DES MOINES – For the second straight year it was a fourth-place finish in Class 1A at the Iowa High School Traditional State Wrestling Tournament for Tallen Myers (220).
Coming off a meniscus injury that sidelined him for the first few weeks of the season, Southwest Valley’s Myers returned to his state-caliber ways and rolled through competition, taking second at the John J. Harris Invitational and then taking first at both his Sectional and District meet.
A stoic and determined Myers took the mat Saturday on a quest to continue his success at a high level and better his state run last season. His junior campaign ended with him defaulting for fourth place due to a medical forfeit (concussion).
The mindset this year? To go out and be dominant.
“Just come out and dominate. Go out pissed off every match and dominate,” Myers said.
With a sizable Southwest Valley following present for just one wrestler, which included teammate Kaden Jacobs who wrestled with him at Districts, the year’s ended with Myers again taking fourth at state.
In the battle for third Myers fell victim to his second one-point loss of the tournament, falling 3-2 to Cole Kelly of West Hancock, Britt.
An escape and a takedown in the second period by Kelly was all that was needed to win the third place match. Myers tallied two escapes as the strength of Kelly was enough to hold off any attempt by Myers to try and score.
The match was a near mirror in terms of strength-on-strength wrestlers to Myers’ semifinal bout with state runner-up Derek Anderson of Hinton.
The lone point came 15 seconds into the third period with Myers cutting Anderson loose. Neither side allowed any offensive opportunity from then on out.
“He tried everything he could (against Anderson),” said SWV head coach Cody Konecne. “We could have put him down instead of neutral, but the kid liked to throw legs in and we’d have hated to see (Tallen) get ridden out for a whole period. ... We took the odds on that one and that one turned out to be the difference. ... That last match, kind of the same. ... We just couldn’t get through. It wasn’t for lack of effort.”
After Myers’ final match, it was an emotional embrace between him and the Southwest Valley coaching corner. A bittersweet end for Myers led to Konecne reflecting on how he battled back from injuries and worked hard every time out.
“We told him we’re super proud of him. You love the kid. You love all of his effort and everything he does,” said Konecne. “... I don’t know more you could ask for. He fought injuries two different seasons, ... we take what we get and I think he did the best with what he had.”
Battling back from a meniscus injury, an injury that can often sideline athletes well past expected return time, Myers was satisfied with where he was able to finish things
“With 2020, and a meniscus injury on top of that, it really sucked,” said Myers. “Being able to bounce back coming into January and coming (to state), it feels really great.”
Before being bounced into consolations, Myers took a 7-2 decision win over Luke Recker East Buchanan, Winthrop to advance him to the semifinals. A second period reversal and three-point nearfall helped extend his lead into the third, holding it for the win.
After being bounced into consolations, Myers picked up a third period pin on Damon Meyer of South Winneshiek, Calmar to advance him for his shot at third.
Looking at another state run for Myers, and his career as a whole, Koncene feels Myers’ senior season was successful regardless of what the result was in his last match.
“I’m not going to say he wasn’t successful because I still think he was successful,” said Koncene. “To come to state, lost two matches by one point a piece, it’s not for lack of effort. It’s not like he wasn’t the aggressive guy trying to make it happen. ... You get to 100 wins in almost three seasons, I don’t know, it feels successful to me. I know it’s hard to stomach now, ... but it still feels pretty good.”
Myers, caps off his season 19-3 as two-time qualifier with a District and Sectional title under his belt.