Prep Wrestling

Lisbon finishes 4th in 1A State Duals tournament

Lions turn focus to defending traditional team title

DES MOINES — Lisbon had not planned to celebrate.

The only thing in the works was a possible team meeting to refocus and reset for another opportunity to repeat.

The second-seeded Lions weren’t able to defend their dual title, dropping their final two contests and placing fourth at the Class 1A State Duals wrestling tournament Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Arena.

Lisbon will turn its attention to the traditional state tournament that begins Thursday, attempting to win a second straight team title.

“We’ll forget this,” Lisbon senior Bryce Werderman said. “We’ll have our team meeting (Wednesday night) and figure out what we have to do different. Come and score points (Thursday).”

Fifth-seeded Lake Mills (36-4) won eight matches in the final round, handing the Lions (25-5) a 46-29 loss.

“We didn’t deserve anything better, so it is what it is,” Lisbon Coach Brad Smith said. “You’ve got to wrestle to win. We had some kids that didn’t show up. It’s one of the first times of the year. Not at a good time.”

The teams traded shots early. Werderman opened the dual with a major decision at 170 and Logan O’Connor (220) added a fall, tying the dual at 10 apiece after four matches.

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The Bulldogs pulled away with three consecutive pins, starting with heavyweight Brett Tyler and ending with Caiden Jones at 113, for a 28-10 edge.

Lisbon seemed poised to make a run after top-ranked Cael Happel’s 17-1 technical fall over No. 9 Tyler Helgeson. Lake Mills’ 126-pounder Alex Martinson delivered a shocking and determining blow when he hit a headlock and pinned second-ranked Cobe Siebrecht in 32 seconds.

It was one of seven Lake Mills pins and all eight earned bonus points. A trend that began in third-seeded Denver’s 38-35 semifinal upset of the Lions. Denver and Lisbon split the 14 weights, but the Cyclones recorded five pins and a technical fall, which was the difference.

“We had too many guys getting on their backs,” Smith said. “We gave up bonus points. It puts pressure on the other guys, too.

“You’re not going to win those meets when you give up that much. Some of our kids wrestled hard every match. Had some others that didn’t stay tough mentally.”

The finish was tough on the seniors, who wanted to help Smith become just the second coach in Iowa history to reach 600 career dual victories. Instead, Smith remains at 599 until next season. Someone else will have to usher the Hall of Fame to the milestone.

“It’s definitely a disappointment, especially leaving Smith hanging right before the 600 mark my senior year,” Werderman said. “These younger kids have something to look forward to but we’re done.”

The Lions have nine qualifiers, tying Don Bosco and Denver for the most in the class. All three have eight ranked wrestlers, promising an exciting team race between the top-three ranked teams. The dual results could provide a good wake-up call for the Lions.

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“It fires us up a little,” Lisbon senior Kaden Kilburg said. “It makes us all know we have to be on our game and wrestle to the best that we can. It’s not going to come easy.”

Don Bosco rolled to the finals with wins over West Sioux (65-8) and Lake Mills (42-22). The Dons dropped Denver, 38-27, for the title. Don Bosco won seven weights, including six with bonus-points.

The dual wasn’t decided until the final bout. Austin Hellman capped the dual with the Dons’ fourth pin.

“We knew we were in for a battle with those guys,” Don Bosco Coach Tom Hogan said. “Those guys are tough.”

Don Bosco won its ninth State Duals title and the first since 2010. The Dons improved to 27-1, claiming their first championship under Hogan.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Hogan said. “It’s a huge relief for these guys and for us as a staff.

“Finally, got the job done. Everything came together and it worked out.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.