A closer look at the 2019 Iowa high school state wrestling tournament, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.
Top qualifiers: Bettendorf 12, Southeast Polk 11, Waverly-Shell Rock 11, Waukee 10, Ankeny Centennial 9, Fort Dodge 9, Cedar Rapids Kennedy 7, Cedar Rapids Prairie 7, Ankeny 6, Dubuque Hempstead 6, Iowa City West 6, Johnston 6, Linn-Mar 6, North Scott 6, Norwalk 6
Area qualifiers by school: Cedar Rapids Kennedy 7, Cedar Rapids Prairie 7; Iowa City West 6, Linn-Mar 6; Western Dubuque 5; Iowa City High 4; Cedar Rapids Xavier 3, Clear Creek Amana 3, Marion 2, Cedar Rapids Jefferson 1, Cedar Rapids Washington 1, Iowa City Liberty 1
2018 top three teams: 1. Fort Dodge 144, 2. Waukee 139, 3. Southeast Polk 134.5
Outlook: The start of the season appeared to be Southeast Polk and the rest of the field hashing it out for second. Waverly-Shell Rock has closed the gap as the season has progressed and has made this a two-horse race. The Go-Hawks and Rams have the same number of qualifiers and could have a few head-to-head matches Saturday that could make the difference in the team standings. Third place is up for grabs. Waukee has some experience, finishing second a year ago. The Warriors have 10 in the field and will battle Ankeny Centennial, Fort Dodge and possibly a resurgent Bettendorf squad that leads the class in qualifiers. Cedar Rapids Kennedy might have the Gazette area's best shot at a top-five finish, but Western Dubuque, Cedar Rapids Prairie, Iowa City West and Linn-Mar will have shots at the top 10.
Team predictions: 1. Waverly-Shell Rock, 2. Southeast Polk, 3. Waukee
Top qualifiers: Monroe PCM 8, West Delaware 8, Sioux City Heelan 7, Union Community 7, Van Meter/Earlham 7, Clarion CGD 6, Crestwood 6, Sergeant Bluff-Luton 6, Solon 6, Spirit Lake Park 6
Area qualifiers: West Delaware 8, Union Community 7, Solon 6, Washington (Iowa) 5, West Liberty 5, Independence 4, Williamsburg 4, Decorah 3, Monticello 3, Mount Vernon 3, Vinton-Shellsburg 3, Center Point-Urbana 2, Maquoketa 2, North Fayette Valley 2, Mid-Prairie 1, Oelwein 1, South Tama 1, Tipton 1, Waukon 1
2018 top three teams: 1. Dubuque Wahlert 94, 2. New Hampton/Turkey Valley 80, 3. South Tama 75.
Outlook: Class 2A seems to be the most wide-open and unpredictable team race. West Delaware and PCM lead the way with eight qualifiers apiece. The Hawks might be a stronger dual team with balance, but may not have the individual point scorers PCM or Union Community. PCM has three top-four wrestlers, including second-ranked Colby Tool (145) and Wes Cummings at 160. Union has the top-ranked duo of Jack Thomsen (138) and Adam Ahrendsen (152) leading the way. West Delaware will need to push as many of its eight qualifiers on to the podium, but should be able to earn a trophy. Solon could make a move toward the top three as well. The Spartans have five ranked wrestlers, including the third-ranked pair of freshman Hayden Taylor (126) and senior Mike Hoyle (220).
Team predictions: 1. Monroe PCM, 2. Union Community, 3. West Delaware.
Top qualifiers: Denver 10, Don Bosco 10, Underwood 9, Lisbon 8, West Sioux 8, Emmetsburg 5, Interstate 35 5, Woodbury Central 5, Central Springs 4, Colfax-Mingo 4, Highland 4, Lake Mills 4, Logan-Magnolia 4, Missouri Valley 4, New London 4, Wapello 4
Area qualifiers: Lisbon 8, Highland 4, Alburnett 3, East Buchanan 3, English Valleys 3, MFL MarMac 3, North Cedar 3, Cascade 2, Dyersville Beckman 2, Iowa Valley 2, Midland 2, North Linn 2, South Winneshiek 2, Belle Plaine 1, Edgewood-Colesburg 1, Iowa City Regina 1, Jesup 1, Postville 1, Sigourney-Keota 1, Starmont 1
2018 top three teams: 1. Lisbon 127.5, 2. Don Bosco 121, 3. Denver 86.
Outlook: Three teams are expected to fight tooth and nail for the team title. Don Bosco, Denver and Lisbon were the top three last season and should occupy those spots again, but the order could be different. Don Bosco and Denver have 10 qualifiers. Denver has three top-ranked wrestlers and the Dons had two of their 12 ranked guys stumble at districts. Lisbon has won the last two traditional state team titles and has the ability to make it three straight. The Lions boast the top-ranked trio Robert Avila Jr. (126), Cael Happel (132) and 138-pounder Cobe Siebrecht that could stockpile placing and bonus points. Senior Ryne Mohrfeld gives them a chance for four high placewinners. Underclassmen Cade Siebrecht (106), No. 9 Quincey Happel (113), No. 10 Cole Clark at 182 and heavyweight Brant Baltes will need to contribute for Lisbon to have a chance. Underwood has a shot to crack the top three with nine qualifiers and six ranked wrestlers, including top-ranked 106-pounder Stevie Barnes.
Team predictions: 1. Don Bosco, 2. Lisbon, 3. Denver
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