116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Kuehl powers Jefferson to J-Hawk Invitational title
CEDAR RAPIDS - Dalton Kuehl stands 6-foot-6 and tips a scale about 250 pounds.
The frame comes with broad shoulders wide enough to carry Cedar Rapids Jefferson to victory.
The senior heavyweight pinned Clinton's Tyler Clark in the final match of the day, claiming his first individual championship and lifting host Jefferson over Alburnett for the team title Saturday at the J-Hawk Invitational. Jefferson tallied 212 ½ points, edging Alburnett by 2 ½.
Kuehl stepped on the mat oblivious to the team totals and was only focused on the fourth-ranked Clark. Coaches informed him after his fall with two seconds left in the first period. It was a pleasant surprise.
'It's exciting,” Kuehl said. 'I was happy.”
Kuehl has come through for the J-Hawks in the past. He scored a come-from-behind pin to win a dual at The Clash in Rochester, Minn. He embraces the challenge.
'I like having pressure on me,” Kuehl said. 'I feel I wrestle better.”
Jefferson Coach Dick Briggs helped him stay loose, rubbing his shoulders before the match. Although he was confident, he knew heavyweight matches can be unpredictable, so he avoided distraction by not sharing the team scores with Kuehl.
'If he wins it, it's on him,” Briggs said. 'If he doesn't, it's not on him, because it's a team effort.
Teammates and J-Hawk supporters moved in to celebrate defending their turf for the second straight year. Jefferson Coach Dick Briggs said he doesn't remember the tournament coming down to that situation previously.
'Clark is a highly-ranked wrestler,” Briggs said. 'For us to get out, get that takedown and get the pin, it was nice.”
Kuehl pinned his way through the field, recording four and giving him 13 this season. He wasn't a pinner in the past.
'He's turning into one this year at heavyweight,” Briggs said,
The J-Hawks entered the final round, clinging to a 2 ½-point lead in the team race that was tight throughout the day. They received a boost from fourth-ranked 113-pounder Brenden Baker.
He faced Fort Dodge's Triston Lara, who handed Baker his only loss last year at the state tournament. Baker took advantage of an opening and decked Lara in 4:28.
'I knew the match was going to be close the whole time,” Baker said. 'I just knew I had to stay in good position. I got a claw ride, floated over and sunk it in. I ended up getting a headlock out of it. Just worked with what I got and what was given to me.”
Baker was named the outstanding wrestler of the tournament. Like Kuehl, he was set on his personal performance and unaware of the team race.
'I never think about going out and trying to plan out my matches,” Baker said. 'I go out there and wrestle. The end result, if I can run up the score I'll run up the score. If I can get the pin, I'll get the pin. I just need to go out there and win.”
The J-Hawks advanced six to the finals with 10 finishing in the top six. Kyle Briggs (132), Matt Culver (145), Luke Sedlacek (160) and Kelly May (182) were second for Jefferson.
'In some places, we looked all right,” Briggs said. 'In some places, we still have a lot of work to do.
'There are places we can improve.”
Alburnett took the lead with three straight wins in the finals.
Hunter Washburn (28-4) dominated from the opening whistle, posting a 16-3 major decision over Fort Madison's Chase Seaney. He distanced himself from the field this time, beating Seaney, 3-0, in the finals a year ago.
'He looked good today,” Alburnett Coach Kane Thompson said. 'It's the toughest I‘ve seen him.”
The Pirates' second-ranked Conner Shulista was even more impressive, pinning his way through the 145-pound bracket. He had the most falls in the least amount of time with four in 7:47. He closed the day with a pin over Culver in 1:46.
'I've never coached a more offensive kid,” Thompson said. 'He rolls points. If he gets you on your back, he's a finisher.”
Bryce Paul claimed the 152-pound title for Alburnett. He received a medical forfeit when Fort Madison's Nick Otte defaulted from the tournament after winning a semifinal on an illegal move.
Alburnett had eight semifinalists and matched Jefferson's 10 medalists, including runners-up Drake Halblom (126) and 220-pounder Robbie Carrothers.
'I think we're really making progress,” said Thompson, noting the Pirates are more unified pushing them to wrestler harder for teammates. 'They are all about each other right now. That goes a long way into being good.”
West Delaware's 2A top-ranked Brent Lammers improved to 20-0, claiming the 182-pound title. Lammers blanked May, ranked eighth in 3A, 10-0, in the championship match.
Lammers pinned his way to the final. He has shaken off the rust, missing four weeks due to injury earlier in the year.
'He's looking a lot smoother out there,” West Delaware Coach Jeff Voss said. 'He's attacking from all positions. You can tell his mentality is to score a lot of points.”
At C.R. Jefferson
Teams - 1. C.R. Jefferson 212.5, 2. Alburnett 210, 3. Fort Dodge 176, 4. Dubuque Hempstead 173.5, 5. Clinton 133, 6. Fort Madison 120, 7. Marshalltown 103, 8. Waterloo East 90, 9. West Delaware 83, 10. Oskaloosa 82, 11. Boone 60.5, 12. Muscatine 41.5, 13. Davenport Central 40, 14. Benton Community 38.
106 pounds - Brody Teske (FD) major dec. Harlan Steffensmeier (FM), 14-3; 113 - Brenden Baker (CRJ) pinned Triston Lara (FD), 4:28; 120 - Erik Birnbaum (FD) dec. Drew Sams (O), 3-1; 126 - Skylar DeJong (O) pinned Drake Halblom (A), 2:46; 132 - Tanner Hocker (FM) dec. Kyle Briggs (CRJ), 6-4 (SV); 138 - Hunter Washburn (A) major dec. Chase Seaney (FM), 16-3; 145 - Conner Shulista (A) pinned Matt Culver (CRJ), 1:46; 152 - Bryce Paul (A) won by medical forfeit over Nick Otte (FM); 160 - Jonah Egli (FD) dec. Luke Sedlacek (CRJ), 9-4; 170 - Dillon Chase (Clin) dec. Josh Edel (Mar), 5-2; 182 - Brent Lammers (WD) major dec. Kelly May (CRJ), 10-0; 195 - Sam Cook (FD) dec. Justin Guilliams (Clin), 7-3; 220 - Gannon Gremmel (DH) pinned Robbie Carrothers (A), 3:22; Hwt, - Dalton Kuehl (CRJ) pinned Tyler Clark (Clin), 1:58.
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