DES MOINES – The IHSAA Traditional State Wrestling Championships kicked off Thursday morning, with Class 3A leading the day, followed by Class 2A and 1A.
In Class 2A, the News Advertiser was represented by Creston/Orient-Macksburg. In Class 1A, Nodaway Valley, East Union, Bedford/Lenox, Southwest Valley and Mount Ayr hit the mat in search of getting on to the right side of the bracket.
Day two of the state tournament kicks off with Class 3A and 2A wrestling in the quarterfinals at 9 a.m. today (Friday). Class 1A quarterfinals follows at 1:30 p.m. and the 2A and 1A semifinals will be at 7:30 p.m.
Listed are the area wrestlers who competed with a breakdown of their afternoon.
Sam Chapman, Creston/O-M
For Creston/O-M’s 195-pound senior, his chances of winning a state title required a win over top-ranked Wyatt Voelker of West Delaware. Chapman went the distance, falling in a 3-1 decision to put himself in consolation.
Panthers head coach Cody Downing knew it was going to be tough competition, but is still proud of the way Chapman handled the favored Voelker.
“Tough draw, for sure,” said Downing. “... Sam gave us great effort and a great match there, so we’ll take it and hope we can regroup on the back side (of the bracket). It doesn’t get any easier from here.”
A first-period takedown was the go-ahead score for Voelker, but Chapman cut it to 2-1 with an escape at 0:38 in the first frame. Neither side scored in the second period, but Voelker’s escape at 1:31 was the added insurance he needed as he rode out Chapman for the final horn.
In consolation Chapman paired up with Gilbert’s Jacob Steenhoek (45-5). The pairing was one Chapman had experienced before, but not for several months.
“I had wrestled him in camp in the summer and I beat him there,” said Chapman. “Kind of knew [a little]. Coach Downing watched film on him, no big moves or anything we had to worry about. It was just wrestling my match out there and getting it done.”
Chapman went the distance again, this time winning in a low-scoring 3-1 final. Back-to-back low-scoring scores from Chapman weren’t intended, crediting Steenhoek’s strength as a factor in keeping him off the board until the second period.
“I’ll give the kid credit. He’s a really strong kid,” said Chapman. “I just took a couple of shots, didn’t quite finish them, tried to rush a couple of things and it didn’t quite work. I didn’t want it to be that close, but it ended up being close.”
Chapman will stay alive for one more day, getting an opportunity to wrestle in Day 2 (Friday). Chapman is happy with the result, despite not ending the day on the right side of the bracket.
“Feels pretty good,” said Chapman. “I was hoping not to fall, but it is what it is. Come back and get the highest place I can get.”
Jackson Kinsella, Creston/O-M
After a disappointing finish last season at state (eighth), Kinsella returned for 2019-20 with a vengeance. At 50-1, Kinsella entered the state meet as one of the top-ranked wrestlers at 182 in the class, pairing up with North Polk’s Dylan Meiners (34-4).
From the whistle, Kinsella had Meiners’ number, scoring a takedown in the first 20 seconds for the first of three in the opening period. Up 6-2 through the first period, Kinsella never let Meiners into the picture as he pulled away with a 3-0 second and a 6-2 third period.
The 15-4 major decision came off the scouting report Downing had on Meiners, trying to keep him on his feet to score points.
“Jackson just had to control him on his feet,” said Downing.
Multiple times in the match Kinsella opted to stay upright instead of down off the whistle. The tactic worked, as Kinsella was able to grab Meiners’ leg multiple times to induce a takedown.
Kinsella tallied five takedowns in the match.
“I don’t think we were ever threatened in that match,” said Downing.
Today (Friday) Kinsella will get Bondurant-Farrar’s Cody Hall (40-7) in session four. The Class 3A and 2A quarterfinals start at 9 a.m. at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Drew Ehlen, Mount Ayr
The Raiders’ 106 wrestler came out of the gates slow, rolling through the first period against North Mahaska’s Paul De Jong. Drew Ehlen turned it on in the back end of the match, outscoring De Jong 7-4 in the third period to win the match 9-4.
Two takedowns and a near fall helped push Ehlen ahead to get him into the quarterfinals, ensuring him a match today (Friday).
Elliot Cooney, Nodaway Valley
Cooney’s season came to a close Thursday night, dropping both his first round match and his consolation match.
The 113-pound wrestler fell behind on three takedowns by his opponent, Marcel Lopez of New London, and was unable to recover in the 9-2 decision loss.
In consolation, he was unable to hold off Interstate 35’s Ryan Steinlage, falling by pin at 3:20. Before the pin, Cooney was trailing Steinlage 5-4.
Cooney ends the season 40-6.
It is the second consecutive season where Cooney has made it to state and did not place.
Bryce Shaha, Mount Ayr
Shaha’s day saw him close out with one win at 120, an impressive 15-4 major decision over West Sioux’s Drayven Kraft.
Shaha jumped on Kraft early, scoring two takedowns and a near fall to go ahead 6-1 through the first period. Shaha kept his foot on the gas, getting two more near falls, a takedown and a reversal to pull away on points.
Shaha next gets AGWSR’s Trey Lashbrook, who advanced to the quarterfinal on a 5-4 decision.
Jarryn Stephens, East Union
Stephens’ first appearance at state paired him up with Central Springs’ Bryce McDonough, a match which ended in a 3-1 decision with Stephens on the losing end.
The loss didn’t deter the junior, as he came back in consolation and pushed past HLV’s Ethan Kupka for a 6-4 win, despite not scoring a point in the third period.
With a 4-point lead at one point, the plan was to stay on top and keep Kupka down as much as possible in the final moments of the match.
“I wanted him to keep him down, he was in the top position,” said EU head coach Adam Tallmon. “I gave him some encouragement to keep him down, and he did.”
Stephens will next get the loser of Stevie Barnes of Underwood and Lisbon’s Brandon Paez today (Friday) for his first match of the day in consolation.
Trae Ehlen, Mount Ayr
Trae Ehlen’s third trip to state couldn’t have started any better, getting a pin in the second period to advance to the quarterfinals today (Friday).
The 138-pounder beat BGM’s Blake Mann by pin at the 3:46 mark, holding a 6-0 lead on points at the time.
Next up for Trae Ehlen is Jake Mulder from Western Christian. Mudler enters his matchup with the Mount Ayr product 39-2.
Jaydon Knight, Mount Ayr
Knight’s evening with top-ranked 145 Cael Rahnavardi from Don Bosco ended with Knight getting pinned just before the horn to end the match at 5:58.
Knight trailed on points 13-0, getting dominated in his first state appearance, but it didn’t knock his confidence in consolation.
Knight was able to come back and pick up a win in consolation over Jonah Clark from Waco, pulling away in a 9-3 decision.
Mount Ayr coach Eric Ehlen knew it was a challenge facing the top wrestler in the class’ weight, but likes what he saw out of his bounce-back win.
“We knew Jaydon’s first match was going to be tough,” said Eric Ehlen. “He wrestled great against (Don Bosco’s Cael Rahnavardi) and we looked it over. He came back and we needed a good win out of him to boost his confidence a little bit.”
Knight will get the loser of Eric McIlnay (Missouri Valley) and Nick Hamilton (Underwood) tomorrow.
Austin Wilson, Nodaway Valley
Wilson’s first state tournament trip will continue into today (Friday), but in the consolation side of the bracket.
Wilson’s first-round loss at 160 to Cayden Miller of Midland was a tough one, getting caught in a bad position that led to a pin at 2:56.
NV head coach Jesse McCann feels it’s a good sign for Wilson, who competed with Miller all match.
“He knows he could have beat that kid, he just kind of got caught,” said McCann. “I don’t know if the pressure got to him a little bit, ...Wilson took that kid down four times and he knows he’s in it now. He knows these are state kids and he knows he can take them down, and that’s where he’s best on his feet.”
Drew Venteicher, Bedford/Lenox
Venteicher remained perfect on the season, improving to 32-0 with a dominant showing to move to the quarterfinals at 170.
A technical fall (15-0) ended the match at 3:33 for Cael Hester of English Valleys, North English, giving Venteicher a chance to wrestle again today. This time, Venteicher will get Western Christian’s Tristan Mulder, a 26-1 grappler.
Last season, Venteicher placed third at the state tournament. After a quarterfinal loss that knocked him into consolation last season, Venteicher has not lost a match since.
Brant Looney, East Union
Looney’s high school wrestling career ended at the state tournament, losing both matches Thursday night.
In the first round Looney faced Mathew Francis from West Hancock. Francis dominated Looney, taking him down four times en route to a 12-2 major decision to put Looney in consolation.
The Eagle then took on New London’s Currey Jacobs and was unable to find a groove as Jacobs took the lead with insurance in the second frame at 7-3 before the eventual final decision of 7-5.
Looney finishes his senior season at 20-12.
Tallen Myers, Southwest Valley
Southwest Valley’s lone wrestler will make an appearance Friday, splitting his matches Thursday night to stay alive in consolation.
It was a quick fall for Myers in the opening round, falling at 0:49 to West Hancock’s Tanner Hagen, who improved to 50-9 with the win.
“I think he was a little nervous, but he went out to go work his offense and missed and got caught on something else,” said SWV head coach Cody Konecne. “It wasn’t a bad loss, he was being pretty aggressive. Those things happen.”
Myers then took on South Central Calhoun’s Brian King with the season on the line and did not disappoint. An 8-3 decision put Myers as a lock for an appearance today (Friday), hauling away with five points in the final frame to pull away with insurance over King.
“We’ll see you tomorrow,” said Konecne with a smile.
Myers will face either I-35’s Sam Vonnahme or Belle Plaine’s Ethan Allie, pending either one loses in his first match in consolation tomorrow.
Devin Whipple, Bedford/Lenox
At 285, Whipple is one of the winning-est heavyweights in the field. The Bedford/Lenox product opened up with West Sioux’s Jose Rodriguez and cruised through him, scoring two takedowns early to gain the lead at 4-1.
Whipple never looked back, pulling away across the next two periods in an 8-3 final.
Whipple will next get top-ranked Barrett Pitt from Logan-Magnolia. Pitt, 44-2, grinded out a 5-1 decision against Louisa Muscatine’s Gabe Hayes.