Demons and Knights set to square off at districts
After losing a 3-0 decision to West Liberty’s Elliot Henderson in the district semifinals last year, Washington junior 120-pounder Tristan Pohren is hoping for a rematch with Henderson at this weekend’s Class 2A district wrestling tournament in West Liberty.
“He beat me this year and he beat me at districts last year, so I kind of want a rematch,” said Pohren, who also lost to Henderson 6-2 at the Solon Invitational on Jan. 12. “I want to try to get him this time.”
Pohren (31-5), who was a sectional champion last Saturday, has the best record of the four 120-pounders who have qualified for Saturday’s district tournament. Henderson is 28-9 on the season, while Pohren’s first-round opponent, Davenport Assumption freshman Jacob Fenske, is 22-10.
“I know he’s a freshman and he’s pretty good,” Pohren said of Fenske. “He likes to shoot. I’ve just got to be physical with him.”
Pohren isn’t the only Demon set to square off with a Davenport Assumption wrestler in the first round of Saturday’s tournament. In fact, all five of Washington’s district qualifiers start the day with a match against an Assumption grappler.
“That’s a little unusual, but when Assumption gets about all of their kids through, you’re bound to meet one of them,” Washington head coach Brent Van Weelden said.
Washington junior Fletcher Green (32-4), who is ranked fourth and was a sectional champion at 113 pounds last weekend, will meet fifth-ranked Brendan Gould (40-11) in the semifinals. Camanche freshman Brice Everson (37-4), who is ranked sixth, awaits on the other side of the bracket, and Mediapolis sophomore Cody McNeil (37-10) is no slouch either.
“That’s obviously a very competitive weight that a lot of people around the state will be watching,” Van Weelden said.
Washington’s other three district qualfiers — freshman 126-pounder Jarek Brown, junior 152-pounder Tanner Knupp and junior 160-pounder Austin Latcham — were all runners-up at last Saturday’s sectional tournament and will face ranked Assumption wrestlers in the first round at districts. Brown (8-15) will face third-ranked Tony Devriese (35-9). Knupp (33-7) gets top-ranked Nick Georgean, who is a perfect 31-0 this season. And Latcham (16-13) will take on sixth-ranked Danny Bush (39-8).
“Those three — Tanner, Jarek and Austin — are maybe a little bit underdogs, but Jarek and Austin have kind of been in that role all year,” Van Weelden said. “People might look past them a little bit. Their records aren’t really impressive, but if they come out and wrestle hard maybe they can catch somebody or maybe they can beat somebody by a point. Who knows?”
Assumption, ranked second in Class 2A, qualified wresters for districts in 13 of the 14 weight classes. Third-ranked Mediapolis will also take 13 wrestlers to districts, making Saturday’s tournament in West Liberty possibly the toughest in the state.
“If it’s not, it’s got to be dang close,” Van Weelden said.
Both the Knights and the Bulldogs will send a lot of wrestlers to the state tournament. But the Demons hope to squeeze in a few as well.
“With the second- and third-ranked teams in the state, there’s not a lot of room for error,” Van Weelden said. “They’re probably going to get three-fourths of the spots between Assumption and Mediapolis. Then you’ve got maybe eight spots left for the other teams to try to fill. Hopefully we fill five of those.”
Pohren just missed qualifying for state at 113 pounds last year, but hopes to make a statement and earn a trip to Des Moines this Saturday.
“It would be a good feeling and it would show how much I’ve improved over the year,” he said.