by Steve Peterson
A trio of champions emerged for Akron-Westfield’s wrestling squad after the Westerner Invite was held Dec. 8.
Freshman Tommy Toben won the title at 120 pounds. Senior Daniel Dirks was the champion at 138 pounds and Senior Taylor James was the champion at 182 pounds in the meet that included 10 teams.
A-W took third as a team with 128 points behind Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley’s 192 points and Elk Point-Jefferson had 158 for second place.
A-W had the three first place winners; two second-place finishes; one third and one fourth place and two fifth-place efforts.
“It was a pretty good final round. We won three of the five (championship bouts), and a simple mistake here or there and it could have been five of five. We’re real close to turning those things around. We will see some of these guys we lost to down the road,” said A-W Head Coach Dustin Meinen.
Toben won a 9-6 decision against Alex Montes of West Sioux in the opening round. He then faced Dakota York of Creighton-Verdigre, Neb., and won 14-8. Toben beat Max Klarenbeek of Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley by a 15-6 major decision.
“He is just relentless. He does not quit until he scores. The win in the final was huge because that was a senior he beat,” said Meinen of Toben.
Dirks had “a great day and has a real good focus right now; he wants to improve every day and that attitude is contagious in the room,” said Meinen of the Westerners’ second champion, Dirks. He beat Sawyer Van Maanen of Sioux Center in a quick fall of 13 seconds. Dirks then beat Isaac Reis of Kingsley-Pierson in a 18-4 major decision for the semifinals before a fall in 3:48 over Jared Hueser of Elk Point-Jefferson in the final.
James had two wins by falls to claim his title at 182 pounds. He beat Eli Schreier of Creighton-Verdigre in 1:48 and downed Ryan Mulvhill of Westwood in 1:52.
Chet Willer advanced to the final at 195 pounds with a win by fall in :32 over Jacob Pottebaum of Sioux Center. Willer faced Ty Kolddenhoven of Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley in the final and lost by fall in 2:56.
Cole Oltmanns and Jared Limoges of Elk Point-Jefferson Huskies battled tooth and nail for all six minutes in their title bout at 145 pounds in a clash of two seniors. Limoges executed a move in the final seconds for a hard-fought 8-4 win. Oltmanns had downed Seth Hoogendoom of Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley by a close 4-2 decision and beat Owen Pavelka of Creighton-Verdigre by a 13-8 decision.
Sophomore Dylan Blinde gained a third-place finish for A-W at 152 pounds. He beat Tony Baker of Westwood in a 11-0 major decision; lost to Dylon Van’t Hof of Sioux Center in a fall in 1:38 but beat Ryan Volquardsen of Creighton-Verigre, 10-6 to get a rematch with Baker which Blinde won 10-6.
Chance Gant finished fourth for A-W at 170 pounds. He lost to Waylon Rau of Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley in a fall in 1:09; beat Cody Davis of Elk Point-Jefferson in a fall in 4:20; won by an injury default over Brandon Thompson of Lawton-Bronson and lost to Ray in a fall in 1:35 in the battle for third place.
Jacob Bergman contributed a fifth place effort for A-W at 160 pounds. He lost to Sean Uhl of Ponca, Neb., in a fall in 1:52 but beat Michael Nafe of Kingsley-Pierson in a fall in :54 and lost to Drake McArthur of Lawton-Bronson in a fall in 2:16 but beat Uhl in a rematch in a fall in 3:52.
Michael Siebens finished fifth for A-W at 113 pounds. He only wrestled one match, in which he lost by a fall in 4:08 to Ty Steenhoven of Sioux Center.
Team standings: Boyden-Hull-Rock Valley, 192; Elk Point-Jefferson, 158; Akron-Westfield, 126; Creighton-Verdigre, 106; Westwood, 102; Lawton-Bronson, 79; Sioux Center, 70.5; Kingsley-Pierson, 45; West Sioux, 26; and Ponca, 25.
“That is about where I thought we would be,” said Meinen.
A-W is at the Elk Point-Jefferson meet on Dec. 15.