Prep Wrestling

Cedar Rapids Xavier wrestler Christian Stanek displays tough style with increasing success

Saints 145-pounder off to 6-0 start

Cedar Rapids Xavier's Christian Stanek looks at his opponent during their 138-weight bout in round one of the 2020 IHSAA
Cedar Rapids Xavier’s Christian Stanek looks at his opponent during their 138-weight bout in round one of the 2020 IHSAA State Wrestling Championships at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Christian Stanek exudes toughness.

Cedar Rapids Xavier’s hard-nosed and relentless two-time state wrestling medalist has found success with a bit of an edge. By the time the holiday break comes, he’ll show more effects of that approach.

“If you look at him now, he’s pretty,” Xavier Coach Ryan Chambers said with a laugh. “His face is pretty. You see him in two weeks and he won’t be so pretty, because he leads with his head. He’s just so tough.

“He’s real tenacious. He wants to set a lot of records here and part of doing that is being tough.”

Class 3A’s fourth-ranked 145-pounder improved to 6-0 this season, including his fifth pin, and earned one of four victories for the Saints in a 54-21 loss to Dubuque Hempstead in a Mississippi Valley Conference wrestling dual Thursday night at Ron Thillen Gymnasium.

This season has opened with dominance, which was evident in his 2:21 fall over Cole Rettenmaier after building a 13-4 edge. His only match to go the distance was a 7-4 decision over Davenport Assumption’s third-ranked Michael Macias Saturday, avenging a loss from a year ago.

“It’s a lot better than last year,” Stanek said of the start. “I’m just looking to keep improving.”

Sights are set on improving his finishes. Stanek placed eighth at state as a freshman. He was sixth at 138 last season. The goal is to make a leap to the top of the podium.

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“Get over the hump and win that state title,” Stanek said. “I’ve been wanting to do that for quite some time. I think I can do that this year.”

He put himself in position to do so by training with a few wrestlers that have reached the state’s pinnacle. Stanek began wrestling at Big Game Wrestling Club and practicing with the likes of Iowa City West state champions Hunter Garvin and Graham Gambrall and Linn-Mar runner-up Tate Naaktgeboren.

“I’m getting the feel for really good guys,” said Stanek, who squeezed in wrestling sessions during his baseball and football seasons. “Wrestling state champs definitely helps. You don’t always get that feel in the school practice room.”

Chambers praised Stanek for his work ethic and leadership in the Saints wrestling room. He said Stanek has a passion for the sport, which is evident with his approach and his family’s annual trips to the NCAA Division I Championships.

“He’s working hard in practice and pushing a lot of people,” Chambers said. “He’s motivated. He’s goal-oriented. He lives and dies this sport, as does his family.”

Caelen Shannon (160) and Ivan Thomas (170) opened the dual with pins for Xavier (3-3). The Saints’ Jevin Rexroth capped the dual with a decision at 152.

Dubuque Hempstead won six of the 10 contested matches and benefited from the four forfeits. The Mustangs (1-0) posted five bonus-point victories, including a major decision from sixth-ranked Aidan Dunne at 182. Dunne scored four takedowns and five nearfall points to top No. 5 Ryan Volk, 15-6.

AT C.R. XAVIER

Dubuque Hempstead 54, C.R. Xavier 21

(Individual takedowns in parentheses)

160 pound — Caelen Shannon (CRX) pinned Jack Smith, 5:11 (2,0); 170 — Ivan Thomas (CRX) pinned Cole Thill, 1:03 (1,0); 182 — Aidan Dunne (DH) major dec. Ryan Volk, 15-6 (4,1); 195 — Joseph Lewis (DH) won by forfeit; 220 — Adam Ward (DH) won by forfeit; Hwt. — Cayden Lovett (DH) won by forfeit; 106 — Lohman Duffy (DH) dec. Ryan Hoefer, 11-7 (5,1); 113 — Dawson Fish (DH) pinned Adam Cook, 5:00 (0,1); 120 — Gable Brooks (DH) pinned Lucas Osterhaus, 5:19 (1,0); 126 — Chad Bellis (DH) pinned Connor Murry,: 35 (1,0); 132 — Nathan Chappell (DH) won by forfeit; 138 — Adler Kramer (DH) tech. fall T.J. Cook, 16-0 (2,0); 145 — Christian Stanek (CRX) pinned Cole Rettenmaier, 2:20 (5,0); 152 — Jevin Rexroth (CRX) dec. Jackson Vanderheyden, 8-3 (1,1).

MEET STATISTICS

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Takedowns — Dubuque Hempstead 14, C.R. Xavier 12. Reversals — Dubuque Hempstead 1, C.R. Xavier 2. Escapes — Dubuque Hempstead 11, C.R. Xavier 8. Nearfall points — Dubuque Hempstead 20, C.R. Xavier 12. Penalty points (awarded) — Dubuque Hempstead 0, C.R. Xavier 1. Total match points — Dubuque Hempstead 61, C.R. Xavier 49.

Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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