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DES MOINES — Solon’s Graeson Dall took the term “break a leg” a little too literally.
The common phrase used to wish actors good luck took on a new meaning when he took the proverbial stage at Wells Fargo Arena.
Dall has persevered a broken right leg and pinned his way to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state wrestling tournament Thursday night.
Dall was one of five Spartan quarterfinalists that helped take the team lead after the opening day. Solon closed with 27 1/2 points. Ballard is second with 20.
Dall said he broke his fibula — the non-weight bearing bone — in three places during practice three weeks ago. He sat in a hospital room thinking his senior season was done. Dall changed his mind and is now a victory from reaching the state podium.
“I just decided to do it,” said Dall, who has a foam pad taped to his leg for protection. “A few days later I’m like, ‘Why not?’ Why not do it? It’s just a broken bone.”
Dall came back to help the team. He sat out the first two rounds of the State Duals on Wednesday, but wrestled in the final. Solon Coach Blake Williams said he is the consummate team player, who is healing more each day.
“He is the epitome of tough,” Williams said. “99.9 percent of kids wouldn’t think of doing what he’s doing. He’s all heart.”
Dall (36-6) wasn’t stopped by the injury, decking Humboldt’s Jaden Kampen in 3:13 at 152. He said it is amazing how it has worked out this postseason. The sport and winning has made it all worth it.
“There is some pain, definitely,” Dall said. “Suffering out there is what I like about it (and) that’s why I’m doing it.”
He contributed to Solon’s hot start. The Spartans tallied more than nine bonus points before they even lost a match. Top-ranked brothers Bryce and Drew West earned first-period falls at 120 and 126. Dall and state finalist Trevor Nelson posted consecutive pins.
Solon’s ninth-ranked Ben Carr didn’t get a fall, but he scored a takedown with two seconds remaining for a 21-6 technical fall over Dawson Riemenschneider, of East Marshall/GMG, at 138.
“Coaches were stressing to us about getting bonus points,” Carr said. “I thought I should cut him and try to get a takedown to get the tech.”
The Spartans closed the session in the same manner they started. Michael Hoyle (170), Zach Wegmann (220) and heavyweight Tyler Linderbaum all won consolation matches to advance. Wegmann and Linderbaum had pins, while Hoyle’s major decision avenged two earlier losses to Cherokee’s Tyler Zeimen.
Solon finished with 14 1/2 bonus points.
“That is an example of guys not just wanting to do it for themselves but for the team,” Williams said. “It’s nice to have all eight guys.”
The Wamac Conference had a strong showing overall with 19 first-round winners.
South Tama accounted for four of them, including 182-pounder Dalton Rosenburg. He scored two takedowns in a 4-1 victory over Woodward-Granger’s second-ranked Tanner Vermaas.
“My coaches told me he was ranked second but I don’t really care,” said Rosenburg, who improved to 35-11. “I see it that everyone is 0-0 and you have to battle to get to the podium. That’s what I’m doing here.”
He is joined by Brady Fritz (126), Colton Vest at 138 and second-ranked 152-pounder Isaac Judge, who won by fall. Judge and Rosenburg are practice partners.
“It really helps my work ethic,” Rosenburg said of training with Judge. “It helps my speed and mobility to work with someone so good.”
Williamsburg’s Grayson Kesterson (106) and Jalen Schropp (113) both won openers. Kesterson posted a quick 15-0 technical fall over Webster City’s Trey Nelson. Schropp followed with a 6-4 win over Center Point-Urbana’s Caleb Fuessley.
Schropp (42-10) had lost to Fuessley three times and was in a 4-2 hole. He turned Fuessley twice for four total nearfall in the second period and held on to win.
“I guess we both knew what we were doing. I knew I had to be tough on top and had to work my style,” Schropp said. “I had to work my half-nelson. It’s my favorite move.”
Vinton-Shellsburg’s fifth-ranked Carter Weeks earned the conference’s first 2A victory. He scored a go-behind takedown six seconds into sudden victory overtime for a 4-2 decision over West Liberty’s No. 5 Will Esmoil at 106. Instinct kicked in for his two takedowns.
“All of it,” Weeks said about the part instinct plays in wrestling. “All wrestling is doing what feels right.”
Mount Vernon had three reach the quarterfinals. Paul Ryan (145) and heavyweight Tristan Wirfs both earned decisions. Seventh-ranked Sam Moore won by injury default over Fairfield’s No. 2 Michael Fritz at 195.
West Liberty’s top-ranked duo Joe Kelly (152) and Bryce Esmoil opened with pins to advance. Bryce Esmoil decked No. 3 Karlton Skubal, of Washington (Iowa) in 5:47 at 195.
In a battle of ranked foes, Benton Community’s sixth-ranked Blade Durbala beat Charles City’s No. 5 Aaron Maloy, 5-3.
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