WINTERSET – Samuel Zaragoza-Rosales was the first name out of head coach Brian Reece’s mouth following his third-place finish in the 220 pound weight class at the Class 2A Sectional 7 tournament in Winterset Saturday.
“He was great. He hasn’t been out for two years,” said Reece. “So to get him back the second half of the season and he did some good things for us and he wrestled really well.”
Zaragoza-Rosales picked up two pins over the course of his afternoon. The first came in his first match when he pinned Gage Michaelson of Greene County in 3:52.
After falling in his semifinal match by major decision, Zaragoza-Rosales grappled with Trevor Kinyon of Creston/O-M with a shot at a wrestleback on the line.
The Clarke senior was down 4-0 in the third period after letting Kinyon escape from the bottom position. Despite trailing late, Zaragoza-Rosales stayed calm and managed to turn the tide and pin Kinyon inside the final 20 seconds of the match.
Zaragoza-Rosales fell behind early to Dillon Fogarty of Woodward-Granger in their wrestleback, before losing in the third period by pin.
Injuries once again were the story for the Clarke wrestling team as a whole. The team has battled a variety of misfortune and that continued before the tournament, losing Jon Bair (170 pounds) in the days leading up to the event.
“We were just too banged up,” said Reece. “It’s going to happen. It’s not an excuse. It is what it is.”
The rest of the Indians’ wrestlers battled with tough opponents, but Clarke failed to qualify a wrestler in the district tournament next weekend, bringing its season to an end.
Zaragoza-Rosales was joined by fellow seniors Parker Hardy and Carter Wilken wrestling in their last matches of their high school careers. Carter Smith’s career also came to a close though he did not wrestle much of the season due to injury. Hardy (126) was pinned twice in his two matches while Carter Wilken (120) was pinned in his semifinal match and then lost by decision in the consolation round.
“Just want to thank them,” said Reece of four senior wrestlers. “They’ve done a lot for our programs and we’re going to miss them.”
Jacob Smith (195) finished fourth in his weight class. Taven Floyd (182) picked up a fifth-place finish thanks to a pin in his final match over Kade Polich of Woodward-Granger in 1:07.
Colby Wilken (138) had a first-round pin over Eli Jones of ADM in 5:10 to net himself a fourth-place finish after dropping his consolation match.
Riley Domina (132) pinned Aaron Beemer of ADM in 1:57 before losing to Kelby Luther of C/O-M by an 8-2 decision. Domina then fell in his consolation match against Cayden Gerdes of Green County 14-7.
Colby Wilken and Domina both wrestled Saturday wearing protective facemasks to guard broken noses.
Max Maiden (106) was pinned in the first round by C/O-M’s Ethan Freeman, netting him fifth in his weight class of five wrestlers. Zethan May (113) was pinned in both of his matches.
“Luckily, a lot of those guys will have a couple more chances,” said Reece about his young squad.
Overall, Reece had positive views on the season and looks forward to continuing to build the Indians’ program.
“For us it was a good season. We had a good dual meet season. Like I said, at the end of the year injuries kind of took a toll on us,” said Reece. “We just got to continue to build the program and figure out what we need to do to get to that next level.”