A closer look at the Gazette area teams competing in Wednesday's Iowa high school wrestling state duals tournament, plus predictions for all three classes.
No. 1 Southeast Polk vs. No. 8 Western Dubuque
No. 4 Fort Dodge vs. No. 5 Waukee
No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock vs. No. 7 West Des Moines Valley
No. 3 Ankeny Centennial vs. No. 6 Bettendorf
Coach: Paul Cleary (7th season)
Appearance: Third overall, first since 2017
Road to Des Moines: Western Dubuque finished in a three-way tie for the Mississippi Valley Conference Mississippi Division title. Western Dubuque is the lone MVC team in the field. The Bobcats hosted a regional dual and dropped 2018 state duals qualifier Iowa City High. Western Dubuque trailed with five matches left and won the last five contested weights for a 40-21 victory over the Little Hawks.
Outlook: Eighth-seeded Western Dubuque has a tough quarterfinal challenge, drawing top-ranked Southeast Polk. The Bobcats boast seven ranked wrestlers, two shy of the Rams, and field competitive wrestlers at nearly every weight. A first-round victory will be hard to come by, but a run to fifth is certainly a possibility. Expect the Bobcats to surpass their best finish, which was seventh in 2017.
3A Predictions: 1. Southeast Polk, 2. Waverly-Shell Rock, 3. Ankeny Centennial
No. 1 West Delaware vs. No. 8 Sergeant Bluff-Luton
No. 4 Davenport Assumption vs. No. 5 Crestwood
No. 2 Solon vs. No. 7 Independence
No. 3 Osage vs. No. 6 Monroe PCM
Coach: Jeff Voss (24th season)
Appearance: Ninth overall, second straight
Road to Des Moines: Top-seeded West Delaware has produced one of the better seasons in the state among all classes. One of the first wins this season was against No. 2 Solon and the Hawks have wins over Class 1A top-ranked Don Bosco, 3A No. 7 Des Moines Valley and almost knocked off 3A No. 2 Waverly-Shell Rock. The Hawks cruised to another state duals appearance, outscoring regional dual foes 159-6, including a 75-6 victory over Camanche in the final.
Outlook: The Hawks are strongest as a dual team. They have quality wrestlers at every weight, including eight state qualifiers and nine ranked wrestlers. West Delaware has a penchant for bonus points as well with a balance that prevents teams from getting them. West Delaware should be able to advance to face an old rival in Davenport Assumption in the semifinals. A stronger Solon team could be waiting for a rematch in the finals.
Coach: Blake Williams (4th season/8th overall)
Appearance: Fourth overall, third straight
Road to Des Moines: Solon has won 25 straight duals and ascended the ranks with its lone loss at the hands of West Delaware. The Spartans captured the sectional crown and proceeded to steamroll both regional dual opponents. Solon won 24 of 28 total weights, beating Gilbert, 58-12, and clinched the State Duals berth — all four under Williams — with a 66-12 victory over Eddyville EBF.
Outlook: The Spartans have produced a very strong season. They open with a familiar foe in fellow Wamac Conference program Independence. Solon won nine matches in a 45-24 victory over Independence earlier this season. The result should be the same with the score possibly tighter. The winner between Osage and Monroe PCM could make things interesting in the semifinals, but expect an all-Wamac final with a chance for Solon to avenge its only loss.
Coach: Michael Doyle (20th season)
Appearance: Ninth overall, first since 2016
ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT
Road to Des Moines: The Mustangs produced the most notable upsets, on paper, when they beat two-time defending state duals champion and third-ranked New Hampton/Turkey Valley on the road. Independence overcame a nine-point deficit to beat Hampton-Dumont 39-33. Independence won seven bouts with five falls, including a pin by 220-pounder Christian Kremer in the last match, for a 36-34 thriller.
Outlook: The Mustangs have a tough draw, facing Solon in the opener and then either Osage or PCM in the second round. Seventh-seeded Independence has steadily improved since a 45-24 loss to Solon, and has four ranked wrestlers in Isaiah Weber (113), Matthew Doyle (152), Cole Davis at 160 and heavyweight Drew Evans capable of scoring bonus points. The Mustangs have not finished lower than fifth in their last three state duals tournaments and could wrestle above their seed.
2A Predictions: 1. West Delaware, 2. Solon, 3. PCM
No. 1 Don Bosco vs. No. 8 Missouri Valley
No. 4 West Sioux vs. No. 5 Lake Mills
No. 2 Denver vs. No. 7 Logan-Magnolia
No. 3 Lisbon vs. No. 6 Emmetsburg
Coach: Brad Smith (7th season, 20th overall)
Appearance: 13th overall, fifth straight
Road to Des Moines: Lisbon has rolled through the season again. The Lions haven’t lost to a Class 1A foe this season, falling to 3A No. 8 Western Dubuque in December. They had little trouble earning a 13th state duals berth, tying Creston-OM, Waverly-Shell Rock and West Des Moines Valley for the seventh most in state history. Lisbon received a bye to the regional final before thumping Maquoketa Valley 60-24.
Outlook: Class 1A seems like a three-team race in both duals and the traditional tournament. Third-seeded Lisbon drew No. 6 Emmetsburg in the quarterfinals. The Lions match up well and could set up a rematch of last year’s semifinal with No. 2 Denver. The winner will have its hands full with top-seeded Don Bosco in the finals. The Lions have top-ranked wrestlers in Robert Avila Jr. (126), Cael Happel (132) and 138-pounder Cobe Siebrecht with six total. Bonus points from its hammers will be key for Lisbon.
1A Predictions: 1. Don Bosco, 2. Denver, 3. Lisbon
l Comments: (319) 368-8679; firstname.lastname@example.org