough said who is headed back to Wells Fargo arena for the third time. “I’ve always been a defensive wrestler.”
Third straight trip for Hayes
East Union’s Sherman Hayes punched his ticket to Wells Fargo Arena for the third straight year after battling back in his championship match at 138 pounds.
Hayes trailed 5-0 in the finals match against Easton Benson in the first round, but Hayes was able to battle back and even things before the end of the first.
It was an early third period pin that won the junior his district title.
“He got out of position a little bit, but he recovered,” said EU head coach Adam Tallmon. “He wrestled good, just had one little mistake.”
“I knew I could come back,” said Hayes.
Getting to state checked off one box, but getting on the podium is the next goal for the Eagle wrestler.
Cooney headed in as a freshman
Elliot Cooney had only lost twice going into Saturday’s district tournament, but after falling 8-6 in the finals match the Nodaway Valley freshman was tasked with a wrestleback to try and advance.
The Wolverine went toe-to-toe with East Union’s Damon Hayes in a match that lasted just 1:37 as Cooney prevailed.
“It meant a lot. I was really going in hoping I would (qualify for state) and being able to have that second chance is what I needed and got my head back in it,” said Cooney.
The first-year varsity wrestler is hoping to work on his technique in the days leading up to the state tournament, but once he gets there he wants to stand on the podium.
“Right now its for placing and hopefully farther than that,” Cooney said.
The Wolverines had three other wrestlers in action Saturday, but Ben Breheny (113) and Jaxon Christensen (120) both left the tournament without a win.
Trevor Flettre had two chances to secure his state tournament spot after picking up a first round major decision win, but Flettre fell in the finals to I-35’s Drew Kirkpatrick 7-2 and then was pinned by Panorama’s Garret Fox in the wrestleback.
The Wolverine senior led 2-0 early in the match, but a reversal tied things at 2-all.
A takedown and nearfall by Fox put the Panorama senior up 7-3 after one period before concluding the contest early in the third win the pin.
106 – Champ: Hayden Fischer (AHSTW) dec. Elliot Cooney (NV) 8-6; 3rd place match: Damon Hayes (EU) pinned Brody Patterson (CD); Wrestleback: Cooney (NV) pinned Hayes (EU) 1:37.
113 – Champ: Bryce Shaha (MA) pinned Wil Martin (Mor) 3:59; 3rd place match: Logan Christe (Pano) pinned Ben Breheny (NV) 4:46. No wrestleback.
120 – Champ: Casey Baker (I-35) pinned Blaine Beeler (AC/GC) 2:49; 3rd place match: Randy Jimenez (SEW/MD) maj. dec. Jaxon Christensen (NV) 8-0. No wrestleback.
126 – Champ: Trae Ehlen (Ma) pinned Justin Garcia (WCV) 1:36; 3rd place match: Elliot Young (AHSTW) pinned Evan Woosley (I-35) 4:51; Wrestleback: Garcia (WCV) pinned Young (AHSTW) 3:29.
132 – Champ: Gunnar Larsen (ACGC) dec. Joel Sampson (AHSTW) 8-5; 3rd place match: Trent Terrell (Wayne) pinned Tryston Palmer (I-35) 3:35; Wrestleback: Sampson (AHSTW) pinned Terrell (Wayne) 3:56.
138 – Champ: Sherman Hayes (EU) pinned Easton Benson (AC/GC) 4:32; 3rd place match: Tay VanDyne (Wayne) dec. Ben Ehlers (AHSTW) 6-3. No wrestleback.
145 – Champ: Wyatt Appleseth (Pano) pinned Kaleb Bauer (SEW/MD) 1:19; 3rd place match: Gabe Rowley (AC/GC) pinned Elliot Ness (CD) 3:05. No wrestleback.
152 – Champ: Ethan Elliott (I-35) pinned Cole Sackett (WCV) 2:36; 3rd place match: Noah Kirtley (Pano) pinned JT Rowe (SEW/MD) 2:55; Wrestleback: Sackett (WCV) dec. Kirtley (Pano) 11-6.
160 – Champ: Drew Venteicher (B/L) pinned Hunter Cobb (Wayne) 2:35; 3rd place match: Emry Colby (Pano) pinned Seth Kiesel (AHSTW) 3:04; Wrestleback: Cobb (Wayne) pinned Colby (Pano) 3:05.
170 – Champ: Drew Kirkpatrick (I-35) dec. Trevor Flettre (NV) 7-2; 3rd place match: Garret Fox (Pano) pinned Brady Langloss (Wayne) 2:19; Wrestleback: Fox (Pano) pinned Flettre (NV) 4:13.
182 – Champ: Colby Page (SEW/MD) pinned Gabe Pauley (AHSTW) 3:08; 3rd place match: Joey Bregar (I-35) pinned Cooper Andersen (Pano) 1:07. No wrestleback.
195 – Champ: Carson Wadle (WCV) pinned Antonio Arzani (I-35) 1:05; 3rd place match: Bryce Vanderlune (SEW/MD) pinned Ben Kingery (AC/GC) 2:44; Wrestleback: Arzani (I-35) dec. Vanderlune (SEW/MD) 5-3.
220 – Champ: Alex Hommer (SEW/MD) dec. Chance Strough (B/L) 6-4; 3rd place match: Gavyn Fischer (AHSTW) SV-1 Blake Haub (Ogden) 6-4. No wrestleback.
285 – Champ: Ryley Snell (I-35) pinned Josh Cox (MA) 3:38; 3rd place match: Hunter Holmes (Pano) pinned Rush Rowan (WCV) 5:11; Wrestleback: Cox (MA) pinned Holmes (Pano) 5:53.