by Steve Peterson
Two champions, one milestone victory and five total district qualifiers accounted for a very successful day for Akron-Westfield wrestlers at the Woodbury Central sectional in Moville on Feb. 2.
Champions for the Westerners were Taylor James at 182 pounds and Chet Willer at 195 pounds.
Also qualifying for the Feb. 9 West Monona District Meet in Onawa were second-place winners Tommy Toben at 120 pounds; Daniel Dirks at 138 pounds; and Cole Oltmanns at 145 pounds. The top two finishers in each weight class advance to the state meet in Des Moines starting Feb. 14.
James got the milestone win as he won his 100th career victory with a first-round win against Ryan Mulvihill of Westwood (WW) in a pin in 1:53. James, who had a first-round bye, then beat Zach Klingensmith of West Monona in a 5-1 decision for the title.
“He joins some elite company. There are only a handful of guys who reached 100 wins, and he did it despite being injured his sophomore year,” said A-W Head Coach Dustin Meinen.
James had a 33-4 record after the sectional meet.
Willer opened the tournament with a win in just 0:12 against Zac Schreck of Hinton. Then he won the 195-pound title with a pin against Blake Sappingfield of Lawton-Bronson (L-B) in 1:59. Willer is 38-4 record before the district meet.
“He’s one of the guys who thrives on the pressure,” said Meinen.
“They (Willer and James) both controlled their weight classes. They knew what they needed to do and they came here and did it,” said Meinen.
“We’ll have some tough first-round battles at the district meet. Nothing is automatic,” said Meinen.
Other Westerners had to overcome defeats to reach a second place match and get a chance to go on.
Toben opened the tournament with a pin in 2:47 against Jerrit Still of L-B in 2:47. He then beat Tyler Robinson of WW in an 11-5 decision. He lost to Gable Verschoor (39-3 record) of Woodbury Central (WC) in the first place match by a 9-0 decision. Toben, 37-10 record, won by previous decision for second place.
Dirks, at 138 pounds, won a major decision in his first round, 19-7 against Isaac Reis of Kingsley-Pierson. He lost to Luke Klingensmith of WC in a pun in 5:23. He beat Jacob Becker of Westwood (WW) by a 7-0 decision for second place. Dirks had a 36-9 record.
Oltmanns, at 145 pounds, beat Avery Nelson of West Monona by an 8-2 decision but lost a close 3-2 decision to Jake Mize of Woodbury Central in the first-place match. He took second by previous decision.
At 152 pounds, Dylan Blinde of A-W beat Quinton Robinson of Hinton in a pin in 4:24; he lost to Logan Moore of West Monona in a pin in 1:39. Then Blinde lost to Drake McArthur of L-B in a 12-8 decision for a 29-17 record this season. Oltmanns brings a 34-14 record to district.
At 160 pounds, Jacob Bergman of A-W beat Colin Poss of Hinton; lost to Schuyler Rilling of WC in a pin in 1:22 and lost to Tanner DeVries of WW in a pin in 1:24. Bergman’s record was 22-25.
Chance Gant at 170 pounds lost to Jerico Trucke of Maple Valley-Anton-Oto (no result available) and beat Michael Nafe of Kingsley-Pierson in a pin in 1:15. He took fifth place with a pin in just 0:15 against Brendan Hansen of West Monona. Gant had a 17-12 record.
Trevor Hansen at 220 pounds lost his first round match against Levi Paulsen of WC, a 40-win wrestler, by pin in 1:11 and lost to Kevin Bruning of MVAO in a pin in 0:40. Hansen had a 5-29 season record.
Woodbury Central won the team title with 260 points and the host team qualified nine for the district meet. Westwood was second with 187 points. Maple Valley-Anton-Oto took third at 147 ahead of Akron-Westfield’s 133 points. Hinton had 116; Lawton-Bronson, 102.5; West Monona, 91; and Kingsley-Pierson, 66.