DES MOINES – Three Osceola-area wrestlers were bounced from competition early at the Iowa High School Traditional Wrestling Tournament last week.
Clarke’s lone representative, Jake Smith (220), saw him work his way through a gauntlet District in Creston to his first state appearance in his senior season.
The glitz and glamour of the state tournament at Wells Fargo Arena can often get the best of wrestlers with no prior experience.
“That’s one of the things I do with kids, when we get them down here, is walk around and have them take in that spectacle,” said Clarke head coach Brian Reece. “Then, try to focus then on about the job at hand. I think he obviously took in the spectacle (Thursday).”
Smith’s first tournament was short, getting bounced in the opening around by eventual third-place finisher Conner Murty of East Marshall, LeGrand.
Keeping it close through the first period, trailing 2-0, Smith surrendered an escape, then was taken down by Murty. Smith held off a pin, leading to a nearfall. The sequence happened in roughly 45 seconds, turning a 2-0 match into an 8-0 score with major decision implications.
Another nearfall before the end of the second period led to the third, where Murty took down Smith and pinned him at the five-minute mark of the contest.
Falling into consolations, Smith had to battle back against Jordan Anderson of Emmetsburg, falling to him by pin in 1:02 to close his career.
A takedown and a nearfall gave Anderson a 5-0 advantage early in the first before he closed with a pin. Anderson did not finish on the podium.
“I knew it was going to be tough. We had a tough draw,” said Reece. “I think we competed OK. ... We just didn’t get to our stuff the way we wanted to in both of our matches. We kind of let the opponent dictate the tempo and dictate the match. You can’t do that here.”
The growth of the program, from start to finish, was clear for Clarke wrestling. Entering the season, there were hopes of getting someone to the state tournament, the Indians did just that – doing so for the first time since Jacob Bair did so seven years ago in 2014. Bair did not place.
“I think we grew a lot as a team, and it was a weird season with COVID and everything else,” said Reece. “We didn’t get as many matches as we normally would, just mitigate some exposure, so that probably cost us some growth, but I’m hoping our younger kids see what Jake was able to accomplish this year. ... Hopefully, we can turn that into positives for the future.”
CD’s duo struggles
In Class 2A competition, both Logan Jones (145) Jones and Zander Reed (160) were rolled into the postseason off a District win and runner-up finish (respectively).
Both seniors got bounced into consolations with first-round losses, Jones falling by pin at 3:11 to Christian Eslick of Roland Story and Reed falling by major decision 11-3 to Hunter Worthen of Union.
Eslick eventually placed eighth. Worthen finished fifth.
Jones hung around a little longer than his counterpart, going on to win his first-round consolation match over Gavin Scheuermann of Greene County in a 7-1 decision.
A takedown across the first two periods helped build a lead for Jones, and another takedown with five seconds left in the third putting the finishing touch on the decision win.
Jones then took on Logan Peyton of West Delaware, falling in a 5-2 decision to get eliminated in the blood round. Peyton went on to finish seventh, making him the second place-winner Jones fell to in the tournament.
Central Decatur’s state showing ended with Reed falling in the consolation round, losing to Nick Reinicke of Dike New Hartford in a 9-4 decision.
Trailing 4-2 on points entering the third, Reinicke got an escape and a takedown to extend his lead. Another takedown from Reinicke both followed and preceded a Reed escape, resulting in a 9-4 score. Reinicke went on to finish eighth, joining Reed as victims of two state place-winners in their respective brackets.