Demons send five to districts
MEDIAPOLIS — Wrestling at the sectional tournament for the first time in his career, Washington 152-pounder Tanner Knupp may have been a bit too anxious for his finals match against Bradley Conley of Mediapolis.
After he wasn’t awarded a takedown near the edge of the mat early in the match, Knupp suffered an asthma attack and was pinned.
“It was anxiety,” Knupp said. “I got that takedown, and I’m a kid where if a call doesn’t go my way my heart just starts pumping really fast. My blood got flowing a little too quick. I just wasn’t getting enough oxygen. That was my own fault for overthinking things and not just going and wrestling my match.”
Fortunately, Knupp regrouped in time to pin New London’s Gabe Whaley in a wrestleback match and earn a trip to next weekend’s district tournament in West Liberty.
“My fellow wrestlers were saying, ‘Hey, bounce back. You can do this,’” Knupp said. “I didn’t want my season to end today, and I’m glad it didn’t.”
Knupp is one of five Demons who will be moving on to next weekend’s district tournament.
Junior Fletcher Green, who is ranked fourth at 113 pounds, won his only match of the day to become a three-time sectional champion. He didn’t wrestle until the finals, where he won a 7-3 decision over Mediapolis sophomore Cody McNeil.
Junior 120-pounder Tristan Pohren was also a sectional champion. He pinned Columbus freshman Adrian Santos in the semifinals and then won a 3-0 decision over Mediapolis freshman Shea Swafford in the finals.
Washington junior 160-pounder Austin Latcham bounced back from a tough day at the Southern Iowa Classic in Fairfield on Jan. 26 to earn a trip to districts. Latcham lost to Fairfield sophomore Bryce Lunsford 3-2 in the semifinals of the Southern Iowa Classic, but he defeated Lunsford 9-6 in the semifinals on Saturday.
“I practiced hard this week and wrestled a lot better,” Latcham said. “I did better at keeping my legs back against the kid from Fairfield.”
Latcham lost by technical fall in the finals, but still earned a trip to districts as the sectional runner-up.
There were only three wrestlers in the 126-pound bracket, and Washington freshman Jarek Brown earned a trip to districts when he pinned Columbus senior Robert Martinez in the third period of his semifinal match. Brown was pinned by Mediapolis freshman Luke Erickson in the finals, but was a sectional runner-up.
“His first match was the important one,” Washington head coach Brent Van Weelden said of Brown. “If he won that one, he was in, and he did. He caught the kid in a headlock. That was a pretty good match.”
Washington also had six wrestlers take third place at the tournament, including a pair of wrestlers who were sectional champions last year. Sophomore 106-pounder Austin Witt, senior 138-pounder Mitchell Hora, sophomore 170-pounder Brad Skubal, senior 182-pounder Brody Warth, senior 195-pounder Aaron Kempf and sophomore 220-pounder Kyle Collier each took third.
Skubal, who was a sectional champion last year as a freshman, lost a heartbreaking semifinal match to seventh-ranked Seth Davisson of Fairfield. Both wrestlers took numerous shots through the first three periods, but neither could finish one. Both wrestlers had an escape in regulation, and the match headed to overtime tied at 1-1. Again, neither wrestler could finish a shot in the first overtime period. Skubal went down to start the second overtime, and quickly escaped. Then he nearly rode out Davisson in the third overtime, but the Fairfield wrestler broke free with 3.2 seconds left in the period. Davisson then chose down in the fourth overtime, and escaped for the sudden victory.
“He didn’t stay on the legs,” Van Weelden said of Skubal. “We preach and preach and preach to stay on the legs. The first time he came off the leg and went around the waist, and that didn’t work, and then the second time he came to the head. Against good kids you’ve got to finish the shots right, and that’s kind of what it boiled down to. If he would have finished one of those shots, he wouldn’t have been in the predicament he was in.”
Skubal quickly pinned Columbus senior Javier Diaz in the third-place match, but didn’t get a chance to wrestle back.
Hora, who was a state qualifier last year, picked up his 100th career victory in bittersweet fashion. He won a 19-10 major decision over Columbus senior Mitchell Roush in the third-place match, but didn’t get a chance to wrestle back. Hora had lost a key match to Fairfield senior Ammon Shaner 9-2 in the semifinals.
“I was at 98 [wins] coming in, so I knew that today had to be the day to get it,” said Hora, who is now 100-51 for his career. “It was either going to be my last match or the one to go to districts. I’m just glad that it happened.”
While Hora won’t get a chance to wrestle at districts or state, he will get one last chance to wrestle. Washington took second place at Saturday’s sectional meet, so the Demons will get to wrestle at Tuesday’s Class 2A regional dual tournament back at Mediapolis. Washington will face Albia at 6 p.m.
“That will be good to get another go at it,” Hora said.
1. Mediapolis 289, 2. Washington 197, 3. Columbus 165.5, 4. Fairfield 123, 5. New London 105, 6. West Burlington-Notre Dame 47.
106 — Mason Buster (M) pinned Josh Keller (C), 5:48. 113 — Fletcher Green (W) dec. Cody McNeil (M), 7-3. 120 — Tristan Pohren (W) dec. Shea Swafford (M), 3-0. 126 — Luke Erickson (M) pinned Jarek Brown (W), 1:12. 132 — Cole Erickson (M) pinned Austin Edwards (C), 1:29. 138 — Drew Foster (M) major dec. Ammon Shaner (F), 12-2. 145 — Drew Buster (M) dec. Aaron Gevock (F), 5-2. 152 — Bradley Conley (M) pinned Tanner Knupp (W), 1:43. 160 — Blake Beckman (M) tech. fall Austin Latcham (W), 17-0. 170 — Adam Drain (M) pinned Seth Davisson (F), 1:47. 182 — Steven Holloway (M) pinned Brett Scott (F), 0:57. 195 — Ethan Timmerman (M) dec. Mark Ramirez (C), 9-7 (OT). 220 — Jake Mineart (F) dec. Kyle Davis (NL), 7-2. 285 — Avery Jacobs (NL) pinned Angel Lagunas (C), 2:57.
152 — Tanner Knupp (W) pinned Gabe Whaley (NL), 1:53. 182 — Brett Scott (F) dec. Brody Warth (W), 7-1. 195 — Mark Ramirez (C) pinned Aaron Kempf (W), 1:48. 285 — Ethan Lamm (M) dec. Angel Lagunas (C), 11-5.