Demons finish sixth at Southern Iowa Classic
FAIRFIELD — Washington had three wrestlers take second place — and the Demons took sixth place as a team — at Saturday’s Southern Iowa Classic in Fairfield.
Junior 113-pounder Fletcher Green, junior 152-pounder Tanner Knupp and sophomore 170-pounder Brad Skubal all lost in the finals.
Green, who is ranked fifth, rolled to the finals, defeating his first two opponents by a combined score of 20-1. But in the finals Green lost to third-ranked Bryce Meyer for the third time this season, this time by a score of 4-1.
“Fletcher has now lost to the Meyer kid three times this year, all by similar scores,” Washington head coach Brent Van Weelden said. “That kid’s pretty tough. Those two have battled for six matches now, three last year and three this year. Those are the matches you’ve got to go out and win. Overall, Fletcher had a good tournament, but just hasn’t gotten Meyer figured out yet.”
After receiving a first-round bye, Knupp pinned Fairfield junior Justin Leonard and then won a 3-1 decision over Fort Madison senior Brady Petry in the semifinals. But Knupp ran into fifth-ranked Griffin Osing of Albia in the finals, losing a 10-5 decision.
“That Albia kid was pretty tough,” Van Weelden said. “Tanner’s continuing to wrestle pretty well this year.”
Skubal also received a first-round bye, and then pinned Albia junior Joe Sager in the first period. Skubal won a narrow 7-6 decision over Clarke junior Jacob Bair in the semifinals, but like Green and Skubal, he ran into a ranked opponent in the finals. Sixth-ranked Seth Davisson of Fairfield edged Skubal 5-2 to take the 170-pound title.
“That match was closer than the final score shows,” Van Weelden said. “It was 3-2 with 20 seconds left, and Brad needed to take a shot. He took a desperation shot and put himself in bad position and got taken down at the end. Brad’s wrestled four ranked guys in the last two weeks. He has yet to beat any of them, but has come really close. He’s right there. He just has to keep pushing.”
Sophomore Michael Witt took third place at 106 pounds. After receiving a first-round bye, he avenged a loss from earlier in the season by edging Fort Madison freshman Adam Darley 9-7. Witt lost to Mt. Pleasant freshman Colton Mertens 16-5 in the semifinals, but pinned his next two opponents to take third place.
“Michael avenged a loss he had earlier in the season to the Fort Madison kid,” Van Weelden said. “He had that kid in the first round and was able to turn a loss into a win on Saturday. It’s nice to see the kids are making improvements like that.”
Senior 138-pounder Mitchell Hora lost his first match on Saturday, but pinned his next two opponents to reach the third-place match. But there he ran into ninth-ranked Clayton Hocker of Fort Madison and lost a 6-0 decision.
Senior 195-pounder Aaron Kempf also took fourth place. After receiving a first-round bye, Kempf pinned Clarke senior Ty Ryan in 30 seconds. But Kempf was pinned by fourth-ranked Riley Denny of Centerville in the first period. Kempf pinned Fairfield junior Randy Pugh to reach the third-place match, but he lost to Ottumwa junior Conner Mier.
Junior 120-pounder Tristan Pohren and sophomore 220-pounder Kyle Collier both took fifth place, and junior 160-pounder Austin Latcham took sixth.
Mt. Pleasant won the tournament with 163 points. Eddyville-Blakesburg, which is ranked fourth in Class 1A, took second with 156.5 points, and Albia, which is ranked seventh in Class 2A, was third with 147 points. Ottumwa scored 126.5 points to take fourth place, just edging Fort Madison (126) and Washington (124.5).
The Southern Iowa Classic was Washington’s final competition before Saturday’s Class 2A sectional tournament at Mediapolis, and Van Weelden feels his wrestlers are ready for the postseason.
“We didn’t wrestle too bad,” he said. “Last year we had a tough day at Fairfield. This year we finished sixth, which isn’t very good, but I think we were two points out of fourth. The kids are where they need to be. We’re wrestling pretty tough.”