The Gazette's Marc Morehouse ranks all 143 wins in Kirk Ferentz's Iowa head coaching tenure as Ferentz approaches the school record this fall.

Prep Wrestling

Bryce Esmoil becomes West Liberty's first ever repeat state wrestling champion

Isaac Judge matches the feat for South Tama

West Liberty’s Bryce Esmoil celebrates his victory over Woodward Granger’s Cody Fisher in the Class 2A 195 pound championship match of the 2018 State Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on, Saturday, February 17, 2018. Esmoil won by fall at 1:05.(Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
West Liberty’s Bryce Esmoil celebrates his victory over Woodward Granger’s Cody Fisher in the Class 2A 195 pound championship match of the 2018 State Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on, Saturday, February 17, 2018. Esmoil won by fall at 1:05.(Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — West Liberty’s Bryce Esmoil (195) hadn’t lost in 87 straight matches going into the finals of the Class 2A Iowa state wrestling tournament.

Esmoil whipped his opponent, Cody Fisher of Woodward-Granger, over in the finals and squeezed harder than he ever had in his life. Esmoil pinned Fisher in 1:05, winning his second straight state title.

Esmoil finished his high school career with 88 straight wins and he became the first West Liberty wrestler to win consecutive state titles.

“I’ve never felt this before, but it feels pretty good,” Esmoil said. “Last year I won a state title, this is my second one — it’s just crazy.”

Esmoil said he doesn’t remember when he last lost a match. But in true coach fashion, West Liberty Coach Jeff Weile did.

“(Winning 88 in a row) is amazing,” Weile said. “His last loss was the Keith Young Invitational his junior year. That’s quite a feat.”

Gallery: State wrestling finals

Weile wasn’t quite ready to anoint Esmoil the best to ever wrestle at West Liberty, but he also recognizes what Esmoil’s victory will mean for the program.

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“It’s emotional,” Weile said. “He goes seventh, third, first and first — that’s incredible. I’m just really excited for him and all that he’s done for our program.

“All the kids in the stands watching that see him accomplish that just shows that you can accomplish that at West Liberty.”

While Esmoil made history at West Liberty, Isaac Judge (152) made history at South Tama.

Judge became the first-ever wrestler in South Tama history to win two state titles.

He beat Kyler Rieck of Spirit Lake, 5-0.

“It was so much fun,” Judge said. “It’s a really big accomplishment at South Tama because I’m the first two-timer ever. It’s a great thing, great season, great team to be with.”

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