Prep Wrestling

Brandon Paez proves himself, Lisbon rolls to Class 1A sectional wrestling title

120-pounder beats Midland's No. 3 Damon Huston, Lions have 9 titlists, 12 district qualifiers

LISBON — Brandon Paez has been one of his own toughest opponents.

The Lisbon freshman had to overcome his mind, trying to clear the hurdle against highly-rated foes.

“I can beat anyone,” Paez said. “I always thought it was me versus the world, but it’s me versus me. I had to get over that hump within myself. I can beat those guys.”

Seventh-ranked Paez won the inner battle and then produced an impressive victory over Midland’s No. 3 Damon Huston for the 120-pound title at a Class 1A wrestling sectional Saturday at Lisbon. The Lions crowned nine champions with 12 district qualifiers and rolled to the team title with 292 1/2 points.

Huston defeated Paez by four in the Tri-Rivers Conference finals last week. Paez avenged that loss, building a 6-3 lead and recording a fall in 3:43. Paez kept the feat in perspective.

“It’s a big thing,” Paez said. “It’s something I’d like to have but it’s not state. I still have two more tournaments to go.”

Paez (36-5) looked to set the tone early, scoring the opening takedown and riding hard for most of the period. After giving up a takedown in the second, Paez notched a reversal and four nearfall before turning Huston for the fall.

Lisbon Coach Brad Smith told Paez about the importance of getting the first points and just how close he has been to that signature victory.

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“I said the key is getting the first takedown. He got the first takedown and from there he rode him tough,” Smith said. “I think he wore him out.

“The big turnaround was when he hit that granby in the second period. From there he got the bar arm and closed the deal.”

Paez said he is focused on doing the best he can on the mat and being the best person he can be off it. Smith said Paez has the ability to win it all in two weeks.

“He’s really focused,” Smith said. “That win is really going to help his confidence. He’s going to be tough to beat.

“I can see him winning a state title, if he wrestles like that. There are some good guys, obviously.”

Lisbon sets school record in sectional win

Lisbon dominated the field, setting a program record for team points in a sectional tournament. Defending state champions Cael Happel (138) and Robert Avila Jr. rolled, as did top-ranked Cole Clark (195) and second-ranked Marshall Hauck (152).

Quincy Happel (106), Cade Siebrecht (113), Max Kohl at 170 and heavyweight Brant Baltes placed first for Lisbon.

Happel, who is looking to become Iowa’s 28th four-time state champ, pinned his way through the bracket. Avila scored a technical fall and won by default in the final.

Lisbon defeated runner-up Alburnett by 115 1/2 points. Both will wrestle in the regional duals.

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“I’m real happy with our team performance,” Smith said. “Overall, as a team, we’re heading in the right direction. We still have room to improve, but we’re starting to peak.”

Brody Hawtrey earns 100th career victory

Alburnett and Bellevue each had four district qualifiers. North Cedar was next with three, receiving titles from 145-pounder Brody Hawtrey and Tyler Thurston at 220.

Hawtrey (40-3) pinned Lisbon’s Gage McCoy in 4:22 of the final and notched his 100th career victory.

“This gives me a lot to look forward to,” Hawtrey said. “I have a lot more to do to keep preparing. Basically, just keeping my head on right.”

Hawtrey was a state qualifier last season and is fueled by coming up a win short of the podium in Des Moines.

“It hit me hard,” Hawtrey said. “It gave me a lot more motivation this year. We feel we left a lot of stuff up there. I have a lot to work on still.”

Reigning state champion Aidan Noonan wins at 126

Aidan Noonan won Cascade’s first state title last season. The second-ranked 126-pounder took a step closer to another one. Noonan topped Lisbon’s Lincoln Holub 4-1 in the final.

“It’s good to get it out of the way,” Noonan said. “It’s one match at a time. Just keep moving forward and keep learning. I have a long ways to go.”

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Noonan was sidelined by injury for part of the season’s first half. He improved to 32-0 Saturday, but he hasn’t reached his best, yet.

“I’m just getting back into the swing of things, right now,” Noonan said. “I’m still trying to figure out my stride, but I feel good.”

Midland’s 10th-ranked Cayden Miller captured the 160-pound title. He threw Bellevue’s Jacob Waller to his back and finished with a fall in 3:02. He won both matches by fall and is 30-5 this season.

Teams (points, district qualifiers)

1. Lisbon (292.5, 12)

2. Alburnett (177, 4)

3. Bellevue (117, 4)

4. Midland (116, 2)

5. Cascade (115, 2)

6. North Cedar (84, 3)

7. Northeast (57, 1)

8. Central City (28, 0)

DISTRICT QUALIFIERS

106 – 1. Quincy Happel (L), 2. Brody Neighbor (A)

113 – 1. Cade Siebrecht (L), 2. Kole Murray (NC)

120 – 1. Brandon Paez (L), 2. Damon Huston (M)

126 – 1. Aidan Noonan (Cas), 2. Lincoln Holub (L)

132 – 1. Robert Avila Jr. (L), 2. Carson Staner (Cas)

138 – 1. Cael Happel (L), 2. TyQuan Crowder (B)

145 – 1. Brody Hawtrey (NC), 2. Gage McCoy (L)

152 – 1. Marshall Hauck (L), 2. Zach Roeder (B)

160 – 1. Cayden Miller (M), 2. Jacob Waller (B)

170 – 1. Max Kohl (L), 2. Ty Schmidt (NE)

182 – 1. Luke Giesemann (B), 2. Truman Krob (L)

195 – 1. Cole Clark (L), 2. Noah Neofotist (A)

220 – 1. Tyler Thurston (NC), 2. Kolby Morris (A)

Hwt. – 1. Brant Baltes (L), 2. Mason Olmstead (A)

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

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