April 17, 2024

WRESTLING: Belief, tenacity gets 5 Wolverines through to state

Nodaway Valley/OM's state wrestling qualifiers for 2024 are from left, Ty Strode, Kevin Steeve, Carmine Shaw, Ashton Honnold and Trent Warner.

The stakes were high and five boys wrestlers from Nodaway Valley/OM rose to the occasion and advanced from a Class 1A District Wrestling Tournament at Interstate 35 High School Saturday, Feb. 10 into the IAHSAA State Wrestling Tournament this week at Wells Fargo Arena.

Senior Carmine Shaw (144 pounds), sophomore Ashton Honnold (215) and junior Trent Warner (285) all advanced as district champions while sophomores Ty Strode (120) and Keyin Steeve (126) moved on as district runners-up.

Wolverine co-head coach Kolby Baier called the district tournament “a great day all around.” While he hated to see the season end for some of the wrestlers, he commented that many of those guys finished strong.

“When you get to the district tournament, all it is is place first or second and you get through to the next week. Not only that, we had a couple guys who showed they’re one of the top guys in the state and can go next week and win it all,” Baier said. “We’ve got five total who can all get on the [medal] stand and hopefully that’s what they want to do next week.”

The qualifiers

Strode (30-16 on the season) made quick work of his first match at districts, sticking Moravia freshman Clayton Robinson in 1:02 before winning a major decision in the semifinals over Hunter Flactiff of Martensdale-St. Marys. Wayne’s Max Pollock defeated Strode by 9-0 major decision in the finals in a battle of two sophomores.

Ty Strode looks for his next shot against an opponent from Wayne at the district tournament Saturday, Feb. 10 at Interstate 35.

“Going into my finals match, I knew I had a tough opponent, so I wanted to get to my offense and keep pushing the pace. He beat me 9-0, but we’re still improving from last year,” said Strode, who was close to making the Nebraska state tournament as a freshman, where he previously lived. “Overall today, I think I just did better staying on my offense and pushing the pace through all three of my matches. It feels great to make it on. It’s one step closer to my goal for senior year, which is top of the podium.”

NV/OM's Keyin Steeve scoops his SEW/MD opponent's legs in an attempt to score points at district wrestling at Interstate 35.

Steeve (33-12) pinned his way into the finals. He opened by taking care of Montezuma’s Conner Smith in 54 seconds, then put Interstate 35′s Michael Upp on his back, finishing him off in 1:36. He stuck Cardinal of Eldon’s Bradley Snook in 1:06 in the semifinals. In the championship bout, he lost to Southeast Warren/Melcher-Dallas’ Brayden Scheffers, but didn’t need to wrestle back for true second.

“Last night I was thinking and envisioned where I was going to be in the bracket. I knew the outcome would be a very good outcome,” Steeve said. “This year, getting second and taking a tough loss in the finals, I wrestled those other two matches and definitely was in control the whole time. Last year when I was at The Well I went 0-2, and that left a very bad taste in my mouth. This year I’m back. I’m feeling better than I did last year and I have high hopes.”

Carmine Shaw hand fights with a SEW/MD opponent at the district tournament held Saturday, Feb. 10 at Interstate 35.

Receiving a first round bye, Shaw (32-9) also pinned his way into the finals. He pinned Jace Maxwell of Interstate 35 in 14 seconds in the semifinals, then met SEW/MD’s Colton Halterman in the championship. Shaw built a 2-0 lead in the second period before pinning Halterman in 3:35.

“It felt good to win and make it to state, but overall, I wasn’t excited about my performance. I didn’t wrestle my best in the finals. In my first match, I had pinned him before in 12 seconds, so I wanted to beat that,” Shaw said. “Last year, making it to state was my end goal and I didn’t envision much past that. This year, I’m going to push to make the podium, for sure. It’s going to take hard work, focusing up these next few days in practice and to just wrestle.”

Ashton Honnold looks to drop his opponent, Eli Green from Interstate 35, to his knees in their finals match at the district tournament Feb. 10 in Truro.

Honnold (45-2) defeated Tate Dierking of SEW/MD in the semifinals by 6-0 decision, then beat Interstate 35′s Eli Green by the same score in the championship. Honnold led 3-0 in the second period against Green with an escape and a takedown. He then added a stall call and three back points in the third to widen his lead.

“I wasn’t expected to win like I was last year. I came in as the 2 seed and have a prior loss to Green. He’s a great wrestler, and Dierking is too, who I met in the semis. I was just very happy about my performance today,” Honnold said. “I went out there and didn’t want to tire myself out too much in the first period, I just wanted to work it out and see what it was feeling like. I know I can get out and am tough on top. I was working my stuff and ended up coming out on top in the championship.”

Wolverine junior Trent Warner wrestles an opponent from Cardinal of Eldon in the finals at districts Feb. 10 in Truro.

Warner (46-2) pinned his way through the district tournament, however his matches got progressively longer as he went. He opened with a pin in 29 seconds against Brody Kosman of SEW/MD. In the semifinals he pinned Lynnville-Sully’s Ben Squires in 3:09. In the finals, he wrestled Isaac Cox of Cardinal of Eldon and pinned him in 5:02.

“I felt amazing today. In the finals match, I think that’s the highest-ranked kid I’ve ever beaten. In these big tournaments, all my life, I’ve tended to choke in the end of them, whether it’s state, Fargo Nationals or last year [at districts]. I tend to tense up and get in my own head at the end of it, and I overcame that today,” Warner said. “I felt I had a pretty dominant match against the Cardinal kid. I honestly believe I’m the best wrestler in the state. Performance wise, I just need to stay out of my own head, because that’s what has held me back.”

On to state

The wrestling team received an escort back into Greenfield Saturday night from area emergency services. That only starts a string of things that leads up to the state tournament for them.

The state tournament for Class 1A is in the 6 p.m. evening session Wednesday through Friday, with all classes wrestling all day Saturday.

“Year one of Coach Baier and I was three state qualifiers, year two was four and year three is five. I will stay here 14 years if it means we get 14 qualifiers,” NV/OM co-head coach Brad Honnold said. “All joking aside, we’re super proud of the kids today. We have five moving on. We would’ve liked to get a few others. We had two varsity starters out of the lineup, so we brought 11. We moved some kids around in an effort to get them to the state tournament and it paid off for us this time.”

Other results

In other Nodaway Valley/OM results, Eli Harris placed fourth, going 2-2 in matches wrestled. Caleb Christensen was third at 190, going 3-2.

Bradley Gebbie was a senior in the lineup who saw his season end with a 27-14 record after he went 0-2 on the day. Coaches were especially proud of Gebbie for the way he regrouped after his losses and encouraged his teammates the rest of the day at districts and are excited to see him do the same at state.

State first round matchups

120: (21) Ty Strode (NV/OM) vs (12) Caleb Hoffman (22-7, Kuemper Catholic)

126: (22) Keyin Steeve (NV/OM) vs (11) Payton Harger (38-6, Earlham)

144: (16) Carmine Shaw (NV/OM) vs (17) Dawson Becker (37-12, Alburnett)

215: (2) Ashton Honnold (NV/OM) receives first round bye

285: (4) Trent Warner (NV/OM) receives first round bye

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.