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West Delaware had never wrestled at the Loyd Shaffer-Marion Invitational and it was expected to be there this season neither.
A cancellation, a late adjustment, some phone calls and flexibility by the host and the Hawks made their first appearance at the tournament named after the late Marion coach.
“We’re grateful Marion let us in,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “We were scrambling.”
Marion opened the door and Class 2A top-ranked West Delaware made itself at home, capturing the team title with five champions Saturday. The Hawks scored 247.5 points and topped runner-up Linn-Mar, which also entered the field after its originally-scheduled event was wiped out by weather.
The Hawks were slated to wrestle at the Perry Invitational. Voss began to hear that teams were starting to pull out due to the incoming storm. The team was set to leave at 10 a.m. Friday. An hour before the bus, the tournament was off and left West Delaware without a competition.
West Delaware Athletics Director Matt Weis went to work and called Marion. An hour later, the Hawks’ weekend was salvaged. Voss recalled a year they missed strong tournaments at Perry and Benton Community and said he felt that impacted their performance later in the season. He did not want to see that happen again for a team attempting a second straight state title sweep.
“It was real beneficial,” Voss said. “It was a tough tournament.”
Brayden Maury (106), Carson Less (120), 138-pounder Brent Yonkovic, Logan Peyton (152) and Wyatt Voelker at 195 all won titles. Kyle Cole was second at 170 for West Delaware.
For the second straight weekend, Yonkovic, ranked sixth in 2A, faced North Linn’s 1A No. 9 Cael Bridgewater. Yonkovic avenged the previous loss with an 8-4 decision. The Hawks’ freshman also beat Mount Vernon’s 2A No. 7 Jackson Jaspers, 3-1.
“He’s proven himself to be a very good freshman,” Voss said of Yonkovic. “He’s beaten some really good kids. He’s the real deal.”
West Delaware also went 11-2 overall in the final round with 10 wrestlers placing third or better. The Hawks were also without two ranked wrestlers.
“There are things we can get better at,” Voss said. “We still haven’t been at our best, yet.”
IWCOA girls’ state booms again
The Iowa Wrestling Coaches and Officials Association’s girls’ state wrestling tournament has grown all four years of its existence. The event that started as a one-day tournament at Waverly-Shell Rock with 87 competitors has exploded to a two-day affair with more than 700 wrestlers from 160 schools.
Action begins at 10 a.m. both Friday and Saturday at Xtream Arena in Coralville. Championship matches and other placing bouts for third, fifth and seventh at each weight are 5 p.m. Saturday.
The competition consists of 17 weight classes, ranging from 100 pounds to 285 with “silver” brackets at 120 and 125. Five weights have more than 60 entrants. The biggest bracket is 155, containing 63 wrestlers. The smallest is 285 with nine.
Decorah’s Naomi Simon, Independence’s Rachel Eddy and Clayton Ridge’s Samantha Spielbauer won titles last year. Iowa City West’s Janell Avila won a state title in 2020 as a freshman at Lisbon.
The event exploded as efforts continue to sanction the sport in Iowa. Thirty-three states have sanctioned the sport.
The tournament increased to 350 wrestlers in the second year when it was still held in Waverly. The meet moved to Coralville in 2021, growing to 461 and adding a day. As more high school programs emerge and in the wake of University of Iowa announcing it will be the first Power-5 NCAA Division I program with women’s wrestling, the interest and opportunities have boomed.
Quincy Happel hits 150
Lisbon senior Quincy Happel surpassed 150 career victories Saturday at the Ed Hadenfeldt Invitational in Solon. Happel pinned his way through the 126 bracket, wrestling a combined four minutes in three matches and improving to 29-1 with 17 pins this season.
Happel pinned North Scott’s Drew Metcalf in 1:20 of the first round to reach the win plateau. He has 152 total wins and is the third member of his family to surpass 150 career victories. Older brothers, Carter and Cael Happel, amassed 209 and 218 career wins for the Lions. Their dad, Dean, won 114 matches for Lisbon from 1981-84.
Max Kohl (170) joined Happel atop the podium for the Lisbon, which finished third behind Waverly-Shell Rock and North Scott.