2014 All-GTNS Wrestling Team
The 2013-14 season was a productive one for the area’s wrestling teams. Eighteen wrestlers from the area qualified for the Class 1A, 2A or 3A state tournament as individuals. The list of accolades from the season also includes a state champion, a state runner-up and a conference championship.
Brent Van Weelden has been the head coach of the Washington High School wrestling team for the past eight years. This season Washington won the Southeast Conference championship, had a dual record of 23-4, and sent five wrestlers to the Class 2A state tournament.
Highland freshman Drew West hasn’t lost a match yet in his high school career. He claimed the Class 1A state championship this year at 106 pounds. West will enter his sophomore campaign next winter at a perfect 39 – 0 and looking to defend his title with more experience under his state championship belt.
The identical twin brother of Drew, Bryce West was almost identically as successful in his freshman season at Highland. Bryce went through the regular season, sectionals and districts with only one loss to qualify for the Class 1A state tournament at 113 pounds. It was there that Bryce tasted defeat for just the second time but got the taste out of his mouth quickly as he still claimed third place. He finished his freshman campaign at 39 – 2.
Washington senior Fletcher Green came into this season as the defending state champion for Class 2A at 113 pounds and moved up a weight class for his senior year. Green went all the way to the state tournament undefeated before his quest to claim another state title was derailed. Green still did find his way to the podium at state, taking eighth place.
New London freshman Julian Wikoff went 13-17 in his first year on the varsity wrestling team, and pinned three of his opponents. He was one of two New London freshmen — the other was 120-pound Reno Chiri (33-8) — who qualified for the district tournament. Wikoff defeated Wapello’s Paul Johnson in the semifinal of the sectional tournament and won second place by rule before finishing fourth at districts.
Demon senior Tristan Pohren was another one of Washington’s state qualifiers. Pohren went 43 – 7 in his senior season at 132 pounds. Twenty-two of Pohren’s 43 wins came by way of a pin this past season.
Travis Cole finished his senior year and Highland career with the school’s record for most career wins with 180. Cole also was the Class 1A runner-up at 138 pounds at the state tournament. His record this season was 36 – 2.
Lane Boender, a sophomore at Sigourney, went 37 – 17 this year and qualified for the Class 1A state tournament at 145 pounds. Twenty-seven of Boender’s 37 victories were the result of pins, including a streak of 14 consecutive pins.
Demon senior Tanner Knupp qualified for districts at 152 pounds but came up just short of qualifying for state. He finished his career at Washington with a record of 25 – 8 in his senior season.
Fairfield junior Bryce Lunsford quickly became the most consistent Trojan, finishing the season 34-16. Two sectional wins gave Lunsford a second place finish and a spot in the Class 2A District 4 tournament. He would earn third place after beating Spencer Bassett of Davis County and losing to Albia’s Brett Leshen, who at the time was a perfect 50-0. Drew Foster of Mediapolis won the district; meaning two of Iowa’s best at 160 was the only thing holding Lunsford back from a state tournament berth.
Tucker Morrison of Columbus Community represented the Wildcats well as a freshman this season. His freshman season at 170 pounds fell just short of qualifying for state at the district meet but his 18 – 5 record gives him a lot to build on in the coming years.
Phirom Peterschmidt, a senior at Mid-Prairie, proved he was the real deal all season long. Peterschmidt carried his 46 – 5 record all the way through the state tournament, placing sixth at Des Moines.
Fairfield senior Max Spalla only went 15-14 on the season, but a second half surge helped push him through the postseason. Spalla went 2-1 at sectionals with his only loss coming to Steven Holloway of Mediapolis, who eventually won the district tournament as well. Spalla finished third at districts. Both Spalla and Lunsford are on the All-GTNS squad for the first time and made second team All-Southeast Conference.
Justin Dilks made his mark on Mt. Pleasant wrestling when he hit career win No. 100 this season, a 58 second pin over Albia’s Jacob West. He went on to claim his first-ever district title, which earned him a spot at the Class 3A state tournament for the third time in his career. He finished his final season as a Panther with a record of 30-3. He had 18 pins on the year and earned himself a repeat appearance on the all-GTNS team.
Kyle Davis qualified for the Class 2A state tournament at 285 pounds for Columbus Community and going into Des Moines hadn’t suffered a defeat during his junior campaign. Although Davis didn’t place, his 23 – 2 record should give him a lot of confidence heading into his senior year.
Davis shouldn’t be the only one with confidence heading into the offseason, however. Although these individuals listed here are most worthy of recognition, all those coaches and wrestlers who were a part of this past season in the GTNS area should be proud of the accomplishments that their work has brought them.
The Golden Triangle News Service teams are selected by sports editors Derek Helling (The Washington Evening Journal), Ashlee De Wit (Mt. Pleasant News), and Allyus Fritz (The Fairfield Ledger).