116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
VAN HORNE — Three minutes of intense pressure for three minutes of fun.
Wyatt Voelker’s opponents may consider it more like punishment that turns to pain.
Seems like a fair trade for West Delaware’s top-ranked Class 2A state champion until you realize his matches don’t normally last the duration.
Voelker’s approach played out perfectly in the finals of the Bobcat Jerry Eckenrod Invitational on Saturday at Benton Community. Top-ranked Voelker broke open a two-point match for a 20-5 technical fall over Waukee Northwest’s 3A No. 4 Tanner Spyksma for the 195-pound title. He was the lone finalist for West Delaware, which won the team title with five finalists and 224.5 points.
Hawks assistant Mitch Peyton provided a little reminder before the championship bout. Voelker scored his first takedown with 12 seconds to go in the first period and secured match termination with 1:37 left in the third.
“I stuck with my game plan,” said Voelker, who is 18-0 with 17 bonus-point victories including 11 falls and three technical falls. “I kept looking for my underhook, looking for my ties, and scored.
“I could feel his big breath go away. The second and third period were really fun. The first period makes the last two periods fun.”
The three-time state medalist has made a habit of wearing down opponents and Spyksma was no different. Voelker was able to score at will in the second period, tallying 14 points in the frame with five takedowns and three nearfall in the waning seconds.
The final two takedowns came in the first 23 seconds of the third. He scored 20 points in a 2:35 stretch against a top-four ranked foe.
“His first period set up his second and third period,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. “He put a lot of pressure on the kid and that allowed him to open his offense up.
“We preached over the break to be aggressive early and that will open up things.”
Voelker, an all-state football player, started at 220 this season and weighed in at 195 for the first time Thursday. He moved down to 195 to help the team with matchups in duals. Voelker was dominant with two pins to open the tournament, giving him three pins and two technical falls at the lower weight class.
“I feel really good here,” Voelker said. “We haven’t decided on a final weight. We will do that before sectionals. I felt great today. I felt great before Christmas.
“I think I’m quicker on my feet. I think I’m moving better. I think I’m finding more offense in more areas.”
Voss was impressed with his performance Saturday.
“He looked good down there,” Voss said. “He’s pretty powerful.”
Voelker will continue to focus on getting better in the top and bottom positions, preparing for his college career at University of Northern Iowa.
“Find something every day to get better at,” Voelker said. “I told my coaches I’m not doing all this just to win a state title,” Voelker said. “Every day I’m looking to get better, no matter what. One step closer every day.”
West Delaware’s Carson Less (120), Jax Miller (126), Brent Yonkovic (138) and heavyweight Cam Geuther all finished second. The Hawks had 10 wrestlers place fourth or better with another in fifth. Don Bosco was second with 181 points and two champions.
“I thought we wrestled awesome,” Voss said. “We battled hard.”
Benton’s Jaiden Moore handed the Hawks one of their finals losses. The top-ranked 126-pounded won his home tournament in convincing fashion. Moore racked up six takedowns in a 16-4 major decision over Miller. Moore had a pin and beat Don Bosco’s seventh-ranked Kyler Knaack, 8-1, in the semifinals.
State runner-up Gavin Jensen remained undefeated, winning the 113-pound title and improving to 28-0. Jensen used two takedowns, a reversal and two sets of nearfall points for a 12-1 major decision over Benton’s Eli Kupka in the final.
Jensen opened the day with a pin and scored 24 points in his final two matches.
Cael Bridgewater almost doubled his season win total, going 3-0 and capturing the 138-pound title. He scored takedowns in the first two periods and then executed a quick tilt for nearfall in the third, topping Yonkovic, 6-4.
Benton Community Bobcat Jerry Eckenrod Invitational
At Van Horne
Teams – 1. West Delaware 224.5, 2. Don Bosco 181, 3. Waukee Northwest 173.5, 4. Davenport Assumption 142.5, 5. Union Community 141, 6. Vinton-Shellsburg 126, 7. Williamsburg 125, 8. Independence 124, 9. Dallas Center-Grimes 114, 10. Benton Community 111, 11. West Liberty 101, 12. C.R. Washington 51.5, 13. C.R. Jefferson 45, 14. North Linn 41.5, 15. East Marshall/GMG 38, 16. Centerville 26.5.
106 pounds – Jace Hedeman (UC) pinned Colin Cassady (WL), 3:47; 113 – Gavin Jensen (Will) major dec. Eli Kupka (BC), 12-1; 120 – Carter Freeman (WNW) pinned Carson Less (WD), 3:15; 126 – Jaiden Moore (BC) major dec. Jax Miller (WD), 16-4; 132 – Garrett Funk (DB) major dec. Caleb Olson (UC), 9-1; 138 – Cael Bridgewater (NL) dec. Brent Yonkovic (WD), 6-4; 145 – Cooper Sanders (VS) won by medical forfeit over Isaiah Weber (I); 152 – Hunter Worthen (UC) won by medical forfeit over Gabe Sanders (VS); 160 – Allen Catour (DA) major dec. Brady Ortner (VS), 16-4; 170 – Drake Collins (WL) pinned Ben Brushaber (DCG), 1:15; 182 – Griffin Gammell (WNW) dec. Cade Tenold (DB), 7-1; 195 – Wyatt Voelker (WD) tech. fall Tanner Spyksma (WNW), 20-5; 220 – Jared Thiry (DB) dec. Aiden Morgan (DA), 3-2; Hwt. – Ben Reiland (WNW) pinned Cam Geuther (WD), 3:00.
Most Outstanding Wrestler - Gammell (WNW)
Fastest fall - Freeman (WNW) and C. Sanders (VS), :21
Most falls in least time - Blake Engel (WD), 4 in 7:28.