February 03, 2023

Three wrestlers medal at John J. Harris

Three Nodaway Valley/O-M wrestlers medaled in the John J. Harris Invitational Friday, Jan. 20 and Saturday, Jan. 21 at the Southwest Valley Activity Center in Corning.

The Wolverines placed 16th of 28 scoring teams with 62.5 points.

Creston ran away with 215.5 points to win the team title. Winterset was second with 157.5, Atlantic third with 147, Adair-Casey/Guthrie Center fourth with 102 and Earlham fifth with 97.

Freshman 113-pounder Keyin Steeve and sophomore 285-pounder Trenton Warner were each fourth place finishers. Ashton Honnold, a freshman at 195, placed second.

“Obviously this has always been an extremely tough tournament. It’s a test for teams all over southwest Iowa. It was tough when I was in school and it has always been known kind of as the state tournament of southwest Iowa,” NV/O-M co-head coach Brad Honnold said. “As a team we maybe didn’t expect to place all that well, but we knew for some of our individuals it would be a good test. We also talked about how we’re getting into the time of year that we’re gearing up for the district tournament. Everything is a part of the process. We learn from this, continue to strive and work into this coming week.”

Steeve, who is 33-7 on the season, opened with a 24-second pin of Charlie Christensen of Adair-Casey Guthrie Center, and then was pinned by Eli Becerra of Missouri Valley in 1:16. Steeve came back to win a 4-0 decision over Centerville’s Matt Genobana before he lost by fall in 1:20 to Southwest Valley’s Brayden Maeder in the third place match.

Warner pinned Garret Plagge of Denison-Schleswig in the quarterfinals in 5:14. Payton Jacobe of ACGC went to the wire with Warner and defeated him 6-3 in an ultimate tiebreaker match. Warner, 33-5 on the season, fought back for a pin against Jace Henderson of MVAOCOU but lost in the third place match to Max Chapman of Creston in 1:25.

“Keyin got himself into the semifinals with a couple of nice wins. He met the No. 1 wrestler in the state from Missouri Valley. He didn’t go out at all and wrestle like he was outmatched. He went out and got after it against an upperclassman. Unfortunately Eli was a little better at this point in the season. Keyin had an extremely great tournament for us. His bracket featured three state-ranked kids,” Honnold said. “Trent gutted out two overtime matches in a row, then he faced the Chapman kid from Creston. He was able to get us in underhooks, get us on our back and pin us. Trent wrestled a good tournament and he’ll use this to motivate him.”

Honnold, 36-4 on the year, defeated Gunner Martwick of Creston in the quarterfinals with a pin in 43 seconds. He then beat ACGC’s Michael Fuller by fall in 2:22 to make it into the championships. Carter Smuck of Winterset beat Honnold by 7-2 decision in the championship bout.

“Anytime you can be in the finals at the John Harris Tournament you’re doing something right. To be a 195-pound freshman going to the finals, that’s a testament to the work Ashton is putting in to the sport,” Coach Honnold said. “He was very dominant on his way to the finals. He just goes out, competes and believes. Smuck was a returning state place winner in 2A. It was a very aggressive and intense match. Ashton didn’t back down. He feels he can wrestle with anyone and we’re extremely proud of him.”

The Wolverines, 14-2 in duals, took a week off from dual competition to prepare for this tournament. Coach Honnold says expectations remain high. Still, they’re ranked within the top-24, which they found out this week qualifies them for regional duals, Tuesday, Jan. 31 at Logan-Magnolia. The Wolverines will wrestle West Monona that night in the first round, then the winner would wrestle Logan-Magnolia in the second round. The winner qualifies for state duals.

NV/O-M is scheduled to wrestle Thursday, Jan. 25 at Southwest Valley in a dual with the host Timberwolves and Southeast Warren. Saturday, Jan. 27, the Wolverines wrestle in the ACGC Charger Invitational in Guthrie Center.

“We’ve got an extremely young team. We probably exceeded some expectations early on, and our schedule also set us up for that. You go from really positive and have had of couple of tournaments in a row now where we haven’t finished where we would’ve liked,” Honnold said. “It’s our job as coaches to re-convene the troops. It’s not about the wins and losses right now, though. It’s about [the district tournament] two or three weeks from now. We have to ask whether we’re ready for it to be done or keep our season going.”

In other results, Eli Harris (126) is 15-9 on the season and went 1-2 in matches wrestled; Bradley Gebbie (132) is 21-10 on the season and went 1-2; Carmine Shaw (145) is 28-9 and went 1-2; Colt Slocum (152) is 13-25 and went 1-2; Dylan Bartles (170) is 7-12 and went 0-2; Brandon Raasch (182) is 18-18 and went 1-2; and Charles Rudolf (220) is 21-16 and went 0-2.

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson

Caleb Nelson has served as News Editor of the Adair County Free Press and Fontanelle Observer since Oct. 2017. He and his wife Kilee live in Greenfield. In Greenfield and the greater Adair County area, he values the opportunity to tell peoples' stories, enjoys playing guitar, following all levels of sports, and being a part of his local church.